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than either of these pieces offer is reached in one stanza of the fifth, the

ELEGIE, OR FRIENDS PASSION, by a certain little-known Matthew Roydon. Amidst a long stream of rather awkwardly expressed commonplace, * he thus describes Sidney :

·A sweete attractive kinde of grace,
A full assurance given by lookes,
Continuall comfort in a face;
The lineaments of Gospell bookes;

· I trow, that countenance cannot lie,

Whose thoughts are legible in the eie. -Si sic plura !

The collection concludes with two



These are reprints from the Phænix Nest of 1593 : and Mr. Collier has satisfactorily identified the author of the first with Sir Walter Raleigh. It has the pregnant but somewhat prosaic force of his authentic writing, anterior to the rudeness of style, the condensation pushed to obscurity, which prevail in the work of his unhappy later days. In complete contrast with the pastoral fancy of preceding elegies, the main facts of Sidney's life are here briefly and truly set forth,

* The following criticism of Roydon by Nash, given by Collier, “ He hath showed himselfe singular in the immortal epitaph of his beloved Astrophell,"'-—may illustrate the value of contemporary laudation,-not in Elizabeth's age only. The date of Nash's Epistle fixes that of Roydon's Elegy to 1586 or 1587; whilst Mr. Collier has pointed out that Bryskett's Mourning Muse was licensed for publication in the latter year.

with the noticeable omission of any reference to Stella. Speaking of him as the

Petrarch of our time,

Raleigh shows a much greater critical discernment than any other of Sidney's eulogists : the phrase discovers that keen insight which (when personal interest does not intervene) is eminently characteristic of one of our first intellects during an age singularly fertile in intellectual eminence.

The final Epitaph, described in the Phænir Nest, (which gives no clue as to the authorship of Roydon's and Raleigh's) as “excellently written by a most woorthy Gentleman,” remains unidentified. This is in that truly elegiac metre,— lines of twelve and fourteen syllables in rhyming couplets,—so common in our first Anthologies; and, like those, a little exceeds in alliteration. Whoever the author, it expresses (to my mind a more genuine and deeper sense of sorrow in its naïf phrases than any of the preceding.

As a little gallery of Elizabethan art, I would venture to recommend the Astrophel, (which we may reasonably consider selected, where not composed, by Spenser,) in regard to the different styles in poetry exhibited, to the reader's attention.


The first, dated 1586, but published 1592, I should rate as the finest sonnet among all those left us by Spenser. It has that quality of strong feeling, of direct expression, which,---even in presence of his other amazing gifts,-one must often desiderate in our great Poet ;-and, with this, a certain weight and dignity not only worthy of Milton, but singularly resembling the style of his own encomiastic Sonnets. And that it should have been called forth in honour of Spenser's early friend Harvey adds to our pleasure.

On the rest, we need note only that the third, prefixed to a book which, in 1596, describes itself as

newly translated,” is, with the eighth of the Amoretti, the only extant example of the quatrain and couplet sonnet-form which we find since the Visions which close the Complaints. To judge, however, by the diction and general style, this poem distinctly belongs to Spenser's latest period,—a time to which the external evidence also clearly points. So little stress of argument, I should be disposed to urge, can we, in general, safely lay upon points such as metrical structure, use of certain rhymes, line-endings, taken by themselves as determinants of date in poetry. At any rate is this argument true in case of that great and noble Master,-third only, as, with Hallam, I would venture to say, among our sons of song,—whom I here quit with admiring reverence. For, among artists, Freedom is pre-eminently the Poet's birthright; and, among poets, few if any have handled their divine art with more absolute freshness, originality,—in one word, mastery,--than Spenser.

F. T. P.




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