Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene (Selection)
  • Editor: Andrew Griffin

  • Copyright Queen's Men Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Edmund Spenser
    Editor: Andrew Griffin
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Edmund Spenser: The Faerie Queene (Selection)

    London: Printed for William Ponsonbie, 1590.
    Book 2, Canto 10
    1A chronicle of Briton kings,
    From Brute to Uthers rayne.
    And rolles of Elfin Emperours,
    Till time of Gloriane.
    . . .
    Next him king Leyr in happie peace long raynd,
    5 But had no issue male him to succeed,
    But three faire daughters, which were well uptraind,
    In all that seemed fitt for kingly seed:
    Mongst whom his realme he equally decreed
    To have divided. Tho when feeble age
    10 Nigh to his utmost date he saw proceed,
    He cald his daughters; and with speeches sage
    Inquyrd, which of them most did love her parentage.
    The eldest Gonorill gan to protest,
    That she much more then her owne life him lov'd:
    15 And Regan greater love to him profest,
    Then all the world, when ever it were proov'd;
    But Cordeill said she lov'd him, as behoov'd:
    Whose simple answere, wanting colours fayre
    To paint it forth, him to displeasance moov'd,
    20 That in his crowne he counted her no hayre,
    But twixt the other twaine his kingdome whole did shayre.
    So wedded th' one to Maglan king of Scottes,
    And thother to the king of Cambria,
    And twixt them shayrd his realme by equall lottes:
    25 But without dowre the wise Cordelia
    Was sent to Aggannip of Celtica.
    Their aged Syre, thus eased of his crowne,
    A priuate life ledd in Albania,
    With Gonorill, long had in great renowne,
    30That nought him griev'd to beene from rule deposed downe.
    But true it is, that when the oyle is spent,
    The light goes out, and weeke is throwne away;
    So when he had resignd his regiment,
    His daughter gan despise his drouping day,
    35 And wearie wax of his continuall stay.
    Tho to his daughter Regan he repayrd,
    Who him at first well used every way;
    But when of his departure she despayrd,
    Her bountie she abated, and his cheare empayrd.
    40The wretched man gan then avise to late,
    That love is not, where most it is profest,
    Too truely tryde in his extremest state;
    At last resolv'd likewise to prove the rest,
    He to Cordelia him selfe addrest,
    45 Who with entyre affection him receav'd,
    As for her Syre and king her seemed best;
    And after all an army strong she leav'd,
    To war on those, which him had of his realme bereav'd.
    So to his crowne she him restord againe,
    50 In which he dyde, made ripe for death by eld,
    And after wild, it should to her remaine:
    Who peaceably the same long time did weld:
    And all mens harts in dew obedience held:
    Till that her sisters children, woxen strong
    55 Through proud ambition, against her rebeld,
    And overcommen kept in prison long,
    Till weary of that wretched life, her selfe she hong.
    Then gan the bloudie brethren both to raine:
    But fierce Cundah gan shortly to envy
    60 His brother Morgan, prickt with proud disdaine,
    To have a pere in part of soverainty,
    And kindling coles of cruell enmity,
    Raisd warre, and him in battell overthrew:
    Whence as he to those woodie hilles did flie,
    65 Which hight of him Glamorgan, there him slew:
    Then did he raigne alone, when he none equall knew.