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often been ridiculed. He followed Ascham in his contempt for the rude and beggarly habit of rhyming'; and at a time when contemporary poetry had not yet justified itself, made an attempt to impose classical prosody upon English verse. In this he tried to influence his younger friend, but without any success; for it was not till later, when Spenser came under the spell of Sidney, that he wavered, even momentarily, from following the true bent of his own genius. As to style, Harvey had the taste typical of the Renaissance scholar. Phrases like a rarenes of poetic invention', 'lively Hyperbolicall Amplifications', ' rare, queint, and odde in every point, above the reache of a common schollers capacitie', to be met with in his criticism of Spenser's early and unpublished work, sufficiently indicate that side of Spenser which he was able to appreciate, and also that style which both in his prose and verse he himself attempted to achieve. Like many another minor poet, he thought too well of his own compositions, and the fact that they were written upon a scholastic theory tended only to harden his heart. Naturally, then, he was disappointed with the Shepheardes Calender, and tried to turn his friend from the composition of the Faerie Queene. The obtuseness of his judgement on the 'parcels' of Spenser's masterpiece which were submitted to his criticism is often quoted as his final condemnation. But we do not know what those parcels contained, or whether their contents were in a tentative or in their final form ; and in any case this poem, with its interweaving of classic myth and barbaric English legend, and a diction that abounds in archaisms both genuine and spurious, was not inaptly described by an avowed Humanist in his famous phrase, Hobgoblin runne away with the garland from Apollo.' And this was his final protest. For when, some ten years later, the first three books were published, he made the amende honorable in a charming poem of welcome to the new venture. In his own day he was accused of vanity in publishing his correspondence with Spenser; yet it is vanity with a difference. Pride in his pupil is perhaps the most pardonable form of vanity in a scholar; and it should not be forgotten, that if these letters reveal an intimacy on which Harvey may well have congratulated himself, they reveal the fact, less pleasing to him, that the triumphs of the pupil had been won in defiance of the literary principles of the master.1 There can be no doubt that Harvey was both a loyal and a valued friend of Spenser's, that he took the keenest interest in his career, and introduced him to those who were best able to further it; and, if he gave him bad advice on literary matters, in all else he was a sound and judicious counsellor. Spenser at least recognized it. Years later he delighted to refer to Harvey as his entire friend', and there is no reason to believe that his opinion ever changed, or that his love was thrown away. This friend

1 It is worth noting, too, that however wrong in principle, Harvey makes many sound and acute remarks on English quantity; and, in fact, practised the reformed versifying with more success than Spenser.

ship, so long and so loyally maintained with a man whose bitter tongue and cantankerous spirit had alienated many, and who certainly lacked that refinement of temper and sensibility which Spenser always prized, bears witness to his own sweetness of disposition and to the generous tolerance of his mind.

In 1576 Spenser obtained the degree of M.A. and left Cambridge for the society of his Lancashire kinsfolk. Whether this was his first visit to the North, or the renewal of an earlier acquaintance, it is not possible to determine. Some critics have thought that much of his boyhood was spent there, and have read as literal autobiography the account of Colin's youth in the December Eclogue of the Shepheardes Calender. But much of that poem is closely adapted from Clement Marot, and even if the rest recalls the actual pursuits of his own boyhood, there is no local colour which might not have been drawn from the country that lay at the gates of London. His familiarity with the dialect of the North, obvious in the Shepheardes Calender and not unmarked even in the Faerie Queene, could well be attributed in part to his residence there in 1576, in part to the influence of his parents and his schoolmaster, who must have retained, as Northerners do to-day, some traces of the pronunciation and vocabulary of their early home. Of his occupation at this time we only know that he fell in love with a lady whose identity he veils under the name of Rosalind in the Shepheardes Calender. Grosart has triumphantly identified her with one Rose Dinely, but the name, even if correct, is only a label. Other evidence suggests that she was a woman of good family and high spirits, who appreciated the wit and fancy of him whom she styled her Segnior Pegaso ',1 but preferred his rival for a husband. Others have questioned the sincerity of Spenser's love, and regarded his allusion to it as mere literary convention. The controversy on the emotional element in the love poetry of the Elizabethan age, conducted for the most part by critics who are not poets, is now become a trifle wearisome. It must readily be admitted on the one hand that much amorous verse was avowedly conventional and ideal, and that Spenser was quite poet enough to feign a passion, even if he never had one. On the other hand, it is obvious that love poetry only became a convention because it corresponded with a universal reality, that few men pass through early manhood without some experience of its depths and of its shallows, and that Spenser, like all poets and lovers of beauty, was by temperament peculiarly susceptible. It was his habit of mind so to rarefy and idealize his personal experience that it gained a permanent shrine in his thought and in his art, and the frame of poetic 'convention' encloses many of the pictures of his own life that are scattered about his verse. Human probability is all on the side of the sincerity of his attachment.

1 Familiar Letters, infra, p. 625.

This love remained an integral part of his imaginative experience far on into his life, and Rosalind is alluded to with chivalrous devotion in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe. Love is not the only emotion that gains an added beauty when it has become a memory. But whatever the depth of his feeling for Rosalind, and it would be surprising if it were not deep, it did not save him from the dangers and the delights of falling under other spells. The cautious Harvey had soon reason to warn him of the seductions of another 'Rosalindula', perhaps some lady of the court.

For Spenser did not remain long in Lancashire. Possibly in 1577, certainly in 1578, he was in London. Gabriel Harvey had not forgotten him, and had been the means of introducing him to Sidney and Leicester.. It seems highly probable that Leicester employed him as a private messenger to friends at a distance, and that in this capacity he paid his first visit, in 1577, to Ireland, where Leicester's father-in-law, Sir Henry Sidney, was then Governor-General.2 But the greater part of his time seems to have been divided between the houses of Sidney and Leicester at Penshurst and in London.

For one of Spenser's temper and convictions no other introduction could have been so happy. To Leicester he looked up as the recognized political leader of the Puritan faction, the powerful favourite of Elizabeth, who had not yet lost hope that a marriage with the Queen might set the seal upon his fortunes; to Sir Philip Sidney he was soon bound by a closer tie than that of patron and protégé. Though still a young man, Sidney was commonly regarded as the most brilliant figure at that brilliant court. His handsome bearing and his martial courage, his learning and accomplishments, his inflexible uprightness and gravity of demeanour had spread his reputation throughout Europe; and by his countrymen he was proudly recognized as the ideal courtier. Moreover, he was a serious politician. An earnest Protestant, he saw in Roman Catholicism the greatest danger to his country's liberty, and he was persistent in urging upon Elizabeth, against the inaction advocated by Burghley, a bold attack upon the power of Spain. Spenser accepted Sidney's political ideals without reserve, and time only strengthened their hold upon him. In other matters too his sympathy with Sidney was close. The Puritanism of both men was deeply tinged with Platonic mysticism; both set themselves to adapt to modern life the ideals of mediaeval chivalry, and saw in the romance of bygone days a symbol not without inspiration for the battles they had themselves to fight. The soul that was stirred like a trumpet by the rude ballad of Chevy Chase, and later found both delight and intimate expression in Arcadia, had much akin with the poet of the Faerie Queene. In judgements upon art they were not entirely in accord. Sidney, as the less exuberant poetic genius, was more subservient to

1 11. 926-51


Spenser's Faerie Queene, ed. J. C. Smith, p. x.

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 broken 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.

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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

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