Verse > Edmund Spenser > Complete Poetical Works
Edmund Spenser (1552?–1599).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1908.
Commendatory Sonnets
  [The first of these sonnets was probably no more than a friendly address, not meant for publication. The others were contributed, by way of compliment, to various books of the time.
  I. Appended by Harvey to ‘Foure Letters, and certaine Sonnets, especially touching Robert Greene, and other parties by him abused, etc.’ 1592.
  II. The first of four sonnets prefixed to ‘Nennio, or A Treatise of Nobility, etc. Written in Italian by that famous Doctor and worthy Knight, Sir John Baptista Nenna of Bari. Done into English by William Jones, Gent.’ 1595.
  III. The first of three sonnets prefixed to the ‘Historie of George Castriot, surnamed Scanderbeg, King of Albanie: Containing his famous actes, etc. Newly translated out of French into English by Z. I. Gentleman.’ 1596.
  IV. The first of three sonnets and a huitain prefixed to ‘The Commonwealth and Government of Venice. Written by the Cardinall Gaspar Contareno, and translated out of Italian into English by Lewes Lewkenor, Esquire.’ 1599.]


To the right worshipfull, my singular good frend, Master Gabriell Harvey, Doctor of the Lawes.

HARVEY, the happy above happiest men
I read: that, sitting like a looker-on
Of this worldes stage, doest note with critique pen
The sharpe dislikes of each condition:
And, as one carelesse of suspition,        5
Ne fawnest for the favour of the great;
Ne fearest foolish reprehension
Of faulty men, which daunger to thee threat;
But freely doest of what thee list entreat,
Like a great lord of peerelesse liberty;        10
Lifting the good up to high Honours seat,
And the evill damning evermore to dy.
For life and death is in thy doomeful writing:
So thy renowme lives ever by endighting.

  Dublin, this xviij. of July, 1586.
    Your devoted friend, during life,
WHO so wil seeke by right deserts t’ attaine
Unto the type of true nobility,
And not by painted shewes, and titles vaine
Derived farre from famous auncestrie,
Behold them both in their right visnomy
Here truly pourtray’d as they ought to be,        20
And striving both for termes of dignitie,
To be advanced highest in degree.
And when thou doost with equall insight see
The ods twixt both, of both then deem aright,
And chuse the better of them both to thee:        25
But thanks to him that it deserves behight;
  To Nenna first, that first this worke created,
  And next to Jones, that truely it translated.
Upon the Historie of George Castriot, alias Scanderbeg, King of the Epirots, translated into English.

WHEREFORE doth vaine Antiquitie so vaunt
Her ancient monuments of mightie peeres,        30
And old heröes, which their world did daunt
With their great deedes, and fild their childrens eares?
Who, rapt with wonder of their famous praise,
Admire their statues, their colossoes great,
Their rich triumphall arcks which they did raise,        35
Their huge pyramids, which do heaven threat.
Lo! one, whom later age hath brought to light,
Matchable to the greatest of those great:
Great both by name, and great in power and might,
And meriting a meere triumphant seate.        40
  The scourge of Turkes, and plague of infidels,
  Thy acts, O Scanderbeg, this volume tels.
THE ANTIQUE Babel, empresse of the East,
Upreard her buildinges to the threatned skie:
And second Babell, tyrant of the West,        45
Her ayry towers upraised much more high.
But, with the weight of their own surquedry,
They both are fallen, that all the earth did feare,
And buried now in their own ashes ly;
Yet shewing by their heapes how great they were.        50
But in their place doth now a third appeare,
Fayre Venice, flower of the last worlds delight;
And next to them in beauty draweth neare,
But farre exceedes in policie of right.
  Yet not so fayre her buildinges to behold        55
  As Lewkenors stile, that hath her beautie told.

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