Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Faerie Queene (Selection)
  • Author: Edmund Spenser
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Faerie Queene (Selection)

    50Ne did it then deserve a name to have,
    Till that the venturous mariner that way
    Learning his ship from those white rocks to save,
    Which all along the southern sea-coast lay
    Threatening unheedy wreck and rash decay,
    55For safety's sake that same his sea-mark made,
    And named it Albion. But later day,
    Finding in it fit ports for fishers' trade,
    'Gan more the same frequent, and further to invade.
    But far inland a savage nation dwelt,
    60Of hideous giants and half beastly men
    That never tasted grace, nor goodness felt,
    But like wild beasts lurking in loathsome den,
    And flying fast as roebuck through the fen,
    All naked without shame or care of cold,
    65By hunting and by spoiling livèd then;
    Of stature huge, and eke of courage bold,
    That sons of men amazed their sternness to behold.
    But whence they sprung, or how they were begot,
    Uneath is to assure; uneath to wene
    70That monstrous error, which doth some assot,
    That Dioclesian's fifty daughters shene
    Into this land by chance have driven been,
    Where companing with fiends and filthy sprites
    Through vain illusion, of their lust unclean,
    75They brought forth giants and such dreadful wights
    As far exceeded men in their immeasured mights.
    They held this land, and with their filthiness
    Polluted this same gentle soil long time
    That their own mother loathed their beastliness,
    80And 'gan abhor her brood's unkindly crime,
    All were they born of her own native slime;
    Until that Brutus, anciently derived
    From royal stock of old Assarac's line,
    Driven by fatal error, here arrived,
    85And them of their unjust possession deprived.
    But ere he had establishèd his throne,
    And spread his empire to the utmost shore,
    He fought great battles with his savage fone
    In which he them defeated evermore,
    90And many giants left on groaning floor;
    That well can witness yet unto this day
    The western Hogh, besprinkled with the gore
    Of mighty Göemot, whom in stout fray
    Corineus conquered, and cruelly did slay.