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(1861 - 1891)

Summary of Book First

The Elizabethan Poetry, as it is rather vaguely termed, forms the substance of this Book, which contains pieces from Wyat under Henry VIII to Shakespeare midway through the reign of James I, and Drummond who carried on the early manner to a still later period. There is here a wide range of style ;—from simplicity expressed in a language hardly

yet broken-in to verse,-through the pastoral fancies and Italian conceits of the strictly Elizabethan time,-to the passionate reality of Shakespeare : yet a general uniformity of tone prevails. Few readers can fail to observe the natural sweetness of the verse, the single-hearted straightforwardness of the thoughts :-nor less, the limitation of subject to the many phases of one passion, which then characterized our lyrical poetry,-unless when, as in especial with Shakespeare, the

purple light of Love' is tempered by a spirit of sterner reflection. For the didactic verse of the century, although lyrical in form, yet very rarely rises to the pervading emotion, the golden cadence, proper to the lyric.

It should be observed that this and the following Summaries apply in the main to the Collectiou here presented, in which (besides its restriction to Lyrical Poetry) a strictly representative or historical Anthology has not been aimed at.

Great excellence, in human art as in human character, has from the beginning of things been even more uiform than mediocrity, by virtue of the closeness of its approach to Nature :-and so far as the standard of Excellence kept in view has been attained in this volume, a comparative absence of extreme or temporary phases in style, a similarity of tone and manner, will be found throughout :--something neither modern nor arcient, but true and speaking to the heart of man alike throughout all ages.

2 3 whist: hushed, quieted.

4 Rouse Memnon's mother : Awaken the Dawn from the

dark Earth and the clouds where she is resting. This is one of that limited class of early mythes which may be reasonably interpreted as representations of natural phenomena. Aurora in the old mythology is mother of Memnon (the East), and wife of Tithonus (the appearances of Earth and Sky during the last hours of Night). She leaves him every morning in renewed youth, to prepare the way for Phoebus (the Sun), whilst Tithonus remains in perpetual old age

and grayness. 3 1. 23 by Peneus' stream : Phoebus loved the Nymph

Daphne whom he met by the river Peneus in the vale of Tenipe. 1.. 27 Amphion's lyre : He was said to have built the walls of Thebes to the sound of his music. L. 35 Night like a drunkard reels : Compare Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene 3: The grey-eyed morn smiles,' &c.-It should be added that three lines, which appeared hopelessly misprinted, have

been omitted in this Poem. 4 6 Time's chest : in which he is figuratively sup

posed to lay up past treasures. So in Troilus, Act III, Scene 3, Time hath a

at his back' &c. In the Arcadia, chest is used to signify

tomb. 5 7 A fine example of the highwrought and conventional

Elizabethan Pastoralism, which it would be unreasonable to criticize on the ground of the unshepherdlike or unreal character of some images suggested. Stanza 6 was perhaps inserted by Izaak

Walton. 6 8 This beautiful lyric is one of several recovered from

the very rare Elizabethau Song-books, for the publi. cation of which our thanks are due to Mr. A. H.

Bullen (1887, 1888). 8 12 One stanza has been here omitted, in accordance

with the principle noticed in the Preface. Similar omissions occur in a few other poems. The more serious abbreviation by which it has been attempted to bring Crashaw's 'Wishes' and Shelley's 'Euganean Hills,' with one or two more, within the scheme of this selection, is commended with much diffidence to the judgment of readers acquainted with the

original pieces. 9 13 Sidney's poetry is singularly unequal ; his short life,

his frequent absorption in public employment, hindered doubtless the development of his genius. His great contemporary fame, second only, it appears, to Spenser's, has been hence obscured. At times he is heavy and even prosaic; his simplicity is rude and bare ; his verse unmelodious. These, however, are the 'defects of his merits.' In


a certain depth and chivalry of feeling,-in the rare and noble quality of disinterestedness (to put it in one word), -he has no superior, hardly perhaps an equal, amongst our Poets; and after or beside Shakespeare's Sonnets, his Astrophel and Stella, in the Editor's judgment, offers the most intense and powerful picture of the passion of love in the whole range of our poetry.-Hundreds of years: The very rapture of love,' says Mr. Ruskin ; 'A lover like this does not believe his mistress can grow old

or die.' 12 19 Readers who have visited Italy will be reminded of

more than one picture hy this gorgeous Vision of
Beauty, equally sublime and pure in its Paradisaical
naturalness. Lodge wrote it on a voyage to the
Islands of Terceras and the Canaries ;' and he
seems to have caught, in those southern seas, no
small portion of the qualities which marked the
almost contemporary Art of Venice,-the glory and
the glow of Veronese, Titian, or Tintoret.- From the
sarne romance is No. 71: a charming picture in the
purest style of the later Italian Renaissance.
The clear (1. 1) is the crystalline or outermost
heaven of the old cosmography. For a fair there's
fairer none: If you desire a Beauty, there is nono

more beautiful than Rosaline. 14 22 Another gracious lyric from an Elizabethan Song.

book, first reprinted (it is believed) in Mr. W.

J. Linton's 'Rare Poems,' in 1883. 15 23 that fair thou ovest : that beauty thou ownest. 16 25 From one of the three Song-books of T. Campion,

who appears to have been author of the words which he set to music. His merit as a lyrical poet (recognized in his own time, but since then forgotten) has been again brought to light by Mr. Bullen's taste and research : swerving (st. 2) is his

conjecture for changing in the text of 1601. 20 31 the star Whose worth's unknown although his height

be taken : apparently, Whose stellar influence is uncalculated, although his angular altitude from the plane of the astrolabe or artificial horizon nised by

astrologers has been determined. 20 32 This lovely song appears, as here given, in Putten

bam's Artc of English Poesie,' 1589. A longer and inferior form was published in the Arcadia' of 1590 ; but Puttenham's prefatory words clearly assign

his version to Sidney's own authorship. 23 37 keel : keep cooler by stirring round. 24 39 expense : loss.

40 prease : press. 25 41 Nativity, once in the ranin of light : when a star has

risen and entered on the full stream of light ;another of the astrological phrases no longer familiar.


Crooked eclipses: as coming athwart the Sun's
apparent course.
Wordsworth, thinking probably of tue' Venus' and
the 'Lucrece,' said finely of Shakespeare: 'Shake-
speare could not have written an Epic; he would
have died of plethora of thought.' This prodigality
of nature is exemplified equally in his Sonnets. The
copious selection here given (which from the wealth
of the material, required greater consideration than
any other portion of the Editor's task),-contains
inany that will not be fully felt and understood with-
out some earnestness of thought on the reader's part.

But he is not likely to regret the labour. 26 42 upon misprision growing : either, granted in error,

or, on the growth of contempt. 43 With the tone of this Sonnet compare Hamlet's

'Give me that man That is not passion's slave' &c. Shakespeare's writings show the deepest sensitiveness to passion :-hence the attraction he felt in the

contrasting effects of apathy. 26 44

grame : sorrow, Renaissance influences long impeded the return of English poets to the charming

realism of this and a few other poems by Wyat. 28 45 Pandion in the ancient fable was father to

Philomela. 29 47 In the old legend it is now Philomela, now Procne

(the swallow) who suffers violence from 'Tereus. This song has a fascination in its calm intensity of passion; that 'sad earnestness and vivid exactness' which Cardinal Newman ascribes to the

master pieces of ancieut poetry. 31 50 proved : approved.

51 censures : judges.
52 Exquisite in its equably-balanced metrical flow.
53 Judging by its style, this beautiful example of old

simplicity and feeling may, perhaps, be referred to

the earlier years of Elizabeth. Late forgot : lately. 35 57 Printed in a little Anthology by Nicholas Breton,

1597. It is, however, a stronger and finer piece of work than any known to be his. -St. 1 silly : simple ; dole: grief; chief: chiefly. St. 3 If there be obscure : Perhaps, if there be any who speak harshly of thee, thy pain may plead for pity from Fate. This poem, with 60 and 143, are each graceful

variations of a long popular theme. 36 58 That busy archer : Cupid. Descries : used actively;

points out.-' The last line of this poem is a little obscured by transposition. He means, Do they call

ungratejulness there a virtue ?' (C. Lamb). 37 59 White lope: suggested, Mr. Bullen notes, by a

passage in Propertius (iii, 20) describing Spirits in the lower world :

Vobiscum est Iope, vobiscum candida Tyro.

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