Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Roydon; and two short poems whose authorship is unknown. We here present the introduction, Astrophel, and the second of Brysket's poems, A Pastorall Aeglogue.

Astrophel (lover of a star). Sir Philip Sidney — a name assumed by himself, and frequently applied to him by his friends and admirers. As the name Philip Sidney is fancifully derived from philos, a lover, and sidus, a star, so Astrophel is derived from astron, a star, and philos. Penelope Devereux, the daughter of the Earl of Essex, for whom Sidney entertained a passion, was called Stella, or the Star, and to her his sonnets, entitled Astrophel and Stella, were addressed.

“But while as Astrofell did live and raine,
Amongst all these was none his paragone."

Spenser, Colin Clouts come Home Again, 450.

1. Shepheards. Courtiers, friends of Sidney. Shepherds and flocks are indispensable to pastoral poetry. — pipes of oaten reed. The typical musical instrument of pastoral life. Compare with Lycidas, 33 and 88; also with Milton's Comus, 345:

“Might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops."

Also with Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2: —

· When shepherds pipe on oaten straws."

2. plaine. Lament. From Lat. plangere, to beat the breast :

We with piteous heart unto you pleyne.".

Chaucer.

See also plaint, below. - loves. The apostrophe was not used by the earlier English writers as a sign of the possessive case of nouns.

3. wight. Person, human being. From A.-S. wiht.

4. wot. Know. Present tense, third, singular of the old verb wit. From A.-S., witan. my rymes bene rudely dight. My rhymes be roughly adorned or arranged. Compare with Skelton (1460–1529) : –

“ Though my rhyme be ragged,
Tattered and gagged,
Rudely rain-beaten,
Rusty, moth-eaten,
Yf ye take welle therewithe,
It hath in it some pithe."

5. nycer. More exacting. — wit. See wight, note 3, above; also wot, note 4, and note the force of both in this word.

6. pity. Observe the play upon the noun pity and the verb to pity, below. An example of euphuism, an affected style of expression very fashionable among the gallants of the court of Queen Elizabeth. See also the use of plaine, plaint, and plaints in the first stanza.

7. Arcady. Arcadia was the land of shepherds, of simple country life and manners, of homely enjoyment and contentment. It was, even more than Sicily, the land of pastoral song. So pastoral poetry is often called Arcadic. But it is probably in reference to Sidney's authorship of the romance entitled Arcadia that Spenser here speaks of him as “born in Arcady."

'Sidney, than whom a gentler, braver man,
His own delightful genius never feigned,
Illustrating the vales of Arcady

With courteous courage and with loyal loves." — Southey. 8. Hæmony. Hæmonia, a town in Arcadia, founded by Hämus. Also the ancient name of Thessaly. See Milton's use of the word in an entirely different sense in Comus, 637, as a plant “ of sovran use 'gainst all enchantments,” etc.

9. stock. “In what an almost infinity of senses the word stock is employed. We have live stock; stock-in-trade; the village stocks; the stock of a gun; the stock dove; the stocks on which ships are built; the stock which goes round the neck; the family stock; the stocks or public funds in which money is invested; and other stocks besides these. What point in common can we find among them all? This — they are all derived from, and were originally the past participle of, to stick, which, as it now makes stuck, made formerly stock, and they cohere in the idea of fixedness which is common to them all. Thus the stock of a gun is that in which the barrel is fixed; the village stocks are those in which the feet are fastened; the stock-in-trade is the fixed capital, and so too is the stock on the farm, although the fixed capital has there taken the shape of horses and cattle; in the stocks, or public funds, money sticks fast, inasmuch as those who place it there cannot withdraw the capital, but receive only the interest; the stock of a tree is fast set in the ground, and from this use of the word, it is transferred to a family; the stock or stirps is that from which it grows, and out of which it unfolds itself.” — Trench. — hight. Was called. Although active in form, this word, used in the present tense or as a preterite, is passive in meaning. From A.-S. hatan, to call.

10. passing all the pastors. Observe the euphuism. — pastors. Shepherds. From Lat. pascere, to pasture.

11. the Nymph, his mother. “ His mother was Daughter to John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland. We know that a Pippin grafted on a Pippin is called a Renate, as extracted from Gentil Parentage. Gardeners have a mystery by Innoculating Roses on Roses (the original, they say of the Province) to make them grow double. I could in like manner avow the double excellency of such, who are descended of Noble Ancestors.”. Φιλοφίλιπως. .

12. each other. That is, every other swain. 13. weetingly. Wittingly, knowingly.

Not. — spill. Destroy, mar. From A.-S., spillan, to destroy. Spill not the morning, the quintessen

ence of the day, in recreations.” — Fuller. “ To choose whether she would him save or spill."

Chaucer, Wife of Baths Tale. 15. “A little gall embitters a great deal of honey." — Spanish Proverb. 16. he could pipe. Compare with Lycidas, line 10. 17. somers larke, etc. Compare with Shakespeare, Cymbeline, ii. 3: –

14. Ne.

“The lark at heaven's gate sings

And Phæbus gins rise."

18. For her. For “Stella,” Penelope Devereux. See note on Astrophel, above, and note 46, below.

19. many a Nymph. Compare with Lycidas, 35.
20. prime. Spring.
Hope waits

upon the flowery prime.” Waller.

21. Woodgods. Referring doubtless to some of Sidney's companions or contemporaries. So the companions of Lycidas were fauns and satyrs. See Lycidas, 34.

22. fairest faire, etc. Euphuism again.

23. hymnes. The sonnets entitled Astrophel and Stella, in which Sidney celebrated his love for Lady Devereux. See note 46, below.

24. hardie. Resolute, brave. Compare with Chaucer :

"Hap helpeth hardy man alway.”

25. salvage. The old form of the word savage. From Lat. silva, a wood; silvaticus, belonging to a wood.

26. y'drad. Dreading, fearing. 27. doth make aboad. Doth dwell. 28. forreine soyle. Holland. See introductory note, page 50. —

forest wide. The country in the neighborhood of Flushing and Zutphen, where the battle was fought.

29. Ardeyn. Probably Ardennes, an ancient forest of great extent in the north of France. This forest is made famous in Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato (1495), and is probably the forest of Arden of Shakespeare's As You Like It:

Oli. Where will the old Duke live?

Cha. They say he is already in the Forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him; and there they live like the old Robin Hood of England."Act i., Sc. I. There was also a forest of Arden in the central part of England. But the Arden of the poets, wherever it may have been (whether Arden, Ardeyn, or Ardennes), was a product of the imagination:

“ The forest-walks of Arden's fair domain,
Where Jaques fed his solitary vein,
No pencil's aid as yet had dared supply,

Seen only by the intellectual eye." Charles Lamb.
As to the fowle Arlo, it was possibly suggested by the ancient village of
Arlon in northern France almost surrounded by the forest of Ardennes.

30. brutish nation. The Spanish. Spenser here forgets his metaphors, and lapses into literal terms and expressions.

31. dearest hale. Best welfare, safety. Akin to hale (or hail), sound, healthy, whole. From 0. E. heil.

32. heard. The poet returns to his metaphors, and the “brutish nation” becomes a “herd” of cruel beasts, a “beastly rout,” etc.

33. bale. Destruction. From A.-S. bealu, evil.

34. toyle. Ambush, trap, nets. Now commonly used in the plural, toils :

“Toils for beasts, and lime for birds were found." — Dryden. troups. Crowds. — brust. Burst.

35. Ill mynd. Unfortunate disposition. Observe the euphuism in these lines, using ill as an adjective and a noun, and mynd as a noun, a verb, and an adjective (in unmyndfull).

36. Launched his thigh. See The Lament for Adonis (page 25, line 3). Launch, to pierce as with a lance, to lance.

37. ryved. Split, cleaved asunder, rifted.
38. stound. Sudden pain. Akin to stun, stunned.
39. whiles. Meanwhile. — nets. See note 34, above.

40. to let. To hinder, or prevent. From A.-S. lettan. The same word with the opposite meaning, to permit, is from A.-S. laetan. In its

first meaning it is now obsolete except in the legal phrase, “ without let or hindrance.

41. Ah! where were ye? Compare with Lycidas, 50; with the Sorrow of Daphnis, line 3; and with Adonais, ii. 1.

See note 3, page 14. 42. dreryhead. Sorrow, dismalness drearihood :

“She grew to hideous shape of dryrihed,

Pined with grief of folly late repented." — Spenser, Muiopotmos. 43. unpitied, etc. Compare with Scott :

“And, doubly dying, shall go down,
Unwept, unhonored, and unsung."

Lay of the Last Minstrel, vi. 1.

44. thine eylids up to close. Compare with Dryden:

“On the bare earth expos'd he lies,

With not a friend to close his eyes." Alexander's Feast.

Also with Pope, Elegy on an unfortunate Lady, 49:

“No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier;

By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd.” Also with Bion's Lament for Adonis (page 21, line 12). --sort. Company. — sewing of the chace. Following the chase. The word sewing is akin to the word sue, to woo, to follow up, to pursue.

45. Tho. Then. — wild. Willed, wished. Observe the play on the words beare and biere.

46. She. Referring to “his loved lasse,” Stella (Lady Devereux). But the entire narrative that follows is purely fanciful. At the time of Sidney's death, “ Stella” had already been married to Lord Rich, and was then a widow. She soon married a second time, becoming the wife of Charles Blount whom James I. afterwards created Earl of Devonshire.

47. with sweet kisses, etc. Compare with the Lament for Adonis, (page 22, line 28).

48. forwent. Departed from, went out of. — her weary lodge. Its “ tenement of clay.”

49. turtle. See note 56, below. 50. flowre. See note 14, page 33.

51. The Pastoral Aeglogue is the fourth in the collection of poems on the death of Sir Philip Sidney. Its poetical merits are not of a high order, but it is given here rather to show its probable connection with, and influence upon, other works of the same class. Of the two shepherds

« ForrigeFortsæt »