Primary Resource

"A Vision Upon this Concept of the Faery Queene" by Sir Walter Raleigh (1590)

This sonnet, "A Vision Upon this Concept of the Faery Queene," was written by Sir Walter Raleigh and published as a commendatory verse at the beginning of Edmund Spenser's epic The Faerie Queen (1590). Raleigh and Spenser met in Ireland, and Spenser modeled after Raleigh his character Timias, a squire who woos the "heavenly born" Belphoebe, modeled after Queen Elizabeth. Some spelling has been modernized.

Transcription from Original

  • ME thought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
  • Within the Temple, where the vestall flame
  • Was wont to burne; and passing by that way,
  • To see that buried dust of living fame,
  • Whose tombe faire love and fairer vertue kept;
  • All suddeinly I saw the Faery Queene:
  • At whose approch the soule of Petrarke wept;
  • And from thenceforth, those graces were not seene,
  • For they this Queene attended: in whose steed
  • Oblivion laid him downe on Lauras herse:
  • Hereat the hardest stones were seene to bleed,
  • And grones of buried ghostes the hevens did perse,
  • Where Homers spright did tremble all for griefe,
  • And curst th' accesse of that celestiall theife.