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of a reflective order that we find them on every page of the poem. It is, indeed, questionable whether there is in the language any long narrative poem which has so much idyllic quality and so often is meditative in its spirit without being didactic. Such lyrics are what the psalmist calls the meditations of the heart."


Thus, in Book First, we read the description of the home of the hermit:

A little lowly hermitage it was,

Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side,
Far from resort of people, that did pass
In travel to and fro; a little wide
There was a holy chapel edified (built)
Wherein the hermit (was) duly wont to say
His holy things each morn and eventide.

Thereby a crystal stream did gently play,

Which from a sacred fountain welled forth alway.

So, in Book Second, the beautiful description of

the guardian angels :

How oft do they their silver bowers leave,

To come to succor us that succor want;

How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant (herald),
Against foul fiends to aid us militant.

They for us fight; they watch and duly ward,

And their bright squadrons round about us plant;

And all for love, and nothing for reward;

O, why should heavenly God to men have such regard!

Passing from this elaborate epic to the shorter poems and the lyrics proper, it is noticeable that they are, in the main, contemplative. The "Shep

herd's Calendar," in its twelve sections, descriptive, respectively, of the twelve months of the year, is characteristically a pastoral lyric of the pensive. type, in which the poet devoutly dwells on those essential truths that seemed to him to need a new expression. Some of the eclogues are eminently reflective as, "January," whose moral is the saving power of hope in trial; “February," a discourse on old age; "June," "October," in which the poet plaintively sings of the contempt of poetry in his day. The closing eclogue, "December," is a dissertation on human life in its four distinctive seasons, from youth to age.

Passing from the "Calendar," we come to the collection called "Complaints," containing, as we are told, sundry small poems of the world's vanity, or, as the printer states to his readers, they are “all complaints and meditations of the world's vanity, very grave and profitable." In what may be called the Canon or Bible of Elizabethan Letters, they constitute the Book of Lamentations, or the Jeremiad, as they in turn lament the loss of what is dearest in life and letters. They have, indeed, the essential features of elegiac verse, as their general title indicates, as also such special titles as "The Ruins of Time," ," "The Ruins of Rome," "The Visions of the World's Vanity," and "The Tears of the Muses,” in which last beautiful monody each of the nine muses bewails the decadence of her favorite art, the manifest decline of poetry seeming to elicit special sorrow

on the part of the mourning poet. Nowhere in the province of English lyrics have we such an unbroken succession of minor notes, sounded somewhat strangely as they were, at the very opening of the golden age. A partial explanation of this anomaly is found in the embittered experiences of the poet himself, in the heroic struggles of the native literature against the various forms of foreign influence, and in the historic fact that so many authors of the time were willing to prostitute their calling to the lowest levels of art and life. "The Tears of the Muses" was not a poem of forced emotion, but an ingenuous outburst of personal scorn over what the sensitive Spenser saw and felt and feared.

Passing to the contemplative poems following the "Complaints," we come to "The Amoretti," or sonnets of Spenser, eighty-eight in number, and expressing in lyric form the meditations of the heart. Not a few of these are specimens of high poetic merit, and rightly place Spenser in the historic succession of the great English sonneteers.

Thus, the sonnet entitled "Most Glorious Lord of Life," as it reads:

Most glorious Lord of life; that on this day

Didst make thy triumph over death and sin;
And having harrowed hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive us to win.

This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin
And grant that we for whom thou didst die,

Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
May live forever in felicity,

And that thy love we weighing worthily,

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