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But like fancies weren foolery,
And broughten this Oak to this misery;
For nought mought they quitten him from decay;
For fiercely the goodman at him did lay.
The block oft groaned under his blow,
And sighed to see his near overthrow.
In fine" the steel had pierced his pith;
Tho down to the ground he fell there with.
His wondrous weight made the ground to quake;
The earth shrunk under him, and seemed to shake:
There lieth the Oak, pitied of mone.

Now stands the Brere like a lord alone,
Puffed up with pride and vain pleasance:
But all this glee had no continuance;
For eftsoons winter gan to approach,
The blustering Boreas did encroach
And beat upon the solitary Brere,
For now no succour was seen him near.
Now gan he repent his pride too late;
For, naked left and disconsolate,
The biting frost nipt his stalk dead,
The watery wet weighed down his head,
And heaped snow burthened him so sore
That now upright he can stand no more;
And, being down, is trod in the dirt
Of cattle, and brouzed," and sorely hurt.
Such was the end of this ambitious Brere,
For scorning eld.

The story is admirably told, certainly; with wonderful

felicity of expression, as well as with a fancy and invention at once the most just and spirited, and the most easy and copious—altogether so as to betoken a poet such as had not yet arisen in the language since it had settled down into its existing form. This earliest work of Spenser's, however, betrays his study of our elder poetry as imuch by its diction as by the other indications already mentioned: he has thickly sprinkled it with words and phrases which had generally ceased to be used at the time when it was written. This he seems to have done, not so much that the antiquated style might give the dialogue an air of rusticity proper to the speech of shepherds, but rather in the same spirit and design (though he has carried the practice much farther) in which Virgil has done the same thing in his heroic poetry, that his verse might thereby be the more distinguished from common discourse, that it might fall upon the ears of men with something of the impressiveness and authority of a voice from other times, and that it might seem to echo, and, as it were, continue and prolong, the strain of the old national minstrelsy ; thus at once expressing his love and admiration of the preceding poets who had been his examples, and, in part, his instructors and inspirers, and making their compositions reflect additional light and beauty upon his own. This is almost the only advantage which the later poets in any language have over the earlier; and Spenser has availed himself of it more or less in most of his writings, though not in any later work to the same extent as in this first publication. Perhaps also there may be discovered in the Shepherd's Calendar some other traces of his studies in experimental versification at this time (to which his attention may have been awakened by his friend Harvey's lucubrations), besides his attempts to imitate the metre of Chaucer or Piers Ploughman. The work is, at least, remarkable for the variety of measures in which it is composed. The most spirited of its lyric passages is a panegyric upon Elizabeth in the Fourth Æclogue, of which, as the work is not much read, we may transcribe a few verses. It is recited by Hobbinol (Gabriel Harvey), who, on the request of Thenot that he would repeat to him one of his friend Colin's songs, framed before his love for Rosalind had made him break his pipe, replies:—

* At last. w Bruised.

“Contented I; then will I sing his lay
Offair Eliza, queen of shepherds all,
Which once he made as by a spring he lay,
And tuned it unto the water's fall :”—

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See where she sits upon the grassy green,
(O seemly sight!)
Yclad in scarlet, like a maiden queen,
And ermines white;
Upon her head a crimson coronet,
With damask roses and daffadillies set:
Bay leaves between,
And primroses green,
Embellish the sweet violet.

* * *x o:

I see Calliope speed to the place
Where my goddess shines,
And after her the other Muses trace"
With their violines.
Been they not bay branches which they do bear,
All for Eliza in her hand to wear 2
So sweetly they play,

And sing all the way,
That it a heaven is to hear.

Lo, how finely the Graces can it foot
To the instrument
They dancen defly, and singen soot"
In their merriment.
Wants not a fourth Grace to make the dance even.”
Let that room to my Lady be yeven."
She shall be a Grace

To fill the fourth place,
And reign with the rest in heaven.

* Walk. b Sweet. * Given.

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And whither rems this bevy of ladies bright,
Ranged in a row 2
They been all Ladies of the Lake behight"
That unto her go.
Chloris, that is the chiefest nymph of all,
Of olive branches bears a coronal :
Olives been for peace,
When wars do surcease
Such for a princess been principal.

Ye shepherds' daughters that dwell on the green,
Hie you there apace:
Let none come there but that virgi's been,
To adorn her grace;
And, when you come whereas" she is in place,
See that your rudeness do not you disgrace.
Bind your fillets fast,

And gird in your waste,
For more fineness, with a tawdry lace.

Bring hither the pink and purple cullumbine,
With gillyflowers;
Bring coronations, and sops in wine,
Worn of paramours:
Strow me the ground with dafsadowndillies,
And cowslips, and kingcups, and loved lillies •
The pretty pance

And the chevisance
Shall match with the fair flower-delice.

Now rise up, Eliza, decked as thou art
In royal ray;"
And now ye dainty damsels may depart,
Each one her way.
I fear I have troubled your troops too long:
Let Dame Eliza thank you for her song;
And, if you come heathers
When damsons I gather,
I will part them all you among.

Executed in a firmer and more matured style, and, though with more regularity of manner, yet also with

“Callcd, named. “Where. Array. s Hither.

more true boldness and freedom, is the admirable ‘ Prosopopoia,’ as it is designated, of the adventures of the Fox and the Ape, or ‘Mother Hubberd's Tale’—notwithstanding that this, too, is stated to have been an early production—“long sithens composed,” says the author in his Dedication of it to the Lady Compton and Monteagle, “in the raw conceit of my youth.” Perhaps, however, this was partly said to avert the offence that might be taken at the audacity of the satire. It has not much the appearance, either in manner or in matter, cf the production of a very young writer, although it may have been written before any part of the Fairy Queen, at least in the matured form of that poem ; for we can hardly believe that the work spoken of under that name as in hand in 1579 was the same the first part of which was not published till eleven years afterwards. We should say that ‘Mother Hubberd's Tale’ represents the middle age of Spenser's genius, if not of his life—the stage in his mental and poetical progress when his relish and power of the energetic had attained perfection, but the higher sense of the beautiful had not yet been fully developed. Such appears to be the natural progress of every mind that is capable of the highest things in both these directions: the feeling of force is first awakened, or at least is first matured ; the feeling of beauty is of later growth. With even poetical minds of a subordinate class, indeed, it may sometimes happen that a perception of the beautiful, and a faculty of embodying it in words, acquire a considerable development without the love and capacity of the energetic having ever shown themselves in any unusual degree: such may be said to have been the case of Petrarch, to quote a remarkable example.

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