Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Spenser’s Imitation of the Opening Lines of the ‘Nature of Things’
By Titus Lucretius Carus (c. 99–c. 55 B.C.)
From ‘The Fairy Queen

  GREAT VENUS! queen of beauty and of grace,
    The joy of gods and men, that under sky
  Dost fairest shine, and most adorn thy place;
    That with thy smiling look dost pacify
    The raging seas, and mak’st the storms to fly:        5
  Thee, goddess, thee the winds, the clouds do fear;
    And when thou spread’st thy mantle forth on high,
  The waters play, and pleasant lands appear,
And heavens laugh, and all the world shows joyous cheer.
  Then doth the dædale earth throw forth to thee        10
    Out of her fruitful lap abundant flowers;
  And then all living wights, soon as they see
    The spring break forth out of his lusty bowers,
    They all do learn to play the paramours;
  First do the merry birds, thy pretty pages,        15
    Privily pricked with thy lustful powers,
  Chirp loud to thee out of their leafy cages,
And thee their mother call to cool their kindly rages.
  Then do the savage beasts begin to play
    Their pleasant frisks, and loathe their wonted food;        20
  The lions roar; the tigers loudly bray;
    The raging bulls re-bellow through the wood,
    And breaking forth, dare tempt the deepest flood
  To come where thou dost draw them with desire;
    So all things else, that nourish vital blood,        25
  Soon as with fury thou dost them inspire,
In generation seek to quench their inward fire.
  So all the world by thee at first was made,
    And daily yet thou dost the same repair:
  Ne ought on earth that merry is and glad,        30
    Ne ought on earth that lovely is and fair,
    But thou the same for pleasure didst prepare.
  Thou art the root of all that joyous is:
    Great god of men and women, queen of the air,
  Mother of laughter, and well-spring of bliss,        35
O grant that of my love at last I may not miss!

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