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The earth did fresh aray;

So fresh they seem'd as day,

Even as their Brydale day, which was not long:

Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end my Song.

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew
Great store of Flowers, the honour of the field,
That to the sense did fragrant odours yeild,
All which upon those goodly Birds they threw
And all the Waves did strew,

That like old Peneus Waters they did seeme,
When downe along by pleasant Tempes shore,
Scattred with Flowres, through Thessaly they

streeme,

That they appeare, through Lillies plenteous

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store,

Like a Brydes Chamber flore.

Two of those Nymphes, meane while, two Garlands bound

Of freshest Flowres which in that Mead they found,

The which presenting all in trim Array,
Their snowie Foreheads therewithall they

crownd,

Whil'st one did sing this Lay,

Prepar'd against that Day,

Against their Brydale day, which was not long: Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end

my Song.

90

"Ye gentle Birdes! the worlds faire ornament, And heavens glorie, whom this happie hower Doth leade unto your lovers blisfull bower, Joy may you have, and gentle hearts content Of your loves couplement ;

And let faire Venus, that is Queene of love, With her heart-quelling Sonne upon you smile, Whose smile, they say, hath vertue to remove All Loves dislike, and friendships faultie guile For ever to assoile.

Let endlesse Peace your steadfast hearts accord,

And blessed Plentie wait upon your bord;

And let your bed with pleasures chast abound,
That fruitfull issue may to you afford,
Which may your foes confound,

And make your joyes redound

Upon your Brydale day, which is not long: Sweete Themmes! runne softlie, till I end my Song."

108

So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that her undersong,
Which said their brydale daye should not be

long:

And gentle Eccho from the neighbour ground Their accents did resound.

So forth those joyous Birdes did passe along, Adowne the Lee, that to them murmurde low, As he would speake, but that he lackt a tong, Yet did by signes his glad affection show, Making his streame run slow.

And all the foule which in his flood did dwell
Gan flock about these twaine, that did excell
The rest, so far as Cynthia doth shend
The lesser starres. So they, enrangéd well,
Did on those two attend,

And their best service lend

Against their wedding day, which was not long:

Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end my Song.

At length they all to mery London came,
To mery London, my most kyndly Nurse,
That to me gave this Lifes first native sourse,
Though from another place I take my name,
An house of auncient fame:

There when they came, whereas those bricky towres

The which on Themmes brode agèd backe doe ryde,

126

Where now the studious Lawyers have their bowers,

There whylome wont the Templer Knights to byde,

Till they decayd through pride:

Next whereunto there standes a stately place, Where oft I gaynèd giftes and goodly grace Of that great Lord, which therein wont to

dwell,

Whose want too well now feeles my freendles

case;

But ah! here fits not well
Olde woes, but joyes, to tell
Against the bridale daye, which is not long:
Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end
my Song.

Yet therein now doth lodge a noble Peer,
Great Englands glory, and the Worlds wide

wonder,

Whose dreadfull name late through all Spaine did thunder,

And Hercules two pillors standing neere
Did make to quake and feare:

Faire branch of Honor, flower of Chevalrie!
That fillest England with thy triumphes

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fame,

Joy have thou of thy noble victorie,

And endlesse happinesse of thine owne name That promiseth the same;

That through thy prowesse, and victorious

armes,

Thy country may be freed from forraine
harmes ;

And great Elisaes glorious name may ring
Through al the world, fil'd with thy wide
Alarmes,

Which some brave muse may sing

To ages following,

Upon the Brydale day, which is not long: Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end my Song.

162

From those high Towers this noble Lord issuing,

Like Radiant Hesper, when his golden hayre
In th' Ocean billowes he hath bathèd fayre,
Descended to the Rivers open vewing,
With a great traine ensuing.

Above the rest were goodly to bee seene
Two gentle Knights of lovely face and feature,
Beseeming well the bower of anie Queene,
With gifts of wit, and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature,

That like the twins of Jove they seem'd in

sight,

Which decke the Bauldricke of the Heavens

bright;

They two, forth pacing to the Rivers side, Received those two faire Brides, their Loves

delight;

Which, at th' appointed tyde,

Each one did make his Bryde

Against their Brydale day, which is not long: Sweete Themmes! runne softly, till I end my Song.

1596.

EPITHALAMION

Edmund Spenser.

YE learned sisters, which have oftentimes
Beene to me ayding, others to adorne,
Whom ye thought worthy of your gracefull

rymes,

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