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to the bower of bliss


The joyous birds, shrouded in cheerful shade,
Their notes unto the voice attempered sweet;
Th' angelical soft trembling voices made
To th' instruments divine respondence meet;
The silver-sounding instruments did meet
With the base murmur of the waters fall;
The waters fall with difference discreet,
Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call,

The gentle warbling wind low answered to all."

Then, too, he makes real the horrors of the dark regions below the earth: he follows Duessa and Night to hell—

"To the black shadows of the Stgyian shore,
Where wretched ghosts sit wailing evermore."

He goes with Mammon past the river Cocytus,

"In which full many souls do endless wail and weep; "

and, looking down,

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saw many damned wights

In those sad waves, which direful deadly stanke,
Plonged continuelly of cruel sprights;

That with their piteous cries and yelling shrightes
They made the further shore resounden wide.

He sees Tantalus

"Deep was he drenched to the upmost chin,
Yet gaped still as coveting to drink
Of the cold liquor which he waded in.

And, stretching forth his hand, did often think
To reach the fruit which grew upon the brink;

But both the fruit from hand and flood from mouth

Did fly aback, and made him vainly swinck;

The whiles he sterv'd with hunger and with drouth;
He daily died, yet never throughly dyen couth."

In the Faery Queen we do not alone feel the poetic power and varied sensitiveness of Spenser's nature; we are always continually reminded of his noble and spiritual longings, of his admiration for what was morally beautiful and pure: his was a spirit "finely touched," uniting the worship of beauty, that belonged to the men of the Renaissance, to the worship of moral excellence, which belongs to the Puritan race. The worship of love and beauty was the inspiration of all that was best in life

"To the highest and the worthiest Lifteth it up."

He longs for the "antique world," as he pictured it to himself,

"Where good was only for itself desired."

Sir Guyon, Sir Calidore, Sir Artegall, are no mere knights of chivalry: no writer of mere chivalrous romance could have imagined them: in their struggle after what was best and worthiest in life, exposed powerfully to the temptations that beset the finely-organised spirit, sensitive to beauty and joy of all kinds, Spenser reveals himself a child both of the New and Old World, whose soul was full of the spiritual purity of the Middle Age, but illumined by the glow and colour of the time of Renaissance, with its admiration of all that was human and beautiful.

His great work marks the coming of a new era, while it recalls the last: the different currents of two eras are harmonised by his genius. "A beauty issues from this harmony," says M. Taine," the beauty in the poet's heart which his whole work strives to express; a noble and yet a laughing beauty, made up of moral elevation and sensuous seductions, English in sentiment, Italian in externals, chivalric in its subject, modern in its perfection, representing a unique and admirable epoch, the appearance of Paganism in a Christian race, and the worship of form by an imagination of the North."



MARLOWE, Christopher, b. 1564, d. 1593.-Hero and Leander was left unfinished at Marlowe's death; Chapman completed it, dividing Marlowe's fragment into two parts, which now form the first two sestiads of the poem "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love," printed complete in England's Helicon, 1600.

SHAKSPERE, William, b. 1564, d. 1616.-Venus and Adonis, 1592 ? Rape of Lucrece, 1593-94? Sonnets, 1595-1605?

LYLY, John, b. 1554, d. 1606; BARNFIELD, 1574-1627; LODGE, Thomas, b. 1556, prob. d. 1625; GREENE, Robert, prob. 1560-1592; DANIEL, Samuel, 1562-1619; DRUMMOND, William, 1585-1649; PEELE, George, prob. b. 1558, died before 1598; WARNER, William, b. 1550, d. 1609; DRAYTON, Michael, about 1563-1631; DYER, Sir Edward, about 1550-1607; WOTTON, Sir Henry, 1568-1639; RALEIGH, Sir Walter, 1552-1618; GREVILLE, Fulke, Lord Brooke, 1554-1628; DAVIES, Sir John, d. 1625.

THE English mind having passed through its period of training and discipline—the example of the Italians, both in prose and in verse, having done its work in encouraging the study and cultivation of style-genius now broke through the rules which had tended to confine it and make it artificial, and art began to be the free spontaneous expression of the national mind. Dramatic art was of course the great product of this period, both because it was essentially the nature of the English genius to be as dramatic in art as it was philosophic in thought, and also because the sense of national unity, the consciousness of being a great people, demanded such artistic expression as can be found only in the drama or in architecture. But side by side with dramatic art was produced a vast body of poetry. This poetry Mr. Stopford Brooke divides into three divisions, each corresponding to phases in the growth of the Elizabethan mind. The first division contains love poetry and sonnets, and is the fit expression of the ardent, eager youth of the period; the second contains patriotic poems-poems expressing keen interest in the historic past of


England, and in its national present and future, marking that maturer period of growth when the interests of life widen, and the personal ones are not all-absorbing; thirdly and lastly, come the philosophic poems, expressing the thoughts of the reflective old age of the period, when the keen enjoyment in life had passed away.

The first division is the largest : almost all the most celebrated dramatists wrote love poems and lyrics; indeed, they looked to them to be the monuments of their fame. Shakspere, in common with his contemporaries, grounded his literary fame on his Venus and Adonis, and on his Lucrece; Marlowe on his Hero and Leander. The drama was not then definitely considered a branch of art. Originality was so little considered in play-writing, so much of it being the revision of old plays and the adaptation of stories into plays, that it was esteemed merely a matter of business, and writers undertook it as being a remunerative profession, and trusted for fame to their sonnets and love poems. The same stigma attached to dramatists at the beginning of this period as, in still earlier days, was attached to the writers of poetry. Puttenham in his Art of Poetry says: “Now also of such among the nobilitie and gentry as be very well seen in many laudable sciences, and especially in making or Poesie, it is so come to pass that they have no courage to write, and if they have yet are they loath to be a knowen of their skill. So as I know very many notable gentlemen in the court that have written commendably and suppressed it again, or else suffered it to be published without their names to it: as if it were a discredit for a gentleman to seem learned and to show himself amorous of any good Art." Probably Sir Philip Sidney, Surrey, and Wyatt, who thought far more of their art than their nobility, did for the social reputation of art what Jonson, by his high moral aims, and Beaumont, by his attachment to it from a quite unprofessional point of view, did subsequently for the drama. Thus, even in this, the most unconventional and freest age of English life, did mistaken ideas drive talent to a false sphere, till its instincts becoming stronger, proved too much for convention.

Shakspere thus first recommended himself to his age as the author of two rather frigid love poems, Venus and Adonis and Lucrece, and by certain "sugared sonnets." His reputation among dramatists was that of “ an upstart crow, beautified by our feathers," this being the opinion that his talent in revision and adaptation called forth. Hazlett says these two poems are like

constructions of ice, "hard, glittering, and cold." They are indeed but the "first heirs" of Shakspere's invention; and as the last and best gift that comes to an artist in whatever sphere is simplicity and naturalness, it is unjust to expect in these love poems more than faint suggestions of the power of that genius which was so long in reaching the height of its complex development. Coleridge considers the delight in sweetness and richness of sound that Shakspere shows in the poem of Venus and Adonis "a highly favorable promise in the compositions of a young But other critics find in the harmony of his verse, and the glow of his colouring, only successful obedience to the conventional art of his day. Nothing in this poem seems to suggest the Shakspere that we know, unless it be the concluding verses, the prophecy of Venus over the dead body of Adonis,—more alive with meaning, and therefore more impressive, than the cold verse in which Shakspere endeavoured to tell the classical story, for which he had evidently little feeling.


"Since thou art dead, lo, here I prophesy,
Sorrow on love hereafter shall attend:
It shall be waited on with jealousy,
Find sweet beginning, but unsavoury end;
Ne'er settled equally, but high or low ;

That all love's pleasure shall not match his woe.

"It shall be fickle, false, and full of fraud ;
Bud and be blasted in a breathing-while;
The bottom poison, and the top o'erstrawed
With sweets that shall the truest sight beguile,
The strongest body shall it make most weak,
Strike the wise dumb, and teach the fool to speak.

"It shall be sparing, and too full of riot,
Teaching decrepit age to tread the measure;
The staring ruffian shall it keep in quiet,

Pluck down the rich, enrich the poor with treasure ;
It shall be raging-mad, and silly-mild,

Make the young old, the old become a child.

"It shall suspect where is no cause of fear;
It shall not fear where it should most mistrust;

It shall be merciful, and too severe,

And most deceiving when it seems most just ;

Perverse it shall be where it shows most toward,
Put fear to valour, courage to the coward."

In Lucrece there is still more of the sterner and more reflective element, sometimes very much out of place: "Lucrece in her agony delivers tirades on night, on time, on opportunity." In

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