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A thing for one, a thing for moe,

A Vision upon the Fairy Queen. And he that prooves shall find it so,

Methought I saw the grave, where Laura lay And, Shepheard, this is Love I trow.

Within that temple, where the vestal flame Was wont to burn; and, passing by that way,

To see that buried; dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love, and fairer Virtue kept:

All suddenly I saw the Fairy Queen;
The silent Lover.

At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept, Passions are likened best to floods and streames;

And, from thenceforth, those Graces were not

seen; The shallow murmur, but the deepe are dumb. So, when affections yield discourse, it seems

For they this Queen attended; in whose stead The bottom is but shallow whence they come: Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,

Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse; They that are rich in words must needs discover,

And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did They are but poor in that which makes a lover.

pierce: Wrong not, sweet mistresse of my heart,

Where Homer's spright did tremble all for grief,

And curs'd the access of that celestial thief! The conquest of thy beautie, With thinking that he feels no smart,

Who sues for no compassion!

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Edmund Spenser, der erste grosse epische Dichter der Engländer, ward zu London, wahrscheinlich im Jahre 1553 geboren. Er studirte in Cambridge, verliess aber diese Universität bald wieder und widmete sich nun poetischen Leistungen. Seine erste Arbeit war “The Shepherds Calendar;" sie erwarb ihm die Gunst des Sir Philipp Sidney und der Königin Elisabeth, doch war ihm der Erstere förderlicher als die Monarchin, da ihm hier der alte Staatsmann Burleigh, der überhaupt keine Dichter leiden konnte, stets im Wege stand. Nachdem er eine zeitlang in ländlicher Zurückgezogenheit gelebt, begab er sich wieder nach London und begleitete dann den Grafen Leicester als Secretair nach Irland. Hier erhielt er zur Belohnung für seine Dienste, ein kleines Landgut, wo er sein grosses Gedicht, “The Faerie Queene,” vollendete. Bald nachher brach eine Empörung in Irland aus, die ihm sein ganzes Vermögen und eins seiner Kinder raubte und ihn zwang, nach England zurückzukehren. Er lebte hier noch zwölf Jahre, wahrscheinlich in Armuth und Entsagung, denn Alles, was die Königin für ihn that, war, dass sie ihm eine jährliche Pension von 50 1. st. bewilligte. Seine irdischen Ueberreste wurden nach seinem 1598 erfolgten Tode in der Westminster - Abtei neben Chaucer beigesetzt und ihm durch den Grafen von Essex ein Monument errichtet.

Als Dichter zeichnet sich Spenser durch reiche schöpferische Einbildungskraft, tiefes Gefühl und eine seltene Herrschaft über Sprache und Form höchst bedeutend aus. Leider blieb sein grosses Gedicht, die Feenkönigin, für das er eine eigene zehnzeilige Strophe, die nach ihm benannte Spenser-Stanze erfand, unvollendet, da die letzte Hälfte desselben verloren ging. Die beste Ausgabe seiner sämmtlichen Werke ist die von Todd besorgte, London 1806, 8 Bde. in 8. Die Faerie queene ward oft besonders aufgelegt; die beste Ausgabe erschien London 1751, 3 Bde. in 4. Es ist ein romantisches allegorisirendes Epos, dessen Inhalt der Dichter dem Sagenkreise des Königs Arthur entlehnte.

From the Faerie Queene. So she to Guyon offred it to tast; Much wondred Guyon at the fayre aspect

Who, taking it out of her tender hond, Of that sweet place, yet suffred no delight

The cup to ground did violently cast, To sincke into his sence, nor mind affect;

That all in peeces it was broken fond, But passed forth, and lookt still forward right,

And with the liquor stained all the lond:

Whereat Excesse exceedinly was wroth,
Brydling his will and maystering his might:
Till that he came unto another gate;

Yet no’te the same amend, ne yet withstond,

But suffered him to passe, all were she loth; No gate, but like one, being goodly dight With bowes and braunches, which did broad Who, nought regarding her displeasure, forward dilate

goth. Their clasping armes in wanton wreathings in


There the most daintie paradise on ground
Itselfe doth offer to his sober eye,

In which all pleasures plenteously abownd, So fashioned a porch with rare device

And none does others happinesse envye; Archt over head with an embracing vine,

The painted flowres; the trees upshooting hye; Whose bounches hanging downe seemd to entice The dales for shade; the hilles for breathing All passers-by to taste their lushious wine

space; And did themselves into their hands incline,

The trembling groves; the christall running by; As freely offering to be gathered;

And, that which all faire workes doth most Some deepe empurpled as the hyacine,

aggrace, Some as the rubine laughing sweetely red,

The art, which all that wrought appeared in no Some like faire emeraudes, not yet well ripened:


One would have thought (so cunningly the rude And them amongst some were of burnisht gold, And scorned partes were mingled with the fine), So made by art to beautify the rest,

That Nature had for wantonesse ensude Which did themselves emongst the leaves en- Art, and that Art at Nature did repine;


So striving each th' other to undermine, As lurking from the vew of covetous guest, Each did the others worke more beautify; That the weake boughes with so rich load so difforing both in willes agreed in fine;


So all agreed, through sweete diversity,
Did bow adowne as overburdened.

This gardin to adorne with all variety.
Under that porch a comely dame did rest
Clad in fayre weedes but fowle disordered,
And garments loose that seemd unmeet for And in the midst of all a fountaine stood,


Of richest substance that on Earth might bee,
So pure and shiny that the silver flood

Through every channell running one might see; In her left hand a cup of gold she held,

Most goodly it with curious ymageree And with her right the riper fruit did reach,

Was over-wrought, and shapes of naked boyes, Whose sappy liquor, that with fulnesse sweld, Of which some seemd with lively jollitee Into her cup she scruzd with daintie breach To fly about, playing their wanton toyes, Of her fine fingers, without fowle empeach, Whylest others did themselves embay in liquid That so faire winepresse made the wine more

joyes. sweet: Thereof she usd to give to drinke to each, And over all of purest gold was spred Whom passing by she happened to meet: A trayle of yvie in his native hew: It was her guise all straungers goodly so to For the rich metall was so coloured,

That wight, who did not well avis'd it vew,


Would surely deeme it to bee yvie trew; Such seemed they, and so their yellow heare Low his lascivious armes adown did creepe,

Christalline humor dropped downe apace. That themselves dipping in the silver dew Whom such when Guyon saw, he drew him Their fleecy flowres they fearefully did steepe,

neare, Which drops of christall seemd for wantones to And somewhat gan relent his earnest pace;

His stubborne brest gan secret pleasaunce to

Infinit streames continually did well
Out of this fountaine, sweet and faire to see,

The wanton maidens him espying, stood The which into an ample laver fell,

Gazing awhile at his unwonted guise; And shortly grew to so great quantitie,

Then th' one herselfe low ducked in the flood, That like a litle lake it seemd to bee,

Abasht that her a straunger did avise: Whose depth exceeded not three cubits hight,

But th' other rather higher did arise That through the waves one might the bottom

And her two lilly paps aloft displayd, see,

And all, that might his melting hart entyse All pav'd beneath with jaspar shining bright,

To her delights, she unto him bewrayd; That seemd the fountaine in that sea did sayle The rest, hidd underneath, him more desirous upright.



And all the margent round about was sett
With shady laurell trees, thence to defend With that the other likewise up arose,
The sunny beames which on the billowes bett,

And her faire lockes, which formerly were And those which therein bathed mote offend.

bownd As Guyon hapned by the same to wend,

Up in one knott, she low adowne did lose, Two naked damzelles he therein espyde,

Which flowing long and thick her cloth'd Which therein bathing seemed to contend

arownd, And wrestle wantonly, ne car'd to hyde And th' yvorie in golden mantle gownd: Their dainty partes from vew of any which them so that faire spectacle from him was reft,

Yet that which reft it no lesse faire was

fownd: Sometimes the one would lift the other quight So hidd in lockes and waves from lookers theft, Above the waters, and then downe againe

Nought but her lovely face she for his looking Her plong, as over-maystered by might,

left. Where both awhile would covered remaine, And each the other from to rise restraine; The whiles their snowy limbes, as through a Withall she laughed, and she blusht withall,


That blushing to her laughter gave more grace, So through the christall waves appeared plaine: | And laughter to her blushing, as did fall. Then suddeinly both would themselves unhele, Now when they spyde the knight to slacke his And th' amorous sweet spoiles to greedy eyes

pace revele.

Them to behold, and in his sparkling face

The secrete signs of kindled lust appeare, As that faire starre, the messenger of morne,

Their wanton merriments they did encreace, His deawy face out of the sea doth reare: And to him beckned to approch more neare, Or as the Cyprian goddesse, newly borne And shewd him many sights that corage cold Of th' ocean's fruitfull froth, did first appeare:

could reare.


Einer der grossartigsten und ausgezeichnetsten Männer der bedeutenden Zeit, der er angehörte, ward Sir Philipp Sidney am 20. November 1554 zu Penshurst in Kent geboren, studirte noch sehr jung in Oxford und machte dann eine grosse Reise durch Europa. Bei seiner Rückkehr vermählte er sich, aber seine Gattin, so schön sie auch sein mochte, war nicht die Dame seines Herzens, dies gehörte der Lady Penelope Devereux (der Philoclea seines Arkadiens und der Stella seines Astrophel) welche Familienrücksichten ihm verwehrt hatten als Gemahlin heimzuführen. Die Königin Elisabeth schenkte ihm schon früh ihre Gunst und Sidney zeigte sich als tapferer Krieger wie als umsichtiger Staatsmann derselben fortwährend im höchsten Grade würdig. Er starb an einer, bei der Schlacht von Zütphen am 22. September 1586 erhaltenen tödtlichen Wunde und wurde mit grosser Pracht in der St. Paulskirche zu London beigesetzt.

Sidney hinterliess einen mit Versen untermischten Schäferroman, Arkadia, eine zusammenhängende Reihe von Sonetten, Astrophel and Stella betitelt, viele kleinere, besonders lyrische Gedichte und einige prosaische Schriften. Die beste Ausgabe seiner sämmtlichen Werke ist die vierzehnte, London 1725, 3 Bde. in 8. Eine ausführliche Biographie des vortrefflichen Mannes lieferte Th. Zouch, Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Ph. S. York 1809. 1 Bd. in 4.

Als Dichter zeichnet er sich durch Eleganz, Zartheit, Gedankenreichthum, Phantasie und tiefes Gefühl, so wie durch Herrschaft über Form und Sprache sehr ehrenvoll aus; doch ist er auch nicht frei von dem herrschenden Geschmack seiner Zeit und sein Bestreben das Klassische mit dem Romantischen zu verbinden, führte ihn mitunter zu Verirrungen. Dahin gehört z. B. sein Versuch, englische Hexameter und Alexandriner zu bilden, den man als gänzlich misglückt betrachten muss. Unter seinen kleinen Liedern findet sich dagegen mehr als ein Meisterwerk.

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