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xxix. 5–9. Cf. Aen. vi. 270 :

Quale per incertam lunam sub luce maligna

est iter in silvis. xxx. 1. n'ill, ne will—wish not.

8-9. Plutarch, Life of Marcus Cato: 'The Samnites sent their Ambassadors to visite (Manius Curius) who ... presented him with a marvellous deale of gold ... But Curius returned them again with their gold and told them, that ... for his part, he thought it greater honor to command them that had gold, then to have it himself.' (Tr. North, 1579.)


In the Sixth Day of La Semaine, ou Création du Monde (1578), the Huguenot Guillaume Saluste du Bartas described the human body in an elaborate series of metaphors and similes, which Spenser elaborated still further into a disquisition on physiology. Guyon and Prince Arthur come to the rescue of the lady Alma (the soul), besieged by vices and passions in her Castle (the body), through which they are conducted.

xlvii. 2. This part. The turret of the castle, i.e. the head. Du Bartas, 1. vi. 503-4:

Mais tu logeas encore l'humain entendement

En l'estage plus haut de ce beau bastiment. 4-5. 'God created man in his own image. Genesis i. 27. There may be a reference also to the idea of man as the • microcosm', the universe in little. The head, as the highest and most honourable part of man, the seat of the intelligence, would then rightly represent heaven. Cf. Ronsard, Sonnets pour Hélène, ed. Blanchemain, 1. xxvii.

xlviii. 1-2. In Plato's Apology of Socrates, 21, Socrates says : • Chaerophon ... went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him, whether ... any one was wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered, that there was no man wiser.' (Tr. Jowett.)

4-6. that sage Pylian syre. Nestor.

5. contrive. Latin conterere (vitam), pret. contrivi, to spend (life).

8. did sundry dwell. Dwelt apart each from the others. xlix. 7. prejudize. Prejudgement.

l-li. Spenser possibly had in mind Chaucer's Hous of Fame in this description.

lii. 2. Phantastes. The Imagination, from Davracia, the imageforming faculty.

9. Săturne. "The most malign of the planets, whose influence breeds sorrow and strife; thus his astronomical 'house' is that of' agonies'.

liii. 9. wittily. In the older meaning of wit already exemplified in this passage -intellectual power.

liv. 2. A man of ripe and perfect age. The Judgement.

lv. 5. old oldman. Memory, later in the Canto called Eumnestes, ejuvñorns, well-memoried.


Book III treats of Chastity in the person of Britomart, the female knight whose character Spenser borrowed from Ariosto's Bradamante. Britomart and her lover Arthegall are the ancestors of the House of Tudor, as Bradamante and Ruggiero are of the House of Este, Ariosto's patrons. The Book centres round the forms and phases of love and the counterfeits of lust which Britomart combats. For chastity, to Spenser, is neither an ascetic negation nor a sheltered ignorance, but a positive militant virtue, the essential condition of true love, which is the fulfilment of life in honour and virtue. This passage is a myth after the manner of Plato—an appeal to the imagination in treating of matters beyond the grasp of reason.

Spenser follows the example of Ariosto as described by the critic Pigna (I Romanzi, 1554): ‘And since in such a diversity of varied professions (as the poet has to know) there can be the opinions of many philosophers, he set himself to them ; here he is Stoic, there Platonic, and on one side follows one theory, and on another, another. Conduct, rather than science or metaphysic, was Spenser's interest, his end poetry, not a system. Thus in this passage as in the Beautie Hymn the influence of Bruno might be alleged (e.g. in st. xxxvii-xxxviii), yet Spenser agrees with him only in so far as the Italian's theories coincide with others which Spenser would certainly know already. That Venus is the power of procreation is most clearly stated by Lucretius ; tħe idea of Adonis as presiding over growth was probably suggested by Macrobius (Saturnalia, I. xxi), who interprets the story of Adonis as a solar myth. The Aristotelian definition of matter and form in the Metaphysic (e.g. 1029a, 1-9) and its application to body and soul in the de Anima, ii. 1-2, the study of Lucretius, of the Phaedo of Plato, and other remains of his Cambridge training, supply the basis of thought; the form is developed from the ancient custom of growing 'gardens of Adonis' frequently mentioned by Greek writers, from the second chapter of Genesis, and from Pliny's discussion of gardens, e.g. xix. 4. 19. The description of the garden is itself in the long line of tradition from Homer (Odyssey vii) to Chaucer.

xxx. Cf. Lucretius, i. 169–71 and 205-7. xxxi. 3. Cf. Claudian, de Nuptiis Honorii et Mariae, 56–7:

Hunc aurea sepes circuit, et fulvo defendit prata metallo : and the usual representation of St. Peter with his two keys, of which' The golden opes, the iron shuts amain' (Lycidas, 111).

xxxi-xxxiji. The Tabula of Cebes, a common school-book in the sixteenth century, is drawn upon here: 'On the first circle was a gateway, near which was pictured a crowd of folk ... At the gate stood an old man, who seemed to be giving some sort of advice to the crowd which was entering ... An old man standing near us ... said, “ Know that this circle is called Life. The great crowd you see standing beside the gate are those about to journey into Life. The old man standing above the crowd holding a paper in his hand, and seeming to be showing something with the other, is called the Genius. He is giving those who are entering advice as to what they must do when they enter into Life, and he shows them the road they must take, if they wish to go unharmed through it.”' (Tr. R. T. Clark.) The alternation of life and death is set forth in the Phaedo of Plato, 70–2. 'There comes into my mind an ancient doctrine which affirms that the souls of men) go from hence into the other world, and returning hither, are born again from the dead ... We arrive at the conclusion that the living come from the dead, just as the dead come from the living; and this, if true, affords a most certain proof that the souls of the dead exist in some place out of which they come again.' (Tr. Jowett.) The omission by Spenser of any idea of purgation in the process is probably due in part to the mixture of Platonic and Lucretian theory, and partly to his avoidance of anything which might savour of Roman Catholic doctrine.

xxxiv. Genesis i. 22, 28.
9. imply. Cf. I. XI. xxiii. 5 (p. 109).
Xxxvi. Lucretius i. 1031-7.
3-5. Luc. ii. 303 :

nec rerum summam commutare ulla potcst vis. 6-9. Cf. Ovid, Met. i. 5–31.

Xxxvii. Aristotle, de Anima, ii. 2: " There is one class of existent things which we call substance, including under that term, firstly, matter which in itself is not this or that; secondly, shape or form, in virtue of which the term this or that is at once applied ; thirdly, the whole made up of matter and form. Matter is identical with potentiality, form with actuality,' &c. (Tr. Hicks.)

6-9. Lucretius i. 215-16 and 234-7.
xxxviii. Lucretius v. 828–31.
xxxix-xl. Lucretius v. 306–10.

xl. 6. spyde. A slip in copying, for saw. Spenser probably had an alternative version with this rhyme in -yde, rejected it because of its likeness to the rhymes in -ight, and confused the two in writing out the stanza.

xli-xlv. To the references already given might be added Ovid, Met. x. 90 ff. and Claudian, de Raptu Proserpinae, ii. 128 ff., 290 ff.; de Nuptiis Honorii et Mariae, 49–95.

xlii. Tasso, Gerusalemme Liberata, xvi. II.

PAGE 135. Book III, Canto XII, ST. 1-XXVII.

The scene of this adventure is the house of the enchanter Busyrane, 'where love's spoyles are exprest' (argument to Canto xi). The 'maske' is of the simple early form, the • disguising'; the allegory is after the mediaeval manner. It is an exercise of ingenuity rather than an appeal to the suprareasonable imagination, decorative rather than evocative of thought, but it has rarely been better done than by Spenser. The pseudo-Chaucerian Court of Love (especially ll. 1023-1316) and the first section of Petrarch's Trionfo d'Amore (and the wood-cuts with which many editions of the Trionfi were illustrated) were probably the most immediate sources, but the literary tradition goes back through the Romance of the Rose to Claudian and Ovid, and to Catullus and Propertius.

i. 5. She. Britomart.

ii. 1-6. Association is one of the charms of imitation, but at times a danger; in spite of incongruity one cannot avoid 1 Kings xix. 11-12 : ‘a mightie strong winde rent the mountaines, and brake the rockes ... and after the winde came an earthquake ... and after the earthquake came fyre.'

9. persevered. Four syllables, the main accent being on the second, as was usual in Spenser's time.

iii. 5-iv. In the Senecan tragedy of the sixteenth century the actions of the play were conveyed in dumb show as prologue and between the acts. 'Ease' acts the usual' presentation' or preliminary speech of the Masque.

vii. 3. that ympe of Troy. Ganymede.
5-9. Alcides. Hercules. Cf. Virgil, Ecl. vi. 43–4 :

Hylan nautae quo fonte relictum clamassent, ut litus, Hyla, Hyla, omne sonaret. x. 4. Albanese-wyse. After the manner of the Albanians.

xvii. 6. she did tosse. The rhyme demands Tost. Church conjectures' a fiërbrand she tost'.

xxii. 3. Elfe. Spenser often uses this term for his fairy knights. Here it means ' spirit'. xxii-xxiii. Cf. Marot, Le Temple de Cupido, 5–8:.

Ce jeune enfant Cupido, dieu d'aymer,
Ses yeulx bandez commanda deffermer,
Pour contempler de son throsne celeste

Tous les amants qu'il attainct et moleste. xxiii. 8: many. Train, following; from M.E. meynee, O.Fr. mesnie.

xxv. 2. names is taken as collective ; hence the singular verb. To read, to tell, as frequently in Spenser.


Though Book IV is dedicated to Friendship in the persons of Cambell and Triamond, it is mainly a continuation of the story of Britomart and Arthegall, and of the theme of Love. The ideal of Spenser is equal love and equal honour between man and woman, an ideal of simple human virtue essentially opposed to the Neoplatonic individualism so attractive to the Renaissance poets, and Spenser among them. The following passage is in the style of Malory and Ariosto: a human episode of love and fighting, a manifestation of the power of love and beauty, with no special allegorical significance behind it. Cf. Orlando Furioso, xlv. 70 ff.; Morte Darthur, x. V; XII. vii-viii ; and especially iv. xviii.

i. Scudamour mourns the loss of his lady Amoret, who is under the protection of Britomart. His ' misconceipt' (ii. 4) lies in his ignorance of Britomart's sex.

9. Dan Phebus. God of Healing; cf. Chaucer, Hous of Fame, 132, ‘ daun Cupido'. Dan is a contraction of dominus, lord.

ii. 8. them. i.e. Scudamour and his Squire. vi. 1. Honi soit qui mal y pense.

4. hebene spear. Britomart had a magic spear which none could withstand; it is copied from Bradamante's, which was, however, of gold, not of ebony. See Book III. i. 9–10.

XXV. I. Glaucé. Britomart's nurse, an old woman Gdavkń, gray), who acts as her squire. She signifies Prudence attending on Chastity.

xxvi. 4-6. The appearance to Britomart of her predestined husband in the magic mirror of Merlin is described in Book III. ii. 17-27.

xxvi. 9. enhaunced. Literally, uplifted.

xxviii. 3. that Hag. Até, Discord, the opposite of Friendship, who had bred the strife by which Scudamour and Amoret were separated.

xxxiv. 5. Sir. Britomart being dressed and armed like a knight, Scudamour is uncertain in his manner of address.

Xxxviii. 2. sight. Appearance; so also in vii. vii. 40.

xli. 3. unto à bay. A hunting metaphor—at bay (cf. Fr. aux abois).


In this Book Arthegall represents Justice, and, in the political allegory, Arthur, Lord Grey of Wilton, Lord Deputy in Ireland, 1580-2, as whose secretary Spenser went to Ireland; Talus the Iron Man stands for the civil power, the executive force of Justice. Here Spenser's imagination creates a dramatic image to convey his abstract thought on 'distributive' justice. (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, ii. 6-9; v. 3). There is a

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