A poem by Edmund Spenser

[* In the folio of 1611, these four short pieces are appended to the Sonnets. The second and third are translated from Marot's Epigrams, Liv. III. No. 5, De Diane, and No. 24, De Cupido et de sa Dame. C.]

In youth, before I waxed old,
The blynd boy, Venus baby,
For want of cunning, made me bold
In bitter hyve to grope for honny:
But when he saw me stung and cry,
He tooke his wings and away did fly.


As Diane hunted on a day,
She chaunst to come where Cupid lay,
His quiver by his head:
One of his shafts she stole away,
And one of hers did close convay,
Into the others stead:
With that Love wounded my Loves hart,
But Diane, beasts with Cupids dart.


I saw, in secret to my dame
How little Cupid humbly came,
And said to her, "All hayle, my mother!"
But when he saw me laugh, for shame
His face with bashfull blood did flame,
Not knowing Venus from the other.
"Then, never blush, Cupid," quoth I,
"For many have err'd in this beauty."


Upon a day, as Love lay sweetly slumbring
All in his mothers lap,
A gentle Bee, with his loud trumpet murm'ring,
About him flew by hap.
Whereof when he was wakened with the noyse,
And saw the beast so small,
"Whats this," quoth he, "that gives so great a voyce,
That wakens men withall?"
In angry wize he flies about,
And threatens all with corage stout.

To whom his mother, closely* smiling, sayd,
'Twixt earnest and 'twixt game:
"See! thou thy selfe likewise art lyttle made,
If thou regard the same.
And yet thou suffrest neyther gods in sky,
Nor men in earth, to rest:
But when thou art disposed cruelly,
Theyr sleepe thou doost molest.
Then eyther change thy cruelty,
Or give lyke leave unto the fly."
[* Closely, secretly.]

Nathelesse, the cruell boy, not so content,
Would needs the fly pursue,
And in his hand, with heedlesse hardiment,
Him caught for to subdue.
But when on it he hasty hand did lay,
The Bee him stung therefore.
"Now out, alas," he cryde, "and welaway!
I wounded am full sore.
The fly, that I so much did scorne,
Hath hurt me with his little horne."

Unto his mother straight he weeping came,
And of his griefe complayned;
Who could not chuse but laugh at his fond game,
Though sad to see him pained.
"Think now," quoth she, "my son, how great the smart
Of those whom thou dost wound:
Full many thou hast pricked to the hart,
That pitty never found.
Therefore, henceforth some pitty take,
When thou doest spoyle of lovers make."

She tooke him streight full pitiously lamenting,
She wrapt him softly, all the while repenting
That he the fly did mock.
She drest his wound, and it embaulmed well
With salve of soveraigne might;
And then she bath'd him in a dainty well,
The well of deare delight.
Who would not oft be stung as this,
To be so bath'd in Venus blis?

The wanton boy was shortly wel recured
Of that his malady;
But he soone after fresh again enured*
His former cruelty.
And since that time he wounded hath my selfe
With his sharpe dart of love,
And now forgets the cruell carelesse elfe
His mothers heast** to prove.
So now I languish, till he please
My pining anguish to appease.
[* Enured, practised.]
[** Heast, command.]

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