Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Extract from The Teares of the Muses: Complaint of Thalia (Comedy)
By Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599)

WHERE be the sweete delights of learnings treasure
That wont with Comick sock to beautefie
The painted Theaters, and fill with pleasure
The listners eyes and eares with melodie;
In which I late was wont to raine as Queene,        5
And maske in mirth with Graces well beseene?
O! all is gone; and all that goodly glee,
Which wont to be the glorie of gay wits,
Is layd abed, and no where now to see;
And in her roome unseemly Sorrow sits,        10
With hollow browes and greisly countenaunce,
Marring my joyous gentle dalliaunce.
And him beside sits ugly Barbarisme,
And brutish Ignorance, ycrept of late
Out of dredd darknes of the deepe Abysme,        15
Where being bredd, he light and heaven does hate:
They in the mindes of men now tyrannize,
And the faire Scene with rudenes foule disguize.
All places they with follie have possest,
And with vaine toyes the vulgare entertaine;        20
But me have banished, with all the rest
That whilome wont to wait upon my traine,
Fine Counterfesaunce, and unhurtfull Sport,
Delight, and Laughter, deckt in seemly sort.
All these, and all that els the Comick Stage        25
With seasoned wit and goodly pleasance graced,
By which mans life in his likest image
Was limned forth, are wholly now defaced;
And those swete wits, which wont the like to frame,
Are now despizd, and made a laughing game.        30
And he, the man whom Nature selfe had made
To mock her selfe, and Truth to imitate,
With kindly counter under Mimick shade,
Our pleasant Willy, ah! is dead of late:
With whom all joy and jolly meriment        35
Is also deaded, and in dolour drent.
In stead thereof scoffing Scurrilitie,
And scornfull Follie with Contempt is crept,
Rolling in rymes of shameles ribaudrie
Without regard, or due Decorum kept;        40
Each idle wit at will presumes to make, 1
And doth the Learneds taske upon him take.
But that same gentle Spirit, from whose pen
Large streames of honnie and sweete Nectar flowe,
Scorning the boldnes of such base-borne men,        45
Which dare their follies forth so rashlie throwe,
Doth rather choose to sit in idle Cell,
Than so himselfe to mockerie to sell.
So am I made the servant of the manie,
And laughing stocke of all that list to scorne;        50
Not honored nor cared for of anie,
But loath’d of losels as a thing forlorne:
Therefore I mourne and sorrow with the rest,
Untill my cause of sorrow be redrest.
Note 1. write poetry. [back]

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