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“One Of The Most Glorious Of English Poems”

1. SPENSER, Edmund.

The Faerie Queene.

London, 1596. Two volumes.

Small quarto, late-19th-century full green morocco gilt, custom cloth



Rare first complete edition of Spenser’s “impressive allegorical epic” (Lacy,

141), finely bound in morocco-gilt by Bedford. The political allegory of

the poem—meant in particular to glorify Queen Elizabeth—

ran afoul of

James VI of Scotland, who banned the book for its negative portrayal of

his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, in the character of Duessa.

The Faerie Queene

is one of the most glorious of English poems. It is

also one of themost seminal; its influence can be traced in a straight line

all the way to the 19th-century Romantics. It is no wonder that Lamb

called Spenser ‘the poet’s poet’; he has been a source of inspiration for

countless followers” (Kunitz


Haycraft, 488). “Spenser is preeminent-

ly a moral poet…The object of his own poem is to make vice ugly and

virtue attractive. No other poet has painted with more terrible truth

the images of Despair, Slander, Care, Envy and Distraction, the Blatant

Beast of Scandal and the brazen dragon of Sin… To Spenser and the

men of his age, to all the noble spirits to whom since

The Faerie Queene

has been an inspiration next only to the Bible and Shakespeare, these