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fashion and to precedent. Spenser's bolder linguistic experiments he dare not allow, since neither Theocritus in Greek, Virgil in Latin, nor Sanazar in Italian, did affect it', and he led the scholars' movement to establish classical metres in English verse. His power to sway in this matter the sounder judgement of Spenser, where Harvey's fanaticism had failed, argues an agreement between them on things deeper than mere form. But the sonnets to Stella are evidence enough that Sidney's classical bias was not bigoted; and even when his interest in the new versifying was at its height he encouraged Spenser to the more ambitious undertaking of the Faerie Queene, approving a design which Harvey could only condemn. For on the vital issues of poetry they were at one. The view once put forward, that The Defence of Poesy is founded upon Spenser's lost pamphlet The English Poete rests indeed on no authority; but it is hardly fanciful to believe that the conception of art that finds so eloquent an exposition in Sidney's prose, was influenced by intercourse with Spenser at Penshurst, much as those rambles on the Quantock Hills in 1797 helped to form the mind which produced the Biographia Literaria.

How far this community of taste and interest developed towards a deep mutual friendship can never be determined. There is no evidence that their relationship became one of close personal intimacy. Sidney was a man of reserve not easily broer down; and Spenser, with the personal modesty that so often accompanies the confidence of genius, would naturally be conscious of their inequality in the eyes of the world. Moreover, the words in which, years later, Spenser dedicated The Ruines of Time to the Countess of Pembroke, claim no equal friendship with 'that most brave knight your noble brother deceased'; they speak rather of an ' entire love and humble affection, which taking roote began in his lifetime somewhat to bud forth and to shew themselves to him, as then in the weaknes of their first spring; And would in their riper strength spired forth fruit of more perfection of what might have been rather than of what was. But it is safe to speak of Spenser's deep love for Sidney. Love differs from friendship, in that it gives more and demands less. Yet assuredly those who speak of a close friendship are less astray than those who see in Spenser's attitude to Sidney merely the conventional worship of a popular hero and a private patron. It is an idle scholarship that belittles the emotions of a great artist into decorative fancy, and assumes that because art is conventional it is convention only. Spenser's love for Sidney was probably the deepest formative influence upon his life and character. Time did not efface it. That intensity of emotion common to all poets was combined in Spenser with the rarer quality of constancy, and the Sidney who had inspired his youth and given him a model for the brave courtier in Mother Hubberds Tale, lived on in his memory to vitalize some of his most beautiful conceptions in the Faerie Queene. Readers have been disappointed that in his elegy upon Astrophel Spenser

did not drop the pastoral cloak and speak in clearer accents. But this is to misunderstand both his mind and his art. There is nothing of the realist in Spenser's poetic constitution. His delicate reserve expresses his emotion far more in verbal cadence, in melody of phrasing, than by the logical values of words; and in the elaborate use of his characteristic effects of alliteration and repetition, he gives to the lay of Astrophel a lingering and tender pathos as potent and as moving as the direct expression of personal regard. And his use of the pastoral is not merely dictated by its association with elegy. That art form in which he first gave to the world his own idealized autobiography remained for him the metaphor by which to express his most intimate personal experience. The poet of the Faerie Queene was still ' Colin Clout' among his friends, and he who had been the 'Southern Shepherd's boy', and delighted to hint at their association in the subtle background of Kentish landscape, fitly lamented Sidney as Astrophel. Finally, when his own Faerie land becomes itself pastoral, and Colin Clout strays into it, we recognize in its hero, Sir Calidore, an ideal portrait of Sidney.

In 1579, when Spenser made his first bid for poetic fame, he dedicated his book to the president of noblesse and of chevalrie', Sir Philip Sidney. The importance of the Shepheardes Calender was not underrated by Spenser and his friends. They realized its relations to the past of English poetry, and viewed it as the herald of a new movement likely to be condemned and misunderstood. It is edited by the mysterious E. K., with explanatory and apologetic notes, and prefaced with an elaborate letter addressed to Harvey, as the acknowledged representative of the litterati, asking for his protection for the work, discussing points that are likely to meet the criticism of the learned, and whetting curiosity by reference to other poems of the author's which only await a favourable public. E. K. has been denied a real existence, and regarded as a pleasant creation of Spenser's by whose mouth he could gracefully blow his own trumpet; but the majority of scholars have accepted the more natural view that the initials stand for Edward Kirke, Spenser's fellow student at Cambridge, and one of Harvey's enthusiastic disciples. But though Kirke was responsible for the Gloss, and sometimes unconsciously, sometimes of set purpose, fails to express his author's intention, it is clear enough that he can only have undertaken the task at Spenser's instigation, and that much that he wrote was inspired by a close intimacy with the poet's mind and thought.

Nor was the anxious care devoted to the publication of the Shepheardes Calender in any way misplaced. The poem is of deep interest, whether we regard it as veiled autobiography or as a work of art of historic interest and high intrinsic value. The spread of education, the influence of the learning and culture of the Renaissance, the habit of foreign travel, the awakening of a national consciousness, had all tended to create a public eagerly interested in literature, and especially in poetry. Many of the

leading nobles were already vying with one another as patrons of the arts; the new poet, who should prove worthy of the time and express its highest aspirations, was yet to seek. Spenser realized the situation and set himself to fulfil the demand. And he was able to fulfil it because, though he was himself steeped in all that was accounted learning by his contemporaries, he turned for his vital inspiration to that fountain of native poetry which they for the most part ignored.

His choice of form was happy; the pastoral eclogue was already popular, and its traditions in classical and Renaissance literature gave him a precedent for whatever allegorical use he chose to make of it. The shepherd's cloak was the acknowledged disguise of the lover, the poet, the courtier, the pastor of souls, the critic of contemporary life; the shepherd world gave him opportunities for description, often conventional enough, yet shot through with personal reminiscence and vivid local colour. In the lowliness of the vocation he could shroud his own glowing ambition, making the poem the repository of his personal emotions, his religious and political beliefs, his hopes and fears for art. Where his various predecessors had specialized in their pastorals Spenser was essentially eclectic and composite. The calendar used by shepherds to guide them in the management of their flocks, suggests to him the title of his poem, and an easily adaptable form in which different aspects of the same mind may find utterance. In the dramatis personae he can represent under a disguise, sometimes dark, sometimes transparent, himself and his friends. He is himself Colin Clout, Gabriel Harvey is Hobbinol, and Rosalind the object of his unhappy love. Under other names he alludes to other personalities, or gives expression to typical points of view.

E. K. has divided the Eclogues into Plaintive (1, 6, 11, 12), Recreative, 'such as al those be which containe matter of love, or commendation of special personages' (3, 4, 8), or Moral 'which for the most part be mixed with some which Satyrical bitternesse' (2, 5, 7, 9, 10). No division can be entirely satisfactory; for what unity the work has is partly attained by the interweaving of its various motives. But if we except the March Eclogue, an attempt to naturalize in the English woods of early spring a Cupid who has strayed from a more congenial Sicilian background, the plaintive and recreative poems are chiefly devoted to presenting Colin Clout in his double character of lover and of poet. Love is the main theme of January and December alone. For mingling with the strain of melancholy which laments the cruelty of Rosalind rises the triumphant conviction that Colin is recognized by his brother shepherds as their chief singer, and identified by them with the great future of English verse. In April Hobbinol's reference to Colin's hopeless love is only the introduction to the recital of the lyric that he has written in praise of the fayre queene of shepherds all', a lyric of musical variety and beauty unmatched before in our poetry. In August the roundels fresh' of Perigot and Willie are 'yshend' by Cuddie, who recites a dooleful verse of Rosalind that Colin made'; and

the roughness of the conventional rustic singing match is of set purpose emphasized to contrast with the elaborate sestain of the accomplished, artist. In November Colin himself rehearses a song which he made in imitation of Marot, ‘farre surpassing his reach,' comments E. K., ' and in myn opinion all other Eclogues in this book.' It is; indeed, the most elaborate piece of melody that had yet rejoiced Elizabethan ears, and in that age can be surpassed only by the lyrical achievements of Spenser's own maturity.

In the first four moral eclogues, where Spenser expresses his outlook upon problems of wider import than his own love and poetic fame, Colin disappears from the dramatis personae, and the style becomes more homely, as though to suggest the rough sincerity of native satire. February, in its brilliantly told fable of the oak and the brier, contrasts the decrepitude of age with the arrogance of youth. But it has possibly a closer application; and it may well be that in the oak, once a goodly tree, but now decayed, he sees the true spirit of Christianity degenerated under the influence of Romish superstition, and in the haughty brier the irreverent and godless temper of the new clergy, whose irreligion offered so bold a contrast to the simple piety of pure Christian faith. But if this interpretation is forced, Spenser's purpose in May, July, and September is clear enough. His family was of the Reforming party, and the influences under which he had come at college drew his sympathies still more closely to the Puritan cause. Along with its leaders he viewed the temporizing policy of Elizabeth with anxiety, even with horror, and now in his desire To teach the ruder shepherd how to feed his sheepe, And from the falser's fraud his folded flocke to keepe,

he was intensely in earnest. E. K., indeed, is often vague as to the exact meaning of these eclogues, at times even throws dust in the eyes of their readers. With a friend's prudence he does not wish the success of the volume to be jeopardized by incurring the bitterness of party controversy. He declines to recognize in Algrind, who is held up as the pattern of true religion and piety, a portrait of Grindal, the Puritan archbishop, then in disgrace for refusing to bow before Elizabeth's distrust of religious enthusiasm; and when Spenser contrasts the spiritual earnestness of the Puritan clergy with the orthodox but worldly members of the reformed Church, E. K. prefers to read the two types of pastor as the Protestant and the Catholique.

To the student of Spenser's art the most deeply interesting of the eclogues is October.) It takes the form of a dialogue between two shepherds, Cuddie and Piers, Cuddie the perfect pattern of a poet, but dejected at the contempt into which poetry has fallen, and disappointed at the worldly fortune it has brought him, and Piers, enthusiastic both for art and for his friend's achievements in it. Whether the characters are meant to portray actual persons has been disputed; but it is clear enough that they prefigure two conflicting elements in the poet's own nature;

the practical-eager for fame, and inclined to value poetry at its market price, as a means to further his worldly ambitions-and the ideal, expressed in a passion for an art which, as he had learned from his master Plato, 'was a divine gift and heavenly instinct not to bee gotten by labour and learning, but adorned with both; and poured into the witte by a certain 'Evbovoiaoμós and celestiall inspiration. Incidentally, too, the eclogue reviews the different themes of poetry, and suggests the development of Spenser's own genius, its response to the call of the heroic Muse, and its passage from the sphere of courtly panegyric to that lofty idealism in which the poet finds his truer home. It is the youthfully ardent expression of the conflict of mind, the questionings and the aspiration, which were to find fuller and freer utterance in the Faerie Queene.

But, as E. K. realizes, even more important than the contents of the Shepheardes Calender is the style in which it is composed, and the poet's attitude towards his predecessors. Spenser shows a full acquaintance with the pastorals of Greece, Italy, and France; but it is significant that though he imitates Bion and Virgil, even adapts and translates from Mantuan and Marot, he will acknowledge a debt to Chaucer alone. At a time when his contemporaries were running after foreign models, it is his ambition to be English. This reversion to Chaucer is the boldest sign of his independence. In weak imitation of Chaucer the poetry of the fifteenth century had wellnigh expired; and the reformers of versification, whilst they showed some knowledge and admiration of Chaucer, never dreamt that they could learn of him. At Cambridge, indeed, Chaucer was widely read, but Harvey, at least, would not have regarded him as a fit poetic model. In the June eclogue Spenser represents Harvey as summoning Colin to the study of more stately masters; but the

It is worth noting that Francis Beaumont, in a letter to Speght, published in Speght's edition of Chaucer (1598), writes: And here I cannot forget to remember unto you those auncient learned men of our time at Cambridge, whose diligence in reading of his (Chaucer's) works themselves and commending them to others of the younger sort, did first bring you and me in love with him and one of them at that time was and now is (as you know) one of the rarest schollers in the world.' Speght was at Peterhouse, Cambridge, from 1566 to 1573, thus overlapping with Spenser four years. Did Spenser also come under the influence of this rare scholler'? Who was he? Miss Spurgeon, Chaucer devant la critique (1911), suggests that it might well be Whitgift, who was Fellow of Peterhouse, Master of Pembroke for three months in 1567, then Master of Trinity Hall, and Regius Professor of Divinity. He was ViceChancellor in 1579. Stowe, in dedicating to him his Annals (1600), speaks of his great affection towards studies in general and to antiquities in particular. Miss Spurgeon also quotes some manuscript notes, written in books in the possession of Harvey, in which he insists on Chaucer's learning, writing in one place, 'Other commend Chaucer and Lidgate for their witt, pleasant veine, varietie of poetical discourse, and all humanitie. I specially note their Astronomie, philosophie and other parts of profound or cunning art. Wherein few of their time were more exactly learned. It is not sufficient for poets to be superficial humanists: but they must be exquisite artists and curious universal scholars. Spenser may thus have owed some of his knowledge of Chaucer to intercourse with Harvey, though his own poetic instinct would lead him to appreciate Chaucer on truer lines than Harvey.

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