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Shenstone in the Spenserean stanza, attempts which were soon to be indefinitely multiplied. To Byron, Shelley, and Keats in particular (for to Keats Spenser revealed the secret of his birth "), the attraction of Spenser's stanza proved irresistible. Among later devout worshippers at Spenser's romantic altar, observe Coleridge, Scott, Southey, Hazlitt, Campbell, Lamb, Leigh Hunt, 'Christopher North," Rossetti, and Tennyson. Landor is one of the few singers to whom Spenser appeared tedious; even he was sufficiently attracted to devote two Imaginary Conversations to the author of The Faerie Queene.
Spenser's Works were first collected in 1611. Since the annotated editions of Hughes (1715), and that of Todd in 1805, the most elaborate editions are those of Prof. F. J. Child, Boston, 1855, J. P. Collier, 1862, and Dr. Grosart, in 10 vols., 1880-82. A desirable one-volume edition is that issued by Routledge (1850), though this is superseded as regards the Memoir by the Globe edition, 1899 (small print). An excellent edition of The Faerie Queene in six slim volumes is that of Miss Kate M. Warren,* 1897-9 (Constable). Students will also obtain Warton's Observations on The Faerie Queene (1752, 1762), Craik's Spenser and his Times, 3 vols., 1845, R. W. Church's Spenser, 1879, in the Men of Letters Series, and Professor Herford's edition of The Shepheards Calendar,* 1895. Of essays introductory to the study of Spenser, Leigh Hunt's selections and critical notice in his Imagination and Fancy,* Lowell's Essay on Spenser in English Poets,* and Professor Courthope's chapter on "Court Allegory: Edmund Spenser" (History of English Poetry, vol. ii, 234-87) are the most suggestive. F. I. Carpenter's Outline Guide to Study of Spenser (1894) is also useful. Of William Browne a desirable edition is that by Gordon Goodwin (Muses Library). Of Drayton there are Selections, ed. Bullen, 1883, and a fuller volume promised, ed. A. R. Waller; and see Michael Drayton: A Critical Study by Professor Elton, 1905. Daniel has been edited by Dr. Grosart for the Huth Library in 3 vols., 1887.
One of the least admirable moulds created by Greek art for Elizabethan copyists was the Didactic Poem. The Works and Days of the Boeotian Hesoid had a most remarkable echo in the early Elizabethan Five Hundred pointes of good Husbandrie as well for the Champion or Open Countrie as also for the Woodland or severall, mixed in everie month with Huswiferie, which was in course of enlargment from 1557 to 1580. Its
author, Thomas Tusser, an Essex man (Rivenhall), choir-boy at St. Paul's, an Etonian under the bloodthirsty Udall, and a scholar of King's, Cambridge (1543), tried his hand at husbandry near Witham, but died in London May 3rd, 1580, and was, appropriately enough, buried in the Poultry, Cheapside. His work is a kind of agricultural Sternhold and Hopkins, with admixture of proverbs and old saws in the old nursery rhyme measure of "eight and six" (as Quince calls it), Skeltonics, and rude anapasts:
Go wash well, saith Sommer, with sunne I shall drie,
Two later and more ordinary didactic versifiers were Greville and his congener, Sir John Davies. Schoolmate of Sidney at Shrewsbury, Sir Fulke Greville (Lord Brooke) wrote his friend's life or eulogy in a fine specimen of ornate prose. He was a jealously guarded favourite of the Queen, but retained the favour of James, and wrote long-winded didactic poems (in a babcc metre) on Humane Learning," Fame and Honour," and 66 War"; they are caviare to the general, and Hazlitt accused Lamb of liking them because no one could understand them. Two dramas deal similarly with problems of political science. His "sonnets" are unlike any other sonnets. Greville was stabbed by a servant in 1628, and his poems appeared in 1633, posthumously, and in the same year with George Herbert's. Sir John Davies (1567-1626), a distinguished lawyer and judge of excellent family, wrote in seven-line stanza a curious poem (Orchestra, 1596) on the musical motion of all things in a dance of love, and another graver poem called Nosce Teipsum, which he couched in the long elegiac quatrains rendered famous by Dryden and Gray.
SONNETEERS, SONG-WRITERS, AND MINOR
"To describe a thing of no account we say sometimes that it is not worth an old song.' When you come to think of it, how few things are!"
Sir Philip Sidney-The fashion of sonneteering-Elizabethan lyrics and music-Lyly, Nash, Greene, Lodge, and BretonCampion-Barnfield-Browne-Wotton.
THE fashion of sonneteering in England was really set by Sir Philip Sidney, over a hundred of whose sonnets, under the title of Astrophel and Stella, were circulated in no less than three separate editions during 1591. The notion of sonnets and sonnet-writing was already fairly familiar in England. Both Wyatt and Surrey had turned Italian canzone into irregular sonnet forms. Googe, Turberville, and others had produced so-called "sonnets "; Thomas Watson devoted the close and unintermittent labour of a zealous literary amateur to pouring the original wine of Petrarch out of French into English bottles. The sonnet was at this time scarcely regarded as a definite literary form, but rather as a synonym for a conventional love poem in eulogy of a mistress. It is in this sense that Shakespeare uses the word in his early comedies. The outward form of the sonnet, and its special applicability to court and complimentary usage, were soon better understood; but we still hear of six-line and eighteen-line sonnets (Breton's "Pretty twinkling starry eyes" is called Sonnet, and so is Wither's "Shall I, wasting in despair,' as late as 1615); and, indeed, it is not until we get to
Drummond and Milton that the technicalities and exigencies of the sonnet as a verse form can be said to have engaged the study of competent poetical scholarship. Sidney's sonnets were probably written for the most part in 1581, within half a dozen years, that is to say, of the appearance of two of the largest and most popular sonnet collections in France-those of Ronsard and Desportes. The sonnet was soon flourishing in the English court as a delicate exotic. Then in 1591 Sidney's sonnets were published, and even thus transplanted to a ruder atmosphere, it seemed for a time as if the sonnet were going to flourish rankly. From 1591 to 1598 nearly every year witnessed the appearance of three or four competing sonnet series. Most of these volumes were highly frigid and artificial, and it is mainly to the fact that Shakespeare himself was for a time captivated by the passing craze that we owe our interest in such productions. Several isolated sonnets by Drayton and others are of a rare finish and perfection; but as regards collections, after the unapproachable 154 sonnets of Shakespeare, the collection of Sidney's entitled Astrophel and Stella has probably the most intrinsic interest; while to the literary historian, both as a pioneer effort and as enshrining the romance of the Bayard or the Hirosé of English letters, Astrophel and Stella must always make what is perhaps a disproportionately strong appeal.
In 1575, at Chartley, Philip Sidney first met Penelope Devereux, daughter of the Earl of Essex. She was then only about thirteen, while Sidney was a young man of twentyone, lately returned from the Continent with his head full of "serious" imaginings and ambitious dreams. He was a favourite of the Earl of Essex, and, as presumptive heir to the Leicester estates, a highly eligible parti. It was perfectly natural, therefore, that the project of marriage should have been entertained between the youthful heiress and the gallant but impecunious courtier. And there
seems no doubt that some such scheme was broached, and that the initiative was taken not by Sidney (who was consumed at this time not so much by love as by love's antidote-ambition) but by the relatives of the lady. Early in 1581, however, Penelope was hastily married to a wellendowed roué, Lord Rich, and then at last Sidney discovered the passion which had apparently been smouldering for some time, and found himself in the position of one who realises the depth of his love for a woman only when he is bound in honour to fight against his desire. Sonnets written for the most part during his forced retirement from court in 1581 represent a summer thundercloud of sentiment tinted by beautiful reflections and lurid gleams from afar, and emitting a few, a very few, lightning flashes of genuine passion.
Much of Sidney's best verse is to be found in the songs which are intertwined with the sonnets. The majority of these, it is important to bear in mind, are full of reminiscences of French and Italian conceits, and if the poems as a connected series are really a record of passion tragically thwarted and finally suppressed, it is at least strange that this passion should have needed so much help from Petrarch and Desportes in expressing itself. It may be that the book as a whole has gained a partly adventitious reputation due to the personal fame of the writer, yet Sidney's sonnets are certainly superior to any previously written in English. Admirers of the French sonneteers could no longer maintain that the quatorzain was too delicate a plant to bear transplantation to England; and writing sonnets to the eyebrows of despaired-of mistresses, real or imaginary, soon became the reigning literary fashion. Many of these exercises are so wire-drawn as to leave one in doubt whether Sidney's influence was an unmitigated benefit. But in one respect, at any rate, it was of real value: like all romanticists, he had appealed to