Edmund Spenser

Here you will find the Long Poem An Hymn Of Heavenly Beauty of poet Edmund Spenser

An Hymn Of Heavenly Beauty

Rapt with the rage of mine own ravish'd thought,
 Through contemplation of those goodly sights,
 And glorious images in heaven wrought,
 Whose wondrous beauty, breathing sweet delights
 Do kindle love in high-conceited sprights;
 I fain to tell the things that I behold,
 But feel my wits to fail, and tongue to fold.

 Vouchsafe then, O thou most Almighty Spright,
 From whom all gifts of wit and knowledge flow,
 To shed into my breast some sparkling light
 Of thine eternal truth, that I may show
 Some little beams to mortal eyes below
 Of that immortal beauty, there with thee,
 Which in my weak distraughted mind I see;

 That with the glory of so goodly sight
 The hearts of men, which fondly here admire
 Fair seeming shews, and feed on vain delight,
 Transported with celestial desire
 Of those fair forms, may lift themselves up higher,
 And learn to love, with zealous humble duty,
 Th' eternal fountain of that heavenly beauty.

 Beginning then below, with th' easy view
 Of this base world, subject to fleshly eye,
 From thence to mount aloft, by order due,
 To contemplation of th' immortal sky;
 Of the soare falcon so I learn to fly,
 That flags awhile her fluttering wings beneath,
 Till she herself for stronger flight can breathe.

 Then look, who list thy gazeful eyes to feed
 With sight of that is fair, look on the frame
 Of this wide universe, and therein reed
 The endless kinds of creatures which by name
 Thou canst not count, much less their natures aim;
 All which are made with wondrous wise respect,
 And all with admirable beauty deckt.

 First th' earth, on adamantine pillars founded,
 Amid the sea engirt with brazen bands;
 Then th' air still flitting, but yet firmly bounded
 On every side, with piles of flaming brands,
 Never consum'd, nor quench'd with mortal hands;
 And last, that mighty shining crystal wall,
 Wherewith he hath encompassed this All.

 By view whereof it plainly may appear,
 That still as every thing doth upward tend,
 And further is from earth, so still more clear
 And fair it grows, till to his perfect end
 Of purest beauty it at last ascend;
 Air more than water, fire much more than air,
 And heaven than fire, appears more pure and fair.

 Look thou no further, but affix thine eye
 On that bright, shiny, round, still moving mass,
 The house of blessed gods, which men call sky,
 All sow'd with glist'ring stars more thick than grass,
 Whereof each other doth in brightness pass,
 But those two most, which ruling night and day,
 As king and queen, the heavens' empire sway;

 And tell me then, what hast thou ever seen
 That to their beauty may compared be,
 Or can the sight that is most sharp and keen
 Endure their captain's flaming head to see?
 How much less those, much higher in degree,
 And so much fairer, and much more than these,
 As these are fairer than the land and seas?

 For far above these heavens, which here we see,
 Be others far exceeding these in light,
 Not bounded, not corrupt, as these same be,
 But infinite in largeness and in height,
 Unmoving, uncorrupt, and spotless bright,
 That need no sun t' illuminate their spheres,
 But their own native light far passing theirs.

 And as these heavens still by degrees arise,
 Until they come to their first Mover's bound,
 That in his mighty compass doth comprise,
 And carry all the rest with him around;
 So those likewise do by degrees redound,
 And rise more fair; till they at last arrive
 To the most fair, whereto they all do strive.

 Fair is the heaven where happy souls have place,
 In full enjoyment of felicity,
 Whence they do still behold the glorious face
 Of the divine eternal Majesty;
 More fair is that, where those Ideas on high
 Enranged be, which Plato so admired,
 And pure Intelligences from God inspired.

 Yet fairer is that heaven, in which do reign
 The sovereign Powers and mighty Potentates,
 Which in their high protections do contain
 All mortal princes and imperial states;
 And fairer yet, whereas the royal Seats
 And heavenly Dominations are set,
 From whom all earthly governance is fet.

 Yet far more fair be those bright Cherubins,
 Which all with golden wings are overdight,
 And those eternal burning Seraphins,
 Which from their faces dart out fiery light;
 Yet fairer than they both, and much more bright,
 Be th' Angels and Archangels, which attend
 On God's own person, without rest or end.

 These thus in fair each other far excelling,
 As to the highest they approach more near,
 Yet is that highest far beyond all telling,
 Fairer than all the rest which there appear,
 Though all their beauties join'd together were;
 How then can mortal tongue hope to