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There did a loftie mount at first us greet,
Which did a stately heape of stones upreare,
That seemd amid the surges for to fleet,34


Such passages are not uncommon in the Minor Poems.35 type of realism, however, is much more common in the Faerie Queene, due probably to Spenser's later environment.

Although the Faerie Queene is essentially a romance, partly mediæval, partly under the influence of the sixteenth-century Italians, yet the second type of realism, comprising touches from rural life, is common and shows a tendency in Spenser to introduce, by way of simile chiefly, rustic touches where least expected. He does not do this in the fashion of Ariosto, who, with a satiric humor, dashes the reader from the height of romance into the mud of actuality, but in order to vitalize and vivify the romance, and to this end he introduces these touches in an unobtrusive fashion so that the ludicrous contrast that makes the fun behind Ariosto's mock-chivalry, is nowhere apparent in Spenser.36 36 With such subtle art are these passages woven into the poem that they are not always easy to distinguish from conventional descriptions of rural scenes; the following passages seem, however, to owe a large debt to Spenser's direct observation.

As gentle shepheard in sweete eventide ..
High on a hill, his flocke to vewen wide,
Markes which doe byte their hasty supper best;
A cloud of cumbrous gnattes doe him molest,

All striving to infixe their feeble stinges,
That from their noyance he no where can rest,

But with his clownish hands their tender wings

He brusheth oft, and oft doth mar their murmuring."

There are many touches similar in tone:

34 C. C. C. H. A., 1. 280 ff.

35 Other passages in the Minor Poems are:-In C. C. C. H. A., 11. 103 ff., 196 ff,, 214 ff.; S. C., Feb. Ec., 1. 102 ff., Julye Ec., 11. 40 ff., 80 ff., Dec. Ec., 11. 25-36, 67-72, 104 ff.; M. H. T., 11. 614, 634 ff.

36 Cf. Dodge, Spenser's Imitations from Ariosto, Pub. Mod. Lang. Assoc., XII, 151 ff.

37 F. Q., I, 1. 23. Another similar passage in the F. Q. is п, 9, 16. Other rural pictures:-of farming, ш, 7, 34; IV, 3, 29; v, 11, 11; vi, 8, 12; vï, 9, 1; II, 8, 9; of milling, 1, 11, 22; vi, 1, 21; of the smithy, I, 11, 42; v, 5, 7.


He swept them away

As doth a steare in heat of sommers day
With his long taile the bryzes brush away.3


Streight down she ranne like an enraged cow,
That is berobbed of her youngling dere."

Strangely enough in the Minor Poems such passages are uncommon. The passages in the Shepheardes Calender 40 and in Colin Clouts Come Home Againe which at first glance seem to be firsthand realism are found on further study to be merely literary conventions or at best doubtful. The following passage is one of the exceptions:

Seest howe brag yond Bulloche beares

So smirke, so smoothe, his pricked eares?
His hornes bene as broad as rainebowe bent
His dewlap as lythe as lasse of Kent.

See how he venteth to the wind . . .41

The third type, realistic description relating to people, is likewise limited almost entirely to the Faerie Queene. Such passages as that when Artegall fighting with Britomart breaks off her vizor and sees her face not a dream of beauty but very human, occur seldom in the Minor Poems:

Her face . . . unseene afore

appeared in sight,

Deawed with silver drops, through sweating sore,

But somewhat redder than beseem'd aright,

Through toylesome heate and labour of her weary fight."

38 F. Q., VI, 1, 24.

39 F. Q., V, 8, 46. Others are:-IV, 8, 36; v, 1, 29; vĩ, 11, 17.

40 This might be accounted for partly by the fact that the S. C. and C. C. C. H. A. are distinctly rural in tone, and it is almost impossible to separate any one realistic passage from a mass of conventional matter. 1 S. C., Feb. Ec. 1. 70 ff.


42 F. Q., IV, 6, 19. Others are:-1, 7, 13; ш, 5, 31; v, 5, 12; v, 11, 9; I, 1, 42-43; I, 7, 21; IV, 9, 25; V, 4, 39; V, 5, 45; VI, 2, 10; VI, 3, 26; VI, 4, 18-25; VI, 5, 4. Such passages arise possibly from an effort to vitalize romance material, possibly merely from Spenser's life in Ireland. In any case the Minor Poems are for the most part satire or occasional, and offer less chance for this type of realism.

Another plaintive and natural touch occurs where a "ladie" complains of her ill treatment:


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To take me up (as this young man did see)
Upon his steed, for no just cause accused,
But forced to trot on foot, and foule misused
Pounding me with the butt end of his speare.“

And again the love-sick youth:—

evermore his speach he did apply

To th' heards, but meant it to the damzels fantazy."

The fourth type of realism containing homely touches introduced by a mere word or two occurs frequently both in the Minor Poems and in the Faerie Queene:


And were not hevenly grace, that him did blesse,
He had beene pouldred all, as thin as flowre.**

They inly grieve. . .


as doth an hidden moth,

The inner garment frett, not th❜utter touch."

But he is old, and withered like hay.“8

And yet again:

They hew'd their helmes, and plates asunder brake,

As they had potshares bene.“

Such passages are also very frequent in some of the Minor Poems.50

43 F. Q., VI, 2, 12.

44 F. Q., VI, 2, 22.

45 F. Q., VI, 9, 12. Other examples are:-1, 9, 21; v, 6, 11-14; VI, 8, 5, 37; VI, 9, 38-39; VII, 7, 34.

46 F. Q., I, 7, 12.

47 F. Q., II, 2, 34.

48 F. Q., ш, 9, 5.

49 F. Q., VI, 1, 37. Other examples are:-1, 4, 21, 22, 28, 35; 1, 6, 11; I, 9, 29; II, 1, 45; II, 4, 24; II, 5, 30; п, 7, 16; п, 9, 13; п, 11, 19; п, 12, 25; I, 1, 15; m, 5, 39; IV, 5, 45; IV, 10, 25; v, 5, 8; v, 7, 9; v, 8, 35; v, 9, 19; v, 11, 47; VI, 4, 14; VI, 7, 42; VI, 8, 16; VI, 10, 34; vi, 12, 26; VII, 6, 43; sixteenth century touches:-1, 11, 30; VI, 8, 9.

50 There are doubtless many more examples than these I have noted, but it will be very hard to distinguish the real from the traditional, until the material which is being drawn from the research in the fields of pastoral and historic tradition is more complete.

Take, for example, an effort at local color from the Shepheardes Calender:


Tho would I seeke for queene apples unrype
To give my Rosalind.51

With bowe and bolts 52 in either hand

Thomalin goes a-hunting:

I shott at him with might and maine,
As thicke as it had hayled.

So long I shott that al was spent:
Tho pumie stones I hastly hent,
And threw; but nought availed.

He . . . oft the pumies latched.53

The colloquialisms which constitute another type of realism (type 5) are found practically only in the Shepheardes Calender, where the subject matter is suited to rustic conversations, for example:


I deeme thy braine emperished bee

Through rusty elde, that hath rotted thee;
Or sicker thy head veray tottie is,

So on thy corbe shoulder it leanes amisse.54

So longe have I listened to thy speche
That graffed to the ground is my breche.55

And in the August Eclogue occurs the passage:

Herdgrome, I fear me thou have a squint eye,
Areede uprightly, who hath the victory?

51 June Ec., 1. 43 ff.


52 Bird-bolt, a blunt-headed arrow used for shooting birds in the time of Elizabeth.

53 March Ec., 11. 65, 85 ff. Other examples are:-Jan. Ec. 1. 58 ff.; March Ec., 1. 20; April Ec., 11. 132, 151 ff.; Aug. Ec., 11. 46 ff.; Nov. Ec., 11, 95 ff. 5.S. C., Feb. Ec., 1. 53 ff.

55 8. C., Feb. Ec., 1. 241 ff.

56 Aug. Ec., 11. 129 ff. Other examples are:-Feb. Ec., 1. 40 ff.; May Ec., 1. 35 ff.; Aug. Ec., 11. 2 ff.; Sept. Ec., 11. 164 ff.; C. C. C. H. A., 11. 291 ff. The elements of pure realism in the S. C., as opposed to mere archaicisms, tend to serve the same purpose. Cf. J. W. Draper, J. of E. and G. P., Dec., 1919.

The last type of realism,-descriptions satiric in tone of court, clerical, and other walks in life, drawn, it might be supposed, from the personal experience 57 of Spenser, occur occasionally in the Faerie Queene, but are most numerous in some of the Minor Poems, particularly in Mother Hubberds Tale and Colin Clouts Come Home Againe.58 The passages might of course arise merely from satiric tradition, but there is a ring of sincerity in them which would lead one to believe them drawn from Spenser's personal experience such a satiric passage on court life as:

For, sooth to say it is no sort of life

For shepheard fit to lead in that same place
Where each one seeks with malace and with strife
To thrust downe other into foule disgrace
Himself to raise; and he doth soonest rise
That best can handle his deceitful wit
To subtil shifts, and finest sleights devise,
Either by slaundering his well deemed name,
Through leasings lewd and fained forgerie,
Or else by breeding him some blot of blame,
By creeping close into his secrecie;

To which him needs a guilefull hollow hart,
Masked with faire dissembling curtesie

A filed toung furnisht with tearmes of art,
No art of schoole, but courtiers schoolery.5o

In Mother Hubberds Tale, the satire is chiefly directed against church and court. The priest meeting the ape and the fox discourses on the joys and ease of clerical life:

It's now a dayes, ne halfe so streight and sore.

They whilome used duly everie day

Their service and their holie things to say.

He then tells them how to get a benefice by altering themselves handsomely and applying to some "one great in the worldes eye," and so on.60

57 C. C. C. H. A., 11. 27 ff.

58 C. C. C. H. A., according to Dodge (Introd. to Cambridge Ed.) is "the record of the poet's expedition to England with Raleigh in 1589 and of what he found there at court."

59 C. C. C. H. A., 11. 688-702. Other satiric passages in C. C. C. H. A., on the court are:-11. 680-688, 702-730, 735-775; on love:-11, 775-793.

6o M. H. T., 11. 448 ff. Other satiric passages in M. H. T. are:—on the clergy, 11. 337-550, particularly 11. 337-395, 451-478, 488-525. The strain

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