The Faerie Queene

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For there is nothing lost, that may be found, if sought.

The Faerie Queene is an incomplete English epic poem by Edmund Spenser. Books I to III were first published in 1590, and then republished in 1596 together with books IV to VI.

Quotations[edit]

The general end of all the book is to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.

Book I[edit]

Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralize my song.
  • Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralize my song.
    • Introduction, stanza 1
A gentle knight was pricking on the plain.
  • A gentle knight was pricking on the plain.
    • Canto I, stanza 1
And on his breast a bloody cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord.
  • But on his breast a bloody cross he bore,
    The dear remembrance of his dying Lord.
    • Canto I, stanza 2
But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad;
Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.
  • But of his cheer did seem too solemn sad;
    Yet nothing did he dread, but ever was ydrad.
    • Canto I, stanza 2
  • The sailing pine; the cedar proud and tall;
    The vine-prop elm; the poplar never dry;
    The builder oak, sole king of forests all;
    The aspen good for staves; the cypress funeral;

    The laurel, meed of mighty conquerors
    And poets sage; the fir that weepeth still;
    The willow, worn of forlorn paramours;
    The yew, obedient to the binder's will;
    The birch for shafts; the sallow for the mill;
    The myrrh sweet bleeding in the bitter wound;
    The warlike beech; the ash for nothing ill;
    The fruitful olive, and the plantane round;
    The carver holm; the maple, seldom inward sound.
    • Canto I, stanzas 8–9
  • Oft fire is without smoke.
    • Canto I, stanza 12
Virtue gives herself light through darkness for to wade.
  • Virtue gives herself light through darkness for to wade.
    • Canto I, stanza 12
The noblest mind the best contentment has.
  • The noblest mind the best contentment has.
    • Canto I, stanza 35
A bold bad man.
  • A bold bad man, that dared to call by name
    Great Gorgon, prince of darkness and dead night.
    • Canto I, stanza 37
  • The northern wagoner had set
    His sevenfold team behind the steadfast star.
    • Canto II, stanza 1
  • Will was his guide, and grief led him astray.
    • Canto II, stanza 12
  • Better new friend than an old foe.
    • Canto II, stanza 27
Her angel's face,
As the great eye of heaven, shined bright,
And made sunshine in the shady place.
  • Her angel's face,
    As the great eye of heaven, shined bright,
    And made sunshine in the shady place
    ;
    Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace.
    • Canto III, stanza 4
  • From worldly cares himself he did esloin,
    And greatly shunned manly exercise;
    For every work he challenged essoin,
    For contemplation sake. Yet otherwise
    His life he led in lawless riotise,
    By which he grew to grievous malady;
    For in his lustless limbs through evil guise
    A shaking fever reigned continually.
    Such one was Idleness.
    • Canto IV, stanza 1
  • A stately palace built of squared brick,
    Which cunningly was without mortar laid,
    Whose walls were high, but nothing strong, nor thick,
    And golden foil all over them displayed,
    That purest sky with brightness they dismayed.
    • Canto IV, stanza 4
  • And all the hinder parts, that few could spy,
    Were ruinous and old, but painted cunningly.
    • Canto IV, stanza 5
  • Idleness, the nurse of Sin.
    • Canto IV, stanza 18
  • And by his side rode loathsome Gluttony,
    Deformed creature, on a filthy swine
    ;
    His belly was up-blown with luxury;
    And eke with fatness swollen were his eyne.
    • Canto IV, stanza 21
  • And greedy Avarice by him did ride
    Upon a camel loaden all with gold;
    Two iron coffers hung on either side,
    With precious metal full as they might hold;
    And in his lap a heap of coin he told;
    For of his wicked pelf his god he made,
    And unto hell himself for money sold:
    Accursed usury was all his trade;
    And right and wrong alike in equal balance weighed.

    His life was nigh unto death's door y-placed,
    And thread-bare coat and cobbled shoes he ware,
    Nor scarce good morsel all his life did taste;
    But both from back and belly still did spare,
    To fill his bags, and riches to compare;
    Yet child nor kinsman living had he none
    To leave them to; but thorough daily care
    To get, and nightly fear to lose his own,
    He led a wretched life unto himself unknown.

    Most wretched wight, whom nothing might suffice,
    Whose greedy lust did lack in greatest store,
    Whose need had end, but no end covetise,
    Whose wealth was want, whose plenty made him poor,
    Who had enough, yet wished ever more.
    • Canto IV, stanzas 27–29
  • He hated all good works and virtuous deeds,
    And him no less, that any like did use,
    And who with gracious bread the hungry feeds,
    His alms for want of faith he doth accuse;
    So every good to bad he doth abuse:
    And eke the verse of famous poets' wit
    He does backbite, and spiteful poison spews
    From leprous mouth on all that ever writ.
    Such one vile Envy was, that first in row did sit.
    • Canto IV, stanza 32
  • Full many mischiefs follow cruel wrath;
    Abhorred bloodshed and tumultuous strife,
    Unmanly murder and unthrifty scath,
    Bitter despite, with rancour's rusty knife,
    And fretting grief, the enemy of life;
    All these and many evils more haunt ire,
    The swelling spleen and frenzy raging rife,
    The shaking palsy and Saint Francis' fire:
    Such one was wrath, the last of this ungodly tire.
    • Canto IV, stanza 35
The noble heart that harbours virtuous thought,
And is with child of glorious great intent,
Can never rest until it forth have brought
The eternal brood of glory excellent.
  • The noble heart that harbours virtuous thought,
    And is with child of glorious great intent,
    Can never rest until it forth have brought
    The eternal brood of glory excellent.
    • Canto V, stanza 1
  • At last the golden oriental gate
    Of greatest heaven 'gan to open fair,
    And Phoebus, fresh as bridegroom to his mate,
    Came dancing forth, shaking his dewy hair,
    And hurles his glistering beams through gloomy air.
    • Canto V, stanza 2
  • A cruel crafty crocodile,
    Which in false grief hiding his harmful guile,
    Doth keep full sore, and sheddeth tender tears.
    • Canto V, stanza 18
  • Where grisly Night, with visage deadly sad,
    That Phoebus' cheerful face dares never view,
    And in a foul black pitchy mantle clad,
    She finds forth coming from her darksome mew,
    Where she all day did hide her hated hue:
    Before the door her iron chariot stood,
    Already harnessed for journey new;
    And coal-black steeds yborn of hellish brood,
    That on their rusty bits did champ, as they were wood.
    • Canto V, stanza 20
  • But who can turn the stream of destiny,
    Or break the chain of strong necessity?
    • Canto V, stanza 25
  • That cruel word her tender heart so thrilled
    That sudden cold did run through every vein,
    And stony horror all her senses filled,
    With dying fit, that down she fell for pain.
    • Canto VI, stanza 37
  • Therewith they 'gan, both furious and fell,
    To thunder blows, and fiercely to assail
    Each other, bent his enemy to quell,
    That with their force they pierced both plate and mail,
    And made wide furrows in their fleshes frail,
    That it would pity any living eye.
    Large floods of blood adown their sides did rail;
    But floods of blood could not them satisfy:
    Both hungered after death; both chose to win, or die.
    • Canto VI, stanza 43
  • What man so wise, what earthly wit so ware,
    As to descry the crafty cunning train
    By which Deceit doth mask in visor fair,
    And cast her colours, dyed deep in grain,
    To seem like Truth, whose shape she well can feign,
    And fitting gestures to her purpose frame,
    The guiltless man with guile to entertain?
    • Canto VII, stanza 1
  • What world's delight, or joy of living speech,
    Can heart, so plunged in sea of sorrows deep,
    And helped with so huge misfortunes, reach?
    The careful cold beginneth for to creep,
    And in my heart his iron arrow steep,
    Soon as I think upon my bitter bale.
    • Canto VII, stanza 39
  • Let me you entreat,
    For to unfold the anguish of your heart:
    Mishaps are mastered by advice discrete,
    And counsel mitigates the greatest smart.
    • Canto VII, stanza 40
  • Ay me, how many perils do enfold
    The righteous man, to make him daily fall!
    • Canto VIII, stanza 1
  • With creeping crooked pace forth came
    An old, old man, with beard as white as snow,
    That on a staff his feeble steps did frame,
    And guide his weary gait both to and fro,
    For his eyesight him failed long ago;
    And on his arm a bunch of keys he bore,
    The which, unused, rust did overgrow:
    Those were the keys of every inner door,
    But he could not them use, but kept them still in store.

    But very uncouth sight was to behold
    How he did fashion his untoward pace:
    For as he forward moved his footing old,
    So backward still was turned his wrinkled face,
    Unlike to men, who ever, as they trace,
    Both feet and face one way are wont to lead.
    This was the ancient keeper of that place,
    And foster father of the giant dead;
    His name Ignaro did his nature right aread.
    • Canto VIII, stanzas 30–31
  • Entire affection hateth nicer hands.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 40
  • When I awoke and found her place devoid,
    And naught but pressed grass where she had lain,
    I sorrowed all so much as erst I joyed,
    And washed all her place with watery eyne.
    • Canto IX, stanza 15
  • Still, as he fled, his eye was backward cast,
    As if his fear still followed him behind
    ;
    Also flew his steed, as he his bands had burst,
    And with his winged heels did tread the wind,
    As he had been a foal of Pegasus his kind.
    • Canto IX, stanza 21
That darksome cave they enter, where they find
That cursed man, low sitting on the ground,
Musing full sadly in his sullen mind.
  • That darksome cave they enter, where they find
    That cursed man, low sitting on the ground,
    Musing full sadly in his sullen mind.
    • Canto IX, stanza 35
  • His raw-bone cheeks, through penury and pine,
    Were shrunk into his jaws, as he did never dine.
    • Canto IX, stanza 35
Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas,
Ease after war, death after life, does greatly please.
  • Sleep after toil, port after stormy seas,
    Ease after war, death after life, does greatly please.
    • Canto IX, stanza 40
  • "The term of life is limited,
    Nor may a man prolong nor shorten it:
    The soldier may not move from watchful stead,
    Nor leave his stand, until his captain bid."
    "Who life did limit by almighty doom,"
    Quoth he, "knows best the terms established;
    And he, that points the sentinel his room,
    Doth license him depart at sound of morning drum."
    • Canto IX, stanza 41
  • Death is the end of woes: die soon, O fairy's son.
    • Canto IX, stanza 47
  • His hand did quake,
    And tremble like a leaf of aspen green,
    And troubled blood through his pale face was seen
    ... As it a running messenger had been.
    • Canto IX, stanza 51
  • Where justice grows, there grows eke greater grace.
    • Canto IX, stanza 53
  • Each goodly thing is hardest to begin.
    • Canto X, stanza 6
  • In ashes and sackcloth he did array
    His dainty corse, proud humours to abate,
    And dieted with fasting every day,
    The swelling of his wounds to mitigate,
    And made him pray both early and eke late.
    And ever as superfluous flesh did rot,
    Amendment ready still at hand did wait,
    To pluck it out with pincers fiery hot,
    That soon in him was left no one corrupted jot.
    • Canto X, stanza 26
  • Now 'gan the golden Phoebus for to steep
    His fiery face in billows of the west,
    And his faint steeds watered in ocean deep,
    Whiles from their journal labours they did rest.
    • Canto XI, stanza 31
  • By this the drooping daylight 'gan to fade
    And yield his room to sad succeeding night,
    Who with her sable mantle 'gan to shade
    The face of earth and ways of living wight,
    And high her burning torch set up in heaven bright.
    • Canto XI, stanza 49

Book II[edit]

  • But now so wise and wary was the knight,
    By trial of his former harms and cares,
    That he descried, and shunned still, his slight:
    The fish that once was caught, new bait will hardly bite.
    • Canto I, stanza 4
  • Which when she heard, as in despightful wise,
    She wilfully her sorrow did augment,
    And offered hope of comfort did despise;
    Her golden locks most cruelly she rent,
    And scratched her face with ghastly dreriment;
    Ne would she speak, ne see, ne yet be seen,
    But hid her visage and her head down bent,
    Either for grievous shame, or for great teen,
    As if her heart with sorrow had transfixed been.
    • Canto I, stanza 15
  • Come then, come soon; come, sweetest death, to me,
    And take away this long lent loathed light:
    Sharp be thy wounds, but sweet the medicines be
    That long captived souls from weary thraldom free.
    • Canto I, stanza 36
  • Behold the image of mortality,
    And feeble nature clothed with fleshly tire,
    When raging passion with fierce tyranny
    Robs reason of her due regality,
    And makes it servant to her basest part:
    The strong it weakens with infirmity,
    And with bold fury arms the weakest heart;
    The strong through pleasure soonest falls, the weak through smart.
    • Canto I, stanza 57
  • So double was his pains, so double be his praise.
    • Canto II, stanza 25
  • Now 'gan his heart all swell in jollity,
    And of himself great hope and help conceived,
    That puffed up with smoke of vanity,
    And with self-loved personage deceived,
    He 'gan to hope of men to be received
    For such as he him thought, or fain would be.
    But for in court gay portaunce he perceived
    And gallant show to be in greatest gree,
    Eftsoons to court he cast t' advance his first degree.
    • Canto III, stanza 5
  • Vainglorious man, when fluttering wind does blow
    In his light wings, is lifted up to sky;
    The scorn of knighthood and true chivalry,
    To think, without desert of gentle deed
    And noble worth, to be advanced high:
    Such praise is shame; but honour, virtue's meed,
    Doth bear the fairest flower in honourable seed.
    • Canto III, stanza 10
  • In her fair eyes two living lamps did flame,
    Kindled above, at the heavenly Maker's light,
    And darted fiery beams out of the same,
    So passing piersant, and so wondrous bright,
    That quite bereaved the rash beholder's sight.
    • Canto III, stanza 23
  • And when she spake,
    Sweet words, like dropping honey, she did shed;
    And 'twixt the pearls and rubies softly brake
    A silver sound, that heavenly music seemed to make.
    • Canto III, stanza 24
  • Upon her eyelids many graces sate,
    Under the shadows of her even brows.
    • Canto III, stanza 25
  • "Whoso in pomp of proud estate," quoth she,
    "Does swim, and bathes himself in courtly bliss,
    Does waste his days in dark obscurity,
    And in oblivion ever buried is."
    • Canto III, stanza 40
  • Love, that two hearts makes one, makes eke one will.
    • Canto IV, stanza 19
Matter of mirth enough, though there were none,
She could devise, and thousand ways invent
To feed her foolish humour and vain jolliment.
  • And therein sat a lady fresh and fair,
    Making sweet solace to herself alone:
    Sometimes she sung as loud as lark in air,
    Sometimes she laughed that nigh her breath was gone;
    Yet was there not with her else any one
    That might to her move cause of merriment:
    Matter of mirth enough, though there were none,
    She could devise, and thousand ways invent
    To feed her foolish humour and vain jolliment.
    • Canto VI, stanza 3
  • No dainty flower or herb that grows on ground,
    No arboret with painted blossoms dressed
    And smelling sweet, but there it might be found
    To bud out fair, and her sweet smells throw all around.
    • Canto VI, stanza 12
  • The fields did laugh, the flowers did freshly spring,
    The trees did bud and early blossoms bore,
    And all the quire of birds did sweetly sing,
    And told that garden's pleasures in their caroling.
    • Canto VI, stanza 24
In his lap a mass of coin he told
And turned upside down, to feed his eye
And covetous desire with his huge treasury.
  • His iron coat, all overgrown with rust,
    Was underneath enveloped with gold,
    Whose glistering gloss, darkened with filthy dust,
    Well it appeared to have been of old
    A work of rich entail and curious mold,
    Woven with antiques and wild imagery.
    And in his lap a mass of coin he told
    And turned upside down, to feed his eye
    And covetous desire with his huge treasury.
    • Canto VII, stanza 4
  • Some thought to raise themselves to high degree
    By riches and unrighteous reward;
    Some by close shouldering; some by flattery;
    Others through friends; others for base regard;
    And all by wrong ways for themselves prepared:
    Those that were up themselves kept others low,
    Those that were low themselves held others hard,
    Nor suffered them to rise or greater grow,
    But every one did drive his fellow down to throw.
    • Canto VII, stanza 47
  • And is there care in heaven? and is there love
    In heavenly spirits to these creatures base
    That may compassion of their evils move?
    There is; else much more wretched were the case
    Of men than beasts. But O the exceeding grace
    Of highest God! that loves His creatures so,
    And all His works with mercy doth embrace,
    That blessed angels He sends to and fro
    To serve to wicked man, to serve His wicked foe!

    All for love and nothing for reward.
    How oft do they their silver bowers leave
    To come to succour us that succour want?
    How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
    The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,
    Against foul fiends to aid us militant?
    They for us fight, they watch and duly ward,
    And their bright squadrons round about us plant,
    And all for love and nothing for reward:
    O why should heavenly God to men have such regard?
    • Canto VIII, stanzas 1–2
  • Gold all is not that doth golden seem.
    • Canto VIII, stanzas 14
  • Of all God's works, which do this world adorn,
    There is no one more fair and excellent
    Than is man's body both for power and form,
    Whiles it is kept in sober government.
    • Canto IX, stanza 1
  • The wretched man 'gan then avise too late
    That love is not where most it is professed.
    • Canto X, stanza 31
  • What war so cruel, or what siege so sore,
    As that which strong affections do apply
    Against the fort of reason, evermore
    To bring the soul into captivity!
    • Canto XI, stanza 1
  • Slanderous reproaches and foul infamies,
    Leasings, backbitings, and vain-glorious crakes,
    Bad counsels, praises, and false flatteries;
    All those against that fort did bend their batteries.
    • Canto XI, stanza 10
  • As pale and wan as ashes was his look:
    His body lean and meager as a rake,
    And skin all withered like a dried rook;
    Thereto as cold and dreary as a snake,
    That seemed to tremble evermore and quake.
    • Canto XI, stanza 22
  • Sudden they see, from midst of all the main,
    The surging waters like a mountain rise,
    And the great sea puffed up with proud disdain,
    To swell above the measure of his guise,
    As threatening to devour all that his power despise.
    • Canto XII, stanza 21
Here may thy stormbeat vessel safely ride;
This is the port of rest from troublous toil,
The world's sweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil.
  • O turn thy rudder hitherward awhile:
    Here may thy stormbeat vessel safely ride;
    This is the port of rest from troublous toil,
    The world's sweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil.
    • Canto XII, stanza 32
  • Eftsoons they heard a most melodious sound,
    Of all that mote delight a dainty ear,
    Such as at once might not on living ground,
    Save in this paradise, be heard elsewhere:
    Right hard it was for wight which did it hear,
    To read what manner music that mote be;
    For all that pleasing is to living ear
    Was there consorted in one harmony—
    Birds, voices, instruments, winds, waters, all agree.

    The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,
    Their notes unto the voice attempered sweet;
    The angelical soft trembling voices made
    To the instruments divine respondence meet;
    The silver-sounding instruments did meet
    With the base murmur of the water's fall;
    The water's fall with difference discreet,
    Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call;
    The gentle warbling wind low answered to all.
    • Canto XII, stanzas 70–71
Gather therefore the rose whilst yet is prime,
For soon comes age that will her pride deflower;
Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time,
Whilst loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime.
  • So passeth, in the passing of a day,
    Of mortal life the leaf, the bud, the flower,
    Nor more doth flourish after first decay,
    That erst was sought to deck both bed and bower
    Of many a lady, and many a paramour.
    Gather therefore the rose whilst yet is prime,
    For soon comes age that will her pride deflower;
    Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time,
    Whilst loving thou mayst loved be with equal crime.
    • Canto XII, stanza 75
  • But all those pleasant bowers and palace brave
    Guyon broke down, with rigour pitiless;
    Nor aught their goodly workmanship might save
    Them from the tempest of his wrathfulness,
    But that their bliss he turned to balefulness:
    Their groves he felled, their gardens did deface,
    Their arbors spoiled, their cabinets suppress,
    Their banquet-houses burn, their buildings raze,
    And of the fairest late now made the foulest place.
    • Canto XII, stanza 83
  • The dunghill kind
    Delights in filth and foul incontinence;
    Let Grill be Grill and have his hoggish mind.
    • Canto XII, stanza 87

Book III[edit]

  • Through thick and thin, both over bank and bush,
    In hope her to attain by hook or crook.
    • Canto I, stanza 17
  • Like dastard curs that having at a bay
    The salvage beast, embossed in weary chase,
    Dare not adventure on the stubborn prey,
    Nor bite before, but roam from place to place
    To get a snatch when turned is his face.
    • Canto I, stanza 22
  • For she was full of amiable grace,
    And manly terror mixed therewithal,
    That as the one stirred up affections base,
    So the other did men's rash desires appal,
    And hold them back that would in error fall:
    As he that hath espied a vermeil rose,
    To which sharp thorns and briars the way forestall,
    Dare not for dread his hardy hand expose,
    But, wishing it far off, his idle wish doth lose.
    • Canto I, stanza 46
  • She greatly 'gan enamoured to wax,
    And with vain thoughts her falsed fancy vex:
    Her fickle heart conceived hasty fire,
    Like sparks of fire which fall in slender flex,
    That shortly burnt into extreme desire,
    And ransacked all her veins with passion entire.
    • Canto I, stanza 47
  • Nought so of love this looser dame did skill,
    But as a coal to kindle fleshly flame,
    Giving the bridle to her wanton will,
    And treading under foot her honest name.
    • Canto I, stanza 50
Heart that is inly hurt is greatly eased
With hope of thing that may allay his smart.
  • His feeling words her feeble sense much pleased,
    And softly sunk into her molten heart;
    Heart that is inly hurt is greatly eased
    With hope of thing that may allay his smart;
    For pleasing words are like to magic art
    That doth the charmed snake in slumber lay.
    • Canto II, stanza 15
  • Discord oft in music makes the sweeter lay.
    • Canto II, stanza 15
  • But, as it falleth, in the gentlest hearts
    Imperious Love hath highest set his throne,
    And tyrannizeth in the bitter smarts
    Of them that to him buxom are and prone.
    • Canto II, stanza 23
  • Sad, solemn, sour, and full of fancies frail
    She wox, yet wist she neither how nor why;
    She wist not, silly maid, what she did ail,
    Yet wist she was not well at ease, perdy,
    Yet thought it was not love, but some melancholy.
    • Canto II, stanza 27
  • Nor ought it mote the noble maid avail,
    Nor slake the fury of her cruel flame,
    But that she still did waste, and still did wail,
    That through long languor and heart-burning brame
    She shortly like a pined ghost became.
    • Canto II, stanza 52
O sacred fire that burnest mightily
In living breasts, ykindled first above
Amongst the eternal spheres and lamping sky,
And thence poured into men, which men call love.
  • O sacred fire that burnest mightily
    In living breasts, ykindled first above
    Amongst the eternal spheres and lamping sky,
    And thence poured into men, which men call love.
    • Canto III, stanza 1
For he by words could call out of the sky
Both sun and moon, and make them him obey;
The land to sea, and sea to mainland dry,
And darksome night he eke could turn to day.
  • For he by words could call out of the sky
    Both sun and moon, and make them him obey;
    The land to sea, and sea to mainland dry,
    And darksome night he eke could turn to day;
    Huge hosts of men he could, alone, dismay,
    And hosts of men of meanest things could frame,
    When so him list his enemies to fray:
    That to this day, for terror of his fame,
    The fiends do quake when any him to them does name.
    • Canto III, stanza 12
  • Whereof she seems ashamed inwardly.
    • Canto III, stanza 20
  • Where is the antique glory now become
    That whilom wont in women to appear?
    Where be the brave achievements done by some?
    Where be the battles, where the shield and spear,
    And all the conquests which them high did rear,
    That matter made for famous poets' verse,
    And boastful men so oft abashed to hear?
    Been they all dead and laid in doleful hearse?
    Or do they only sleep and shall again reverse?
    • Canto IV, stanza 1
  • She shortly thus: "Fly they that need to fly;
    Words fearen babes. I mean not thee entreat
    To pass, but maugre thee will pass or die."
    • Canto IV, stanza 15
  • But ah, who can deceive his destiny,
    Or ween by warning to avoid his fate?
    • Canto IV, stanza 27
  • But well I wote that to an heavy heart
    Thou art the root and nurse of bitter cares,
    Breeder of new, renewer of old smarts;
    Instead of rest thou lendest railing tears,
    Instead of sleep thou sendest troublous fears
    And dreadful visions, in the which alive
    The dreary image of sad death appears;
    So from the weary spirit thou dost drive
    Desired rest, and men of happiness deprive.
    • Canto IV, stanza 57
  • Under thy mantle black there hidden lie
    Light-shunning theft and traitorous intent,
    Abhorred bloodshed and vile felony,
    Shameful deceit and danger imminent,
    Foul horror and eke hellish dreariment.
    • Canto IV, stanza 58
Whether it divine tobacco were,
Or panachaea, or poligony,
She found and brought it to her patient dear.
  • Whether it divine tobacco were,
    Or panachaea, or poligony,
    She found and brought it to her patient dear.
    • Canto V, stanza 32
  • Thus warred he long time against his will,
    Till that through weakness he was forced at last
    To yield himself unto the mighty ill,
    Which, as a victor proud, 'gan ransack fast
    His inward parts and all his entrails waste,
    That neither blood in face nor life in heart
    It left, but both did quite dry up and blast:
    As piercing levin, which the inner part
    Of everything consumes and calcineth by art.
    • Canto V, stanza 48
  • Little she weened that love he close concealed;
    Yet still he wasted as the snow congealed,
    When the bright sun his beams thereon doth beat.
    • Canto V, stanza 49
Her birth was of the womb of morning dew,
And her conception of the joyous prime.
  • Her birth was of the womb of morning dew,
    And her conception of the joyous prime.
    • Canto VI, stanza 3
  • Roses red and violets blue
    And all the sweetest flowers that in the forest grew.
    • Canto VI, stanza 6
  • All that in this delightful garden grows
    Should happy be and have immortal bliss.
    • Canto VI, stanza 41
  • There is continual spring, and harvest there
    Continual, both meeting at one time:
    For both the boughs do laughing blossoms bear
    And with fresh colours deck the wanton prime,
    And eke at once the heavy trees they climb,
    Which seem to labour under their fruits' load;
    The whiles the joyous birds make their pastime
    Amongst the shady leaves, their sweet abode,
    And their true loves without suspicion tell abroad.
    • Canto VI, stanza 42
  • And in the thickest covert of that shade
    There was a pleasant arbour, not by art
    But of the trees' own inclination made,
    Which knitting their rank branches part to part,
    With wanton ivy twine entrailed athwart,
    And eglantine and caprifole among,
    Fashioned above within their inmost part,
    That neither Phoebus' beams could through them throng,
    Nor Aeolus' sharp blast could work them any wrong.
    • Canto VI, stanza 44
  • With that, adown out of her crystal eyne
    Few trickling tears she softly forth let fall,
    That like to orient pearls did purely shine
    Upon her snowy cheek.
    • Canto VII, stanza 9
Hard is to teach an old horse amble true.
  • Hard is to teach an old horse amble true.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 26
  • A fool I do him firmly hold
    That loves his fetters, though they were of gold.
    • Canto IX, stanza 8
  • And otherwhiles with amorous delights
    And pleasing toys he would her entertain,
    Now singing sweetly to surprise her sprites,
    Now making lays of love and lovers' pain,
    Bransles, ballads, virelays and verses vain;
    Oft purposes, oft riddles he devised,
    And thousands like which flowed in his brain,
    With which he fed her fancy and enticed
    To take to his new love and leave her old despised.
    • Canto X, stanza 8
  • Yet can he never die, but dying lives,
    And doth himself with sorrow new sustain,
    That death and life at once unto him gives,
    And painful pleasure turns to pleasing pain.
    • Canto X, stanza 60
  • Foul Jealousy, that turnest love divine
    To joyless dread, and makest the loving heart
    With hateful thoughts to languish and to pine
    And feed itself with self-consuming smart:
    Of all the passions in the mind thou vilest art.
    • Canto XI, stanza 1
Be bold, be bold, and everywhere Be bold...
Be not too bold.
  • And as she looked about, she did behold
    How over that same door was likewise writ,
    Be bold, be bold, and everywhere Be bold
    ,
    That much she mused, yet could not construe it
    By any riddling skill or common wit.
    At last she spied at that room's upper end
    Another iron door, on which was writ,
    Be not too bold.
    • Canto XI, stanza 54
  • Next him was Fear, all armed from top to toe,
    Yet thought himself not safe enough thereby,
    But feared each shadow moving to and fro;
    And his own arms when glittering he did spy
    Or clashing heard, he fast away did fly,
    As ashes pale of hue and wingy-heeled;
    And evermore on danger fixed his eye,
    'Gainst whom he always bent a brazen shield,
    Which his right hand unarmed fearfully did wield.
    • Canto XII, stanza 12
  • With him went Hope in rank, a handsome maid,
    Of cheerful look and lovely to behold;
    In silken samite she was light arrayed,
    And her fair locks were woven up in gold;
    She always smiled, and in her hand did hold
    A holy-water sprinkle dipped in dew,
    With which she sprinkled favours manifold
    On whom she list, and did great liking show;
    Great liking unto many, but true love to few.
    • Canto XII, stanza 13
  • He lowered on her with dangerous eye-glance,
    Showing his nature in his countenance;
    His rolling eyes did never rest in place,
    But walked each where for fear of hid mischance,
    Holding a lattice still before his face,
    Through which he still did peep as forward he did pace.
    • Canto XII, stanza 15

Book IV[edit]

Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled.
  • Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled,
    On Fame's eternal beadroll worthy to be filed.
    • Canto II, stanza 32
  • Sweet is the love that comes alone with willingness.
    • Canto V, stanza 25
  • Rude was his garment, and to rags all rent;
    Ne better had he, ne for better cared:
    With blistered hands amongst the cinders brent,
    And fingers filthy, with long nails unpared,
    Right fit to rend the food on which he fared.
    His name was Care; a blacksmith by his trade,
    That neither day nor night from working spared,
    But to small purpose iron wedges made;
    Those be unquiet thoughts that careful minds invade.
    • Canto V, stanza 35
  • What equal torment to the grief of mind,
    And pining anguish hid in gentle heart,
    That inly feeds itself with thoughts unkind,
    And nourisheth her own confusing smart?
    What medicine can any leech's art
    Yield such a sore, that doth her grievance hide,
    And will to none her malady impart?
    • Canto VI, stanza 1
  • All she did was but to wear out day.
    Full oftentimes she leave of him did take;
    And oft again devised somewhat to say,
    Which she forgot, whereby excuse to make:
    So loath she was his company for to forsake.
    • Canto VI, stanza 45
  • A foul and loathly creature sure in sight,
    And in conditions to be loathed no less:
    For she was stuffed with rancour and despite
    Up to the throat, that oft with bitterness
    It forth would break and gush in great excess,
    Pouring out streams of poison and of gall
    'Gainst all that truth or virtue do profess;
    Whom she with leasings lewdly did miscall
    And wickedly backbite; her name men Slander call.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 24
  • From that day forth, in peace and joyous bliss
    They lived together long without debate;
    Nor private jar, nor spite of enemies,
    Could shake the safe assurance of their state.
    • Canto IX, stanza 16
  • Faint friends when they fall out most cruel foemen be.
    • Canto IX, stanza 27
  • True he it said, whatever man it said,
    That love with gall and honey doth abound;
    But if the one be with the other weighed,
    For every dram of honey therein found
    A pound of gall doth over it redound.
    • Canto X, stanza 1
  • His name was Doubt, that had a double face,
    The one forward looking, the other backward bent,
    Therein resembling Janus ancient,
    Which had in charge the ingate of the year:
    And evermore his eyes about him went,
    As if some proved peril he did fear,
    Or did misdoubt some ill, whose cause did not appear.
    • Canto X, stanza 12
  • For all that nature by her mother wit
    Could frame in earth.
    • Canto X, stanza 21
  • And her against sweet Cheerfulness was placed,
    Whose eyes, like twinkling stars in evening clear,
    Were decked with smiles that all sad humours chased,
    And darted forth delights the which her goodly graced.
    • Canto X, stanza 50
  • Nor less was she in secret heart affected,
    But that she masked it with modesty,
    For fear she should of lightness be detected.
    • Canto XII, stanza 35

Book V[edit]

Ill can he rule the great that cannot reach the small.
  • Me seems the world is run quite out of square
    From the first point of his appointed source;
    And, being once amiss, grows daily worse and worse.
    • Proem, stanza 1
  • For that which all men then did virtue call,
    Is now called vice; and that which vice was hight,
    Is now hight virtue, and so used of all;
    Right now is wrong, and wrong that was is right.
    • Proem, stanza 4
  • Nought is more honourable to a knight,
    Nor better doth beseem brave chivalry,
    Than to defend the feeble in their right
    And wrong redress in such as wend awry.
    • Canto II, stanza 1
  • For there is nothing lost that may be found if sought.
    • Canto II, stanza 39
  • Ill can he rule the great that cannot reach the small.
    • Canto II, stanza 43
  • After long storms and tempests overblown,
    The sun at length his joyous face doth clear;
    So whenas fortune all her spite hath shown,
    Some blissful hours at last must needs appear;
    Else would afflicted wights oft-times despair.
    • Canto III, stanza 1
  • All suddenly inflamed with furious fit,
    Like a fell lioness at him she flew,
    And on his head-piece him so fiercely smit,
    That to the ground him quite she overthrew,
    Dismayed so with the stroke that he no colours knew.
    • Canto IV, stanza 39
  • Nought is on earth more sacred or divine,
    That gods and men do equally adore,
    Than this same virtue, that doth right define;
    For the heavens themselves, whence mortal men implore
    Right in their wrongs, are ruled by righteous lore
    Of highest Jove, who doth true justice deal
    To his inferior gods, and evermore
    Therewith contains his heavenly commonweal:
    The skill whereof to princes' hearts he doth reveal.
    • Canto VII, stanza 1
  • Nought under heaven so strongly doth allure
    The sense of man, and all his mind possess,
    As Beauty's lovely bait, that doth procure
    Great warriors oft their rigour to repress,
    And mighty hands forget their manliness;
    Drawn with the power of an heart-robbing eye,
    And wrapped in fetters of a golden tress,
    That can with melting pleasance mollify
    Their hardened Hearts, inured to blood and cruelty.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 1
  • Some clerks do doubt, in their deviceful art,
    Whether this heavenly thing whereof I treat,
    To weeten mercy, be of justice part,
    Or drawn forth from her by divine extreat:
    This well I wot, that sure she is as great,
    And meriteth to have as high a place,
    Sith in the Almighty's everlasting seat
    She first was bred and born of heavenly race;
    From thence poured down on men by influence of grace.
    • Canto X, stanza 1
  • It often falls, in course of common life,
    That right, long time, is overborne of wrong,
    Through avarice, or power, or guile, or strife,
    That weakens her, and makes her party strong;
    But justice, though her doom she do prolong,
    Yet, at the last, she will her own cause right.
    • Canto XI, stanza 1
  • Dearer is love than life, and fame than gold;
    But dearer than them both, your faith once plighted hold.
    • Canto XI, stanza 63
O sacred hunger of ambitious minds
And impotent desire of men to reign!
  • O sacred hunger of ambitious minds
    And impotent desire of men to reign,
    Whom neither dread of God, that devils binds,
    Nor laws of men, that commonweals contain,
    Nor bands of nature, that wild beasts restrain,
    Can keep from outrage and from doing wrong,
    Where they may hope a kingdom to obtain.
    No faith so firm, no trust can be so strong,
    No love so lasting then, that may enduren long.
    • Canto XII, stanza 1
  • Her hands were foul and dirty, never washed
    In all her life, with long nails over-raught,
    Like puttock's claws with the one of which she scratched
    Her cursed head, although it itched naught;
    The other held a snake with venom fraught,
    On which she fed and gnawed hungrily,
    As if that long she had not eaten aught;
    That round about her jaws one might descry
    The bloody gore and poison dropping loathsomely.
    • Canto XII, stanza 30
  • Her face was ugly, and her mouth distort,
    Foaming with poison round about her gills,
    In which her cursed tongue (full sharp and short)
    Appeared like asp's sting, that closely kills
    Or cruelly does wound whomso she wills;
    A distaff in her other hand she had,
    Upon the which she little spins, but spills;
    And fains to weave false tales and leasings bad,
    To throw amongst the good, which others had disprad.
    • Canto XII, stanza 36
A monster, which the Blatant Beast men call;
A dreadful fiend, of gods and men ydrad.
  • A monster, which the Blatant Beast men call,
    A dreadful fiend, of gods and men ydrad.
    • Canto XII, stanza 37

Book VI[edit]

  • Yet is that glass so gay that it can blind
    The wisest sight, to think gold that is brass.
    • Proem, stanza 5
  • No greater shame to man than inhumanity.
    • Canto I, stanza 26
  • In vain he seeketh others to suppress
    Who hath not learned himself first to subdue.
    • Canto I, stanza 41
  • Who will not mercy unto others show,
    How can he mercy ever hope to have?
    • Canto I, stanza 42
  • True is, that whilom that good poet said,
    The gentle mind by gentle deeds is known:
    For man by nothing is so well bewrayed
    As by his manners
    , in which plain is shown
    Of what degree and what race he is grown.
    • Canto III, stanza 1. Compare: "He is gentil that dooth gentil dedis", Geoffrey Chaucer, Wife of Bath's Tale, line 1170.
  • Such is the weakness of all mortal hope;
    So tickle is the state of earthly things;
    That, ere they come unto their aimed scope,
    They fall too short of our frail reckonings,
    And bring us bale and bitter sorrowings,
    Instead of comfort which we should embrace.
    • Canto III, stanza 5
  • "Ill seems," said he, "if he so valiant be,
    That he should be so stern to stranger wight:
    For seldom yet did living creature see
    That courtesy and manhood ever disagree."
    • Canto III, stanza 40
  • Therein he them full fair did entertain,
    Not with such forged shows, as fitter been
    For courting fools that courtesies would feign,
    But with entire affection and appearance plain.
    • Canto V, stanza 38
  • No wound, which warlike hand of enemy
    Inflicts with dint of sword, so sore doth light
    As doth the poisonous sting which infamy
    Infixeth in the name of noble wight
    :
    For by no art, nor any leach's might,
    It ever can recured be again;
    Nor all the skill, which that immortal spright
    Of Podalirius did in it retain,
    Can remedy such hurts; such hurts are hellish pain.
    • Canto VI, stanza 1
  • Give salves to every sore, but counsel to the mind.
    • Canto VI, stanza 5
  • Thereto, when needed, she could weep and pray,
    And when her listed she could fawn and flatter;
    Now smiling smoothly, like to summer's day,
    Now glooming sadly, so to cloak her matter;
    Yet were her words but wind, and all her tears but water.
    • Canto VI, stanza 42
  • Ye gentle ladies, in whose sovereign power
    Love hath the glory of his kingdom left,
    And the hearts of men, as your eternal dower,
    In iron chains, of liberty bereft,
    Delivered hath into your hands by gift;
    Be well aware how ye the same do use,
    That pride do not to tyranny you lift;
    Lest, if men you of cruelty accuse,
    He from you take that chiefdom which ye do abuse.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 1
  • Then to the rest his wrathful hand he bends;
    Of whom he makes such havoc and such hew,
    That swarms of damned souls to hell he sends;
    The rest, that scape his sword and death eschew,
    Fly like a flock of doves before a falcon's view.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 49
It is the mind that maketh good or ill,
That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.
  • It is the mind that maketh good or ill,
    That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor:
    For some that hath abundance at his will
    Hath not enough, but wants in greatest store;
    And other that hath little asks no more,
    But in that little is both rich and wise;
    For wisdom is most riches; fools therefore
    They are which fortunes do by vows devise,
    Since each unto himself his life may fortunize.
    • Canto IX, stanza 30
  • Old love is little worth when new is more preferred.
    • Canto IX, stanza 40
  • The joys of love, if they should ever last
    Without affliction or disquietness
    That worldly chances do amongst them cast,
    Would be on earth too great a blessedness,
    Liker to heaven than mortal wretchedness:
    Therefore the winged god, to let men weet
    That here on earth is no sure happiness,
    A thousand sours hath tempered with one sweet,
    To make it seem more dear and dainty, as is meet.
    • Canto XI, stanza 1
  • And therein were a thousand tongues empight
    Of sundry kinds and sundry quality;
    Some were of dogs, that barked day and night,
    And some of cats, that wrawling still did cry,
    And some of bears, that groined continually,
    And some of tigers, that did seem to gren
    And snarl at all that ever passed by;
    But most of them were tongues of mortal men,
    Which spake reproachfully, not caring where nor when.

    And them amongst were mingled here and there
    The tongues of serpents, with three-forked stings,
    That spat out poison, and gore-bloody gear,
    At all that came within his ravenings;
    And spake licentious words and hateful things
    Of good and bad alike, of low and high;
    Nor kaisers spared he a whit nor kings,
    But either blotted them with infamy,
    Or bit them with his baneful teeth of injury.
    • Canto XII, stanzas 27–28

Book VII[edit]

What man that sees the ever-whirling wheel
Of change, the which all mortal things doth sway,
But that thereby doth find, and plainly feel,
How mutability in them doth play
Her cruel sports, to many men's decay?
But thenceforth all shall rest eternally
With Him that is the God of Sabaoth hight.
  • What man that sees the ever-whirling wheel
    Of Change, the which all mortal things doth sway,
    But that thereby doth find, and plainly feel,
    How Mutability in them doth play
    Her cruel sports to many men's decay?
    • Canto VI, stanza 1
  • Wars and alarums unto nations wide.
    • Canto VI, stanza 3
  • So forth issued the seasons of the year.
    First, lusty Spring, all dight in leaves of flowers
    That freshly budded and new blooms did bear
    (In which a thousand birds had built their bowers
    That sweetly sung to call forth paramours);
    And in his hand a javelin he did bear,
    And on his head (as fit for warlike stoures)
    A gilt-engraven morion he did wear;
    That as some did him love, so others did him fear.
    • Cantos VII, stanza 28
  • Then came the jolly Summer, being dight
    In a thin silken cassock coloured green
    That was unlined all, to be more light,
    And on his head a garland well beseen
    He wore, from which as he had chafed been,
    The sweat did drop; and in his hand he bore
    A bow and shafts, as he in forest green
    Had hunted late the libbard or the boar,
    And now would bathe his limbs, with labour heated sore.
    • Cantos VII, stanza 29
  • Then came the Autumn, all in yellow clad,
    As though he joyed in his plenteous store,
    Laden with fruits that made him laugh, full glad
    That he had banished hunger, which before
    Had by the belly oft him pinched sore;
    Upon his head a wreath, that was enrolled
    With ears of corn of every sort, he bore,
    And in his hand a sickle he did hold,
    To reap the ripened fruits the which the earth had yold.
    • Cantos VII, stanza 30
  • Lastly came Winter, clothed all in frieze,
    Chattering his teeth for cold that did him chill,
    Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze,
    And the dull drops that from his purpled bill,
    As from a limbeck, did adown distill;
    In his right hand a tipped staff he held,
    With which his feeble steps he stayed still:
    For he was faint with cold and weak with eld,
    That scarce his loosed limbs he able was to weld.
    • Cantos VII, stanza 31
  • First, sturdy March, with brows full sternly bent
    And armed strongly, rode upon a ram,
    The same which over Hellespontus swam;
    Yet in his hand a spade he also hent,
    And in a bag all sorts of seeds ysame,
    Which on the earth he strewed as he went,
    And filled her womb with fruitful hope of nourishment.
    • Canto VII, stanza 32
  • Jolly June, arrayed
    All in green leaves, as he a player were.
    • Canto VII, stanza 35
  • Next was November; he full gross and fat
    As fed with lard, and that right well might seem;
    For he had been a-fatting hogs of late.
    • Canto VII, stanza 40
O that great Sabaoth God, grant me that Sabaoth's sight.
  • And after all came Life; and lastly Death:
    Death with most grim and grisly visage seen,
    Yet is he nought but parting of the breath;
    Nor ought to see, but like a shade to ween,
    Unbodied, unsouled, unheard, unseen.
    • Cantos VII, stanza 46
  • But times do change and move continually.
    • Canto VII, stanza 47
  • For all that moveth doth in change delight;
    But thenceforth all shall rest eternally
    With Him that is the God of Sabaoth hight:
    O that great Sabaoth God, grant me that Sabaoth's sight.
    • Canto VIII, stanza 2

Quotations about The Faerie Queene[edit]

Beyond all doubt it is best to have made one's first acquaintance with Spenser in a very large—and, preferably, illustrated—edition of The Faerie Queene, on a wet day, between the ages of twelve and sixteen.
~ C. S. Lewis
There is something in Spenser that pleases one as strongly in one's old age as it did in one's youth. I read The Faerie Queene when I was about twelve, with infinite delight; and I think it gave me as much when I read it over about a year or two ago.
~ Alexander Pope
The Faerie Queen is only half-estimated because few persons take the pains to think out its meaning.
~ John Ruskin
  • Who, except scholars, and except the eccentric few who are born with a sympathy for such work, or others who have deliberately studied themselves into the right appreciation, can now read through the whole of The Faerie Queene with delight?
    • T. S. Eliot, 'Charles Whibley' (1931), in Selected Essays: 1917–1932 (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1932), p. 405
  • Some people will say [...] that they cannot understand [the Faery Queen] on account of the allegory. They are afraid of the allegory, as if they thought it would bite them: they look at it as a child looks at a painted dragon, and think it will strangle them in its shining folds. This is very idle. If they do not meddle with the allegory, the allegory will not meddle with them. Without minding it at all, the whole is as plain as a pike-staff.
  • The things we read about in [The Faerie Queene] are not like life, but the experience of reading it is like living.
    • C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1936), p. 358
  • Beyond all doubt it is best to have made one's first acquaintance with Spenser in a very large—and, preferably, illustrated—edition of The Faerie Queene, on a wet day, between the ages of twelve and sixteen.
    • C. S. Lewis, 'Edmund Spenser', from Fifteen Poets (London: Oxford University Press, 1941); in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, ed. Walter Hooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966), p. 146; quoted in ‎Roy Maynard's Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves: Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, Book I (Moscow, Idaho: Canon Press, 1999), Introduction, p. 9.
  • It is not, perhaps, absolutely necessary to have a large edition in fact; but it is imperative that you should think of The Faerie Queene as a book suitable for reading in a heavy volume, at a table—a book to which limp leather is insulting—a massy, antique story with a blackletter flavour about it—a book for devout, prolonged, and leisurely perusal.
    • C. S. Lewis, 'Edmund Spenser', from Fifteen Poets (London: Oxford University Press, 1941); in Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, ed. Walter Hooper (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966), pp. 146–147
  • I never meet a man who says that he used to like the Faerie Queene.
    • C. S. Lewis, English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), p. 393
  • The Faerie Queene is perhaps the most difficult poem in English. Quite how difficult, I am only now beginning to realize after forty years of reading it.
    • C. S. Lewis, Spenser's Images of Life (1967), ed. Alastair Fowler, Introduction
  • Of the persons who read the first Canto, not one in ten reaches the end of the First Book, and not one in a hundred perseveres to the end of the poem. Very few and very weary are those who are in at the death of the Blatant Beast.
    • Thomas Babington Macaulay, 'Southey's Edition of the Pilgrim's Progress', in The Edinburgh Review, Vol. LIV (1831), p. 452
    • Note: The Blatant Beast does not die in the poem. C. A. Patrides comments: "Macaulay himself, it is clear, did not persevere to the end." In Figures in a Renaissance Context, eds. Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1989), p. 35. Quoted in Hazel Wilkinson's Edmund Spenser and the Eighteenth-Century Book (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), Introduction, p. 1.
  • The noblest allegorical poem in our own language,—indeed, the noblest allegorical poem in the world.
  • After reading a canto of Spenser two or three days ago to an old lady, between seventy and eighty years of age, she said that I had been showing her a gallery of pictures.—I don't know how it is, but she said very right: there is something in Spenser that pleases one as strongly in one's old age, as it did in one's youth. I read the Faerie Queene when I was about twelve, with infinite delight; and I think it gave me as much, when I read it over about a year or two ago.
    • Alexander Pope, as quoted in Joseph Spence's Anecdotes, Observations, and Characters, of Books and Men, ed. S. W. Singer (1820), pp. 296–297
  • I don't wonder that you are in such raptures with Spenser! What an imagination! What an invention! What painting! What colouring displayed throughout the works of that admirable author! and yet, for want of time, or opportunity, I have not read his Fairy Queen through in series, or at a heat, as I may call it.
    • Samuel Richardson, letter to Susanna Highmore (22 June 1750), in The Correspondence of Richardson, Vol. II (1804), p. 245
  • The "Faerie Queen," like Dante's "Paradise," is only half estimated, because few persons take the pains to think out its meaning.
    • John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, Vol. II (1853), p. 326
  • The general end therefore of all the book is to fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle discipline.
  • I am reading The Faery Queen—with delight. [...] I can't think out what I mean about conception: the idea behind F.Q. How to express a kind of natural transition from state to state. And the air of natural beauty.
    • Virginia Woolf, diary entry on 23 January 1935, in The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. IV: 1931–1935, eds. Anne Olivier Bell and ‎Andrew McNeillie (London: Hogarth Press, 1982), p. 275
  • [Mr. John Bailey] related a story of an officer who read the Faerie Queene to his men when they were in a particularly difficult situation. The men did not understand the words, but the poetry had a soothing influence upon them. Nothing better could be said of poetry than that.
    • At a General Meeting of the English Association (25 May 1917), as reported in The Journal of Education, Vol. XLIX (1917), p. 438; quoted in Brian Doyle's English and Englishness (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), p. 28.

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