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Death of
Sir Philip
Sidney.

and the most timid Protestant no longer feared revolution and a Roman Catholic sovereign. The Spanish Armada had been conquered by the bravery of English captains and the tempests of the heavens; England was mistress of the seas, and her bold mariners were free to go where they would. The thoughts of many were turning toward the New World, and Sir Walter Raleigh had even attempted to found a colony across the seas. One note of sadness mingled with the joy of the nation. Sir Philip Sidney was dead, and was mourned by a whole kingdom. The bravery with which he met the enemy in the fatal battle of Zutphen, the self-forgetful courtesy with which he refused, until another should have drunk, the water that would have eased his suffering, the gentle patience with which he bore the long weeks of agony before the coming of the end, all this touched the English heart as it had never before been touched. So enduring was the love which he inspired that Fulke Greville, one of his boyhood companions, who outlived him by twenty-two years, asked that on his own tomb might be written, "Servant to Queen Elizabeth, Councillor to King James, and Friend to Sir Philip Sidney." Sidney requested that his Arcadia should be destroyed, but his sister could not bear to fulfil such a wish, and in 1590, while Spenser was in England, it was printed.

55. The Faerie Queene.

Books I-
III, 1590.

Books IV-
VI, 1596.

Spenser brought with him from Ireland the little package that he had carried away, now grown much larger. Sir Walter Raleigh had visited him, and as they sat under the alders by the river, Spenser had read aloud the first three books of the Faerie Queene, for these were in the precious little package. The poem was published in 1590. It begins:

A gentle Knight was pricking on the plaine,
Ycladd in mightie armes and silver shielde,
Wherein old dints of deepe woundes did remaine,
The cruell markes of many a bloody fielde;
Yet armes till that time did he never wield:
His angry steede did chide his foming bitt,
As much disdayning to the curbe to yield:
Full iolly knight he seemd, and faire did sitt,
As one for knightly giusts and fierce encounters fitt.

This "gentle knight" represented Holiness, who was riding forth into the world to contest with Heresy. Spenser planned to write

twelve books, each of which was to celebrate the victory of some virtue over its contrary vice. At the end of the twelfth book the knights were to return to the land of Faerie. King Arthur was then to represent the embodiment of all these virtues, and he was to wed the Queen of Faerie, who was the Glory of God. Together with this was a very material allegory, if it may be so called, in which Elizabeth is the Queen of Faerie, Mary of Scotland is Error, etc. So

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far even the double allegory is reasonably clear; but as the poem goes on, it wanders away and away, and is so mingled with other allegories and changes of char

acters that it is impossible to trace a connected story through even the six books that were written of the twelve that Spenser planned.

Tracing the story is a small matter, however. One need not read an imaginative poem with a biographical dictionary and a gazetteer. The allegory of the struggle of evil with good is beautiful; but one need not trouble himself about the allegory. Read the poem simply for its exquisite pictures, its wonderfully rich and varied imagery, and the ever-changing music of its verse, and you will share in some degree the pleasure which for three hundred years Spenser has given to all true lovers of poetry.

56. The decade of the sonnet, 1590-1600. From 1590 to 1600 the sonnet was the prevailing form of the lyric. Sonnets were written in sequences, as they were called, that is, in groups, each group generally telling the story of the author's love for some lady fair who was either real or imaginary. Spenser wrote beautiful, musical sonnets, but Sidney's Astrophel and published Stella, a sequence which was not published till 1591. 1591, gives one such a feeling that it must be sincere that to read it seems almost like stealing glances at his paper as he wrote. One of his best sonnets is:

Astrophel

and Stella,

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face!

What, may it be that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries!
Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case,
I read it in thy looks; the languisht grace,
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries:
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?

Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be lov'd, and yet

Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?

57. Richard Hooker, 1554 ?-1600. During this decade an important piece of prose was written by a clergyman named Richard Hooker. He was a man of much learning, but so shy that when he was lecturing at Oxford he could hardly look his students in the face. Even his shyness could not hide his merits, and he was appointed to a prominent position in London. It was not long, however, before he wrote an earnest appeal to the archbishop to give him instead some humble village parish. London was full of controversies, sometimes very bitter ones, between the Church of England and the Puritans. Hooker was far too gentle to meet disagreement and discord, but in his later and more quiet home he produced a clear, strong book called the Ecclesiastical Polity, which defended the Ecclesiastiposition of the church, giving the reasons why Books I-IV he believed it to have the right to claim men's 1594. obedience. Prose in plenty had been written for some special purpose, but this was something more than a mere putting of words together to express a thought; it was not only an argument, it was literature, and even those who were not interested in its subject read it for the grave harmony of its style and the dignity of its phrasing.

cal Polity,

58. William Shakespeare, 1564-1616. It was in this same decade that the full glory of the drama was to burst forth. In 1564, the year of Marlowe's birth, a child was born in the village of Stratford on the river Avon who was to become the greatest of poets. His father, John Shakespeare, was a well-to-do man, and

held various offices in the village. This boy, William, grew up much as did other boys of the place. He went to school, studied Latin and possibly a little Greek. Coventry was near, and there mystery plays were performed. Kenilworth Castle was only fifteen miles away; and when Shakespeare was eleven years old, Queen Elizabeth was its guest. No bright boy would let such chances go by to see a mystery play or to have a glimpse of his country's queen and the entertainments given in her honor. In 1568, a company of London actors came to Stratford. John Shakespeare as bailiff gave them a formal welcome to the village; and it is probable that among the earliest memories of his son were the sound of their drums and trumpets, the beating of hoofs, and the sight of banners and riders, of gorgeous costumes flashing in the sun and gayly caparisoned horses prancing down the street to the market-place.

More than a score of times the prancing steeds and their riders visited Stratford; and the country boy, living quietly beside the Avon, must have had many thoughts of the great world of London that was the home of those fascinating cavalcades. He would not have been a real boy if he had not determined to see that marvellous city before many years should pass.

Not long after the festivities of Kenilworth, John Shakespeare began to be less successful in his business. affairs. Thirteen or fourteen was not an early age for a boy to be taken from school who did not intend to go to the university; and it is probable that the boy William left school at that age and began to earn his own living. For some years from that time the only thing known of him is that he often crossed the fields by a narrow lane that led to Shottery and the cottage of Anne Hathaway, and that before he was nineteen she became

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