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first words of the first eclogue, Fauste, precor, gelidâ, were dearer to pedants than Virgil's Arma virumque cano. Shakespeare, accordingly, in “Love's Labour's Lost," * made his pedant schoolmaster, Holofernes, show his erudition with “ • Fauste, precor, gelidâ quando pecus omne sub umbrâ Ruminat, and so forth. “Ah, good old Mantuan ! I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice,
• Venetia, Venetia,
Chi non ti vede, non ti pretia.' Old Mantuan! old Mantuan ! Who understandeth thee not, loves thee not.
Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa.” Turbervile's translation was entitled “ The Eglogs of the Poet B. Mantuan Carmelitan, Turned into English Verse, and set forth with the Argument to euery Egloge by George Turbervile Gent. Anno 1567. Imprinted at London in Pater noster Rowe at the signe of the Marmayde, by Henrie Bynneman.”
The Arguments are in Alexandrine couplets, divided into four lines; the translation is into divided septenars, sometimes alternating with lines of eight accents that also are divided; and here also the occasional splitting of a word—as “Moy-” at the end of one line and “-ses” at the beginning of the next-indicates that the verse was formed in the old popular measure, which was only on its way to reconstruction. The reconstruction is for the first time complete in Spenser's July eclogue, which was written in short lines formed by division of the septenar, with the sense fitted so perfectly to the new form of the measure that there is no trace to be found of a rough breakage. Turbervile's Arguments to Mantuan's eclogues are in the form resembling that which Spenser afterwards used in Arguments to cantos of “ The Faerie Queene.” They are of differing length, but several of them are in four lines, as in the third
* Act iv., sc. 2.
“ The Tylman's wearye toyle
and troublous life he splays, And lost Amyntas' cruell foyle
by franticke Love bewrayes.”
There are but four lines each in the Arguments to the sixth, seventh, and ninth eclogues. This is the Argument before the ninth
“ Here Faustus, having truly tryde
the nature of the Roman grounde, The vileness of the soil and shep
herds' filthy manners doth expound.”
Of Mantuan's ten eclogues, the first–between Faustus and Fortunatus-describes the state of an honest shepherd who seeks and who wins his chosen shepherdess for wife. In the second, Fortunatus tells Faustus of the insane passion of Amyntas, and the third tells of its miserable end. The fourth eclogue, between Alphus and Janus, is on the Nature of Women, and contains just such a recital as that with which her husband, Jankin, broke the patience of the Wife of Bath. The fifth of Mantuan's eclogues, between Sylvanus and Candidus, is on the Ways of the Rich towards Poets, which was expanded, as we have seen, by Alexander Barclay.* It includes a passage on the Court of Rome, which Turbervile translates into these lines
* “E. W." vii. 105.
Its trifles, Rome receives the golde
And woords for ware doth lende.
At Rome doth money raigne,
Exylde she bydes the paine."
The sixth eclogue, between Cornix and Fulica, is that de disceptatione Rusticorum et Civium, on which Barclay founded his fifth eclogue of “The Cytezen and the Vplondyshman”;* the seventh, between Alphus and Galbula, was of the turning of the young towards Religion. The eighth eclogue, between Candidus and Alphus, compares life on the hills and on the plains, and sets forth the religion of the shepherds, with their simple worship of the Virgin ; the ninth, between Faustulus and Candidus, is on the evil customs of the Court of Rome; the tenth figures disputes among Franciscan Friars, Observantists and Conventuals—the strict and the lax.
In fashioning the music of “The Shepheardes Calender,” Spenser wrote as a young poet versed in books,not less familiar with the Idylls of Theocritus and Bion and the Bucolics of Virgil than with the eclogues
Spenser's of Mantuan and Marot. But he took his own way, though his “Calendar”ť abundantly received the influence of predecessors on its matter and its style. In the first place, there were to be twelve eclogues, corresponding to the twelve months of the year. Colin Clout, upon a sunny day in January, finds winter's rage within his heart, and sees the tear-drops on the naked trees. Cuddy complains of the keen cold in February, and argument springs
* "E. W.” vii. 105-108.
+ Spenser wrote Calender. The modern spelling, etymologically right, is Calendar, from“ Calendarium,” in which were noted the Calends, or Kalends. A Calender is a machine for smoothing clo:h, an I when used in this sense the word is allied to cylinder.
then between youth and age from his complaint that flowering youth is foe to frost. In March, love-talk arises to allay "the bitter blast " of the March winds—
“For Winter's wrath begins to quell
And pleasant Spring appeareth ;
And cloudy welkin cleareth."
The April eclogue opens with a shepherd's tears, and the suggestion of eyes attempered to the year, for the tears come “like April showers." “ The merry month of May” suggests young shepherds pleasant with the gladness of the season ; while the old men's talk of Maying leads to argument against forsaking duty for the pleasures of the world. And so, throughout, the changing seasons are associated with the verse until mournful November suggests grief for the dead ; and in December the whole round is closed with a comparison between the changing seasons and the course of life. In this way Spenser gave oneness to the series of eclogues. They dealt with life as mirrored in the speech of shepherds who were subject, like life, to the changes of
Next we may note that Spenser's Eclogues are not in
The young poet tried his skill in them upon a dozen or more forms of verse, even including, in the August eclogue, a sestina or sixtine* ("Ye wasteful woods," &c.), and he knew how to make each reed in his pipe speak music.
Probably, some parts of the Calendar were independent pieces, written by Spenser in college days as exercises in his art, and woven afterwards into the texture of “The Shepheardes Calender.” The song in praise of Queen Elizabeth, the fable of The Oak and the Brere, for example, may have been thus written before “The
* "E. W.” iv. 163, 164.
Shepheardes Calender” was planned. Spenser looked back with reverence to Chaucer as the Master Poet, and studied his simplicity of speech. The Oak and the Brere may have been at first chiefly an exercise in writing, as Chaucer wrote, with homely words, well weighed. This reverence for Chaucer—Tityrus—is declared in Spenser's first work, and in his later life we shall see how reverently he built a shrine for Chaucer in “The Faerie Queene.” When, in the February eclogue, Thenot asks of Cuddy
6 shall I tell thee a tale of truth Which I cond of Tityrus in my youth,
Keeping his sheep on the hills of Kent ?" Cuddy replies
“ To none more, Thenot, my mind is bent
Than to hear novels of his devise :
They ben so well thewéd and so wise
In the June eclogue, Colin laments the death of Tityrus, from whom he learnt how to write such verse as he can. To
make was the old word for writing poems
“ The God of Shepherds, Tityrus is dead,
Who taught me homely, as I can, to make :
Of shepherds all that ben with love ytake."
“ Now dead he is, and lieth wrapt in lead,
O why should Death on him such outrage show,-
The fame whereof doth daily greater grow.
But if on me some little drops would flow
I soon would learn these woods to wail my woe,
* The structure of this eight-lined stanza illustrates what I have said of the variety of measure in “The Shepherd's Calendar.” It is the