« PreviousContinue »
theological as well as a temperamental basis for his aristocratic conservatism ; the Giant arrogates to himself the power of God, 'who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.' (Isaiah xl. 12.)
XXX. I. they. Arthegall and Talus.
3. ballance: occasionally used as a plural in the sixteenth century.
Xxxvi. 1-4. Cf. Boethius, de Consolatione Philosophiae, i. metrum v, and IV. metrum vi.
5. in pound. By weight. Lat. pondo.
xli. 1-8. I Samuel ii. 3, 6–7: 'Speake no more presumptuously ; let not arrogancie come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him enterprises are established. The Lord killeth and maketh alive : bringeth down to the grave, and raiseth up. The Lord maketh poore and maketh rich : bringeth low, and exalteth.'
9. Job xli. II: Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine'; and xlii. 2 : 'I knowe that thou canst do all things.'
xlii. 5-xliii. 2 Esdras iv. 5-11: 'Go thy way: weigh me the weight of the fyre, or measure me the blast of the winde, or call me againe the daye that is past ... But now have I asked thee but of fire and winde, and of the day whereby thou hast passed, and from the which things thou canst not be separated, and yet canst thou give me none answer of them . . . Thine owne things, and such as are growne up with thee, canst thou not knowe. How shulde thy vessel then be able to comprehend the wayes of the Hiest?'
xlix. 5. the meane. Referring to the Aristotelian view of justice as that which lies midway between extremes of excess and defect.
liv. In hawking at the brook' the hawk was trained to soar high and 'stoop' at waterfowl 'flushed' by its master or by dogs.
PAGE 162. BOOK VI, CANTO X, ST. V-XXVIII.
The pastoral lingered in Spenser's imagination all his life : not only by habit of the common Virgilian figure of the poet as shepherd, but in the spirit of Boccaccio's commendation of rural quiet and simplicity: 'ob meditationis commodum solitudines incoluere poetae' (de Gen. Deor. Gent. xiv. II). In the following passage, besides the general idea of active life breaking in on the happy peace of the scholar-poet, Spenser probably reflects on his own translation from Kent to Ireland.
Sir Calidore (Courtesy, and perhaps a reminiscence of Sir Philip Sidney) falls in love with the shepherdess Pastorella, and, leaving his quest of the Blatant Beast (Detraction), lives
pleasantly with the shepherd folk ; for the courteous man is at ease in company of gentle or simple.
V. I. he. Calidore.
vi-viii. The haunt of the Graces, though perhaps suggesting the hills north of Kilcolman, recalls the bright dancing-places and beautiful homes' of the Muses,a little way from the topmost peak of snowy Olympus' (Hesiod, Theogony, 61-3), and many descriptions, as Ovid's (Met. x. 86-100):
Collis erat, collemque super planissima campi
area : quam viridem faciebant graminis herbae, &c. ; and Claudian's (de R. P. ii. 101-4):
Curvata tumore parvo planities, et mollibus edita clivis creverat in collem ; vivo de pumice fontes
roscida mollibus lambebant gramina rivis ... vi. 7-9. Parlement of Foules, 323-4:
the foules of ravyne Were hyest set, and than the foules smale. viii. 9. Acidale. Spenser knew well that' Acidale' was the name of the Graces' fountain (see Epith. 310), but the name here has some significance. Boccaccio, following a hint from Servius, derives the name of the fountain from 'akida, quidem Graeca, latine cura sonat, qua plurimam infestantur amantes '; but Spenser seems to have in mind the word aknons, free from care, applied to the Muses by Hesiod in the passage referred to above.
ix. 6. Cytheron. Mediaeval confusion of Mount Cithaeron and Venus's island Cythera. See Chaucer, Knight's Tale, 1078.
xiii. 1. the crowne. Ovid, Met. viii, 152-82.
5. The battle of the Centaurs and the Lapithae took place at the wedding of Perithous and Hippodamia : Spenser did not consider himself bound to give the accepted, or any known version of the pagan myths.
xxi. 2. shepheard. Calidore had exchanged his knightly attire for that of a shepherd.
xxii. 5. Æacidee. Aeacides, i.e. Peleus, son of Aeacus. These two lines are Spenser's own addition to the story.
xxiii-xxiv. The Graces. Their names and parentage are given by Hesiod, Theogony, 907–11. Cf. Servius in Aen. i. 724 'Gratiae ... quas Veneri constat esse sacratas ... nudae sunt, quod gratiae sine fuco esse debent ... Quod vero una aversa pingitur, duae nos respicientes, haec ratio est: quia profecta a nobis gratia, duplex solet reverti.' Spenser reverses this last statement in accordance with Christian courtesy, and raises the whole myth to a higher level; e.g. in comparison with Seneca (de Beneficiis, i. 3).
xxvi. s. daughter of the day. Hesperus, i.e. Venus as an evening star; or perhaps the moon, from Horace, Odes i. 13. 47-8.
PAGE 168. BOOK VII, CANTO VII, ST. XXVIII-XLIII.
The fragment of Book VII, consisting of Cantos vi and vii and two stanzas of Canto viii, was first published in the Folio of 1609 under the heading 'Two Cantos of Mutabilitie; which, both for Forme and Matter, appeare to be parcell of some following Booke of the Faerie Queene, under the Legend of Constancie'. The following passage occurs in a mythological discussion of Mutability as an illustration of the series of changes wrought by time, and is purely decorative, not allegorical per se. For the symbols and occupations of the months as depicted in mediaeval Calendars and Books of Hours, and comparison of this passage, see Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, Vol. II, chap. vii, $$ 52–3.
xxxii. 3. First ... March. The official year began on Lady Day, March 25th, until 1753, but January ist began the year in popular usage, for which reason The Shepheardes Calender begins with January. E. K. discusses the point in his 'General Argument'.
4-5. Ram. The Ram with the golden fleece.
XXXV. 2. a Player. Collier suggests a reference to Robert Laneham's Letter (ed. Furnivall, p. 14): 'Oout of the woods ... came thear foorth Hombre Salvagio ... forgrone (over-grown) all in moss and ivy.' Cf. note to Shep. Cal., Apr., 300.
9. This has been interpreted as a sign of Spenser's objection to some of the later developments of Puritanism : it may be simply a general reference to hypocrisy.
xxxvi. 6. th'Amphytrionide. Hercules, reputed son of Amphytrion.
Xxxvii. 6. the righteous Virgin. Astraea. 9. extold. In the literal sense of Lat. ex-tollcre, to take up.
xxxix. 2. his noule, &c. A reminiscence of Chaucer, Reve's Tale, 333 :
My hede is totty of my swink tonight. xl. 8. Centaure. Sagittarius, the archer, usually so represented.
xli. 7. The Idæan maid. Amalthea; see Ovid, Fasti v. 115 ff.
xlii. 3. quell, kill; intransitive use of the verb, as meaning die. xliii. 3. fishes for the season fitting. For the beginning of Lent. PAGE 173. LETTERS TO GABRIEL HARVEY.
Dated 5 Oct. 1579, and 'Quarto Nonas Aprilis' (2nd April) 1580 respectively, and published in separate pamphlets in 1580 along with Harvey's replies. Reprinted here from Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith.
At the time of these letters Spenser is in the household of the Earl of Leicester, and is about to publish The Shepheardes Calender, of the wisdom of which venture he is in doubt.
PAGE 173. 15. their noble eares, i.e. the ears of the Earl of Leicester and his nephew Sir Philip Sidney.
19. a private Personage. “Rosalind', the lady of The Shepheardes Calender.
PAGE 174. 21. Master Dyer. Edward Dyer (1545?-1607), courtier and poet, protégé of Leicester and friend of Sidney.
26. åpelo tayo. Mars' Hill' (Acts xvii. 22), the highest judicial court of ancient Athens. There was not, apparently, any formal literary association called the Areopagus, but these young men, living in the same circle, and all keenly interested in poetry, would naturally meet to discuss literary and other subjects, as Bruno describes in his Ash-Wednesday Supper (Cena de le Cenere, 1583), and they may have been pleased to liken their meetings to those which are the framework of many of their favourite books, for instance, Bembo's Asolani, and Castiglione's Cortegiano.
33. The Schoole of Abuse. By Stephen Gosson, 1579; an invective against poets and players, remembered chiefly as having provoked Sidney's Apologie for Poetrie.
PAGE 175. 3. Slomber. A Senights Slomber is mentioned as extant though unpublished by Ponsonby, the publisher, in his preface to Complaints.
8. cum Aschamo. See Scholemaster, ed. Arber, p. 144 ff.
It appears from this passage that it was Sidney, not Harvey as is usually stated, who turned Spenser to quantitative verse.
19. Epithalamion Thamesis. Not extant as a separate poem, but probably a first sketch of F. Q. IV. xi.
32. O Tite, &c. The opening of Cicero's dialogue de Senectute. 34. Dying Pellicane. Another lost poem. PAGE 176. LETTER TO RALEIGH.
Appended to some copies of the first edition of The Faerie Queene, 1590; prefixed to the edition of 1609.
PAGE 177. Io. twelve private morall vertues. Aristotle gives no list of twelve; the number is dictated by the convention that an epic or heroic poem should consist of twelve books, on the model of the Aeneid.
22. Xenophon. The reference is to the Cyropaedia, 'The Education of Cyrus', as compared with the Republic of Plato.
PAGE 178. 12. magnificence. “Magnanimity'; Aristotle's Megalopuxia.
26. thë Methode of a Poet historical. This commonplace of Renaissance criticism goes back to Horace, Ars Poetica, 146–52. The contrast with the historian is made most clearly by Ronsard, in his preface to La Franciade, 1572.
36. Annuall feaste. Probably modelled on the feast which King Arthur held each year at Pentecost.
Date. In modern style, 1590. See note to F. Q. VII. vii. xxxii.
This glossary includes only such words as do not appear in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. References to The Faerie Queene are given in figures only, thus : 1. ii. 3 means Faerie Queene, Book I, Canto ii, stanza 3. The Month alone stands for the Shepheardes Calender, thus : Apr., Oct. Abrayd (iv. vi. 24): to start, usually from sleep or a swoon. O.E.
a+bregdan. The false present abray (vi. vi. 36) is of Spenser's
own invention. Adaw (IV. vi. 26): to subdue, daunt. First used by sixteenth
century archaists, probably mistaking the M.E. idiom to do
adawe: to do out of life. Æmuling (C. C. 72): emulating ; a Spenserian form. Algates (iv. vi. 13): altogether (in this case). Aread (1. Int. 1): advise, counsel. O.E. arædan. Assoyle (VII. vii. 38): literally, to absolve: a loose Spenserian
usage. Attone (v. ii. 48): at once ; more usually, attones. Aventring (iv. vi. 11); couching, laying in rest. Etym. obscure,
but possible Fr. atventre. Avizeful (iv. vi. 26) : comprehending. Fr. aviser+ful. Baid (R. T. 215) : bayed, barked at. Bases (VI. x. 8): running games, e.g. bidding base, Oct. 5, q.v. Behight (Apr. 120) :. called, named. be+hight. Behot (iv. vi. 38) : past tense of behight (O.E. behatan) to promise.
(1. xi. 38): hold out hope of. Bel-accoyle (iv. vi. 25): fair greeting. O.Fr. Belgards (Hymne, 256): fair looks. Ital. bel guardo. Bland (Hymne, 171): flatter, deceive. O.Fr. blandir. A by-form
of blandish. Bordrags (C. C. 315): raids. Possibly a corruption of some Irish
word. Boughtes (1. xi. 11): coils. Parallel to bight by assimilation with bow. Breem (vii. vii. 40) : stormy, fierce. M.E. Cantion (Oct. 133) : a song. Lat. cantion-em; cf. Fr. chanson. Capuccio (111. xii. 10): a hood. Ital. Chauffed (i. xi. 15, &c.): chafed, heated, fuming. Fr. chauffer, to heat. Cherry (vi. x. 22): Fr. chérir, or an abbreviation of cherish. Chynd (iv. vi. 13): cut or broke the back (chine) of; clove. O.E.
ci nan ; cf. Fr. échiner. Cond (C. C. 74): knew. Past tense of ken : 0.E. cunnan, to know. Counterpeizé (v. ii. 46) : counterpoise. See peize. Croud (Ep. 131): an early form of fiddle. " The name is probably
Celtic. Damnifye (1. xi. 52): injure. O.Fr. damnifier, from Lat. damnum.