AGAINST TIME'S RUIN
LIVING in a world that, in Dr. Johnson's phrase, is "bursting with sin and sorrow," have we time for daydream poetry? Spenser anticipates the question:
Right well I wote most mighty Soveraine,
That all this famous antique history,
Of some th'aboundance of an idle braine
Will judged be, and painted forgery,
Rather then matter of just memory,
Sith none, that breatheth living aire, does know,
Where is that happy land of Faery,
Which I so much do vaunt, yet no where show,
But vouch antiquities, which no body can know.
Peru and the Amazon and Virginia were in existence long before they were discovered:
Why then should witlesse man so much misweene
That nothing is, but that which he hath seene?
What if within the Moones faire shining spheare?
What if in every other starre unseene
Of other worldes he happily should beare?
He wonder would much more: yet such to some appeare.
Of Faerie lond yet if he more inquire,
By certaine signes here set in sundry place
He may it find; ne let him then admire,
But yield his sence to be too blunt and bace,
That no'te without an hound fine footing trace.
And thou, O fairest Princesse under sky,
In this faire mirrhour maist behold thy face,
And thine owne realmes in lond of Faery,
And in this antique Image thy great auncestry.1