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4- S (a . \ A-. r j 

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From the 


Bequeathed by 


In memory of his father 

Clan of 1828 

Columbia ffitoi&ersfitg 

VOL. n 




80-82 West 27th Stbxkt 


Amkn Cornbr, E.G. 







Nttn Ifork 



ilW rights reserved 

X. (4. 

CoPYBIQHT, 1908, 


Set up and clcctrotyped. Published September, 1903. Reprinted 
June, 1905. 

Nortooot) $hrtJf 

J. 8. Cnihing ft Co. — B«nrIok ft Smith Go. 

Norwood, Mam., U.SJL 

Bin jpemoriam 


Chi in la mente m* ejitta, ed or mi accora, 
La cara e buona imagine paterna 

Di voi, quando nel mondo ad ora ad ora 
M* insegnavate come V uom «' eterna. 


This study was submitted in partial fulfilment 
of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy in Columbia University. It was un- 
dertaken at the suggestion of the late Professor 
Thomas R. Price, who called the author's attention 
to the lack of systematic information concerning 
the history and the nature of lyric poetry in gen- 
eral, and especially of the Elizabethan lyric. The 
student must depend for his knowledge of the 
greatest song-period in English literature upon 
occasional pamphlets, dealing with only parts of 
the subject, upon introductions to anthologies, or 
upon scattered passages in the large histories. It 
is the aim of this study to supply a chronological 
survey of the English lyric in Elizabeth's time, 
and to relate its principal movements and themes 
to one another. 

In dealing with the song-books, the author was 
struck by the indifference or the ignorance of lit- 
erary historians in regard to the true nature of 
madrigal music, and its influence upon the lyric. 
It would seem that no historian of this period has 
had the twofold interest in music and in literature 
which is necessary for a complete understanding 
of any songs. The author has called the reader's 


attention to the points of contact of the two arts 
throughout the Elizabethan lyric ; and in reference 
to the song-books especially, it is his hope to give 
a clearer exposition of the relation of the music 
and the words than, so far as he knows, has been 
given before. 

Since there is no real end to the development of 
the Elizabethan lyric, it was necessary to limit this 
study by an arbitrary date, and the death of Shak- 
spere, in 1616, is taken as a convenient stopping- 
place. Some familiar lyrists, usually considered 
as late Elizabethans, are here omitted ; in each case 
their absence seems to the author justified by the 
limits of the book. Donne, for example, is omitted 
because the spirit of his verse illustrates the seven- 
teenth century rather than the sixteenth, and any 
adequate consideration of him would involve a 
discussion of the " metaphysicians." 

In the preparation of this book the author in- 
curred many debts of gratitude, which he is glad 
to acknowledge. He would thank the officials of 
the Columbia Library for unusual privileges in the 
use of books, and for their readiness to aid him in 
many other thoughtful ways. To Dr. William A. 
Nitze, of the Eomance Department, he is indebted 
for the use of rare books and for other assistance. 
He would also thank Professor C. L. Speranza, of 
the same Department, for books most cheerfully 
placed at his disposal, and for continued inspi- 
ration and help throughout his studies. And he 
acknowledges with pleasure the courteous informa- 
tion in regard to one phase of the Elizabethan lyric 


which he received from Professor J. B. Fletcher 
of Harvard University. 

To the faculty of the English Department at 
Columbia the author is under heavy obligations. 
Professor W. P. Trent and Professor Brander Mat- 
thews rendered valuable assistance by their correc- 
tions and suggestions in the proof-sheets. Professor 
Trent, who directed the preparation of this book, 
put his time and his scholarship at the author's 
disposal with a generosity that only the author is 
in position to appreciate. 

When this preface was first written, the author 
here added a last word of gratitude and love for 
Professor Price, his master and friend, who sug- 
gested this study and inspired many of its lead- 
ing ideas. The words of admiration which were 
natural then, would now sound less fitting ; death 
makes such praise seem idle. But the love and 
gratitude remain. This book will be read most 
kindly by those who knew Professor Price; may 
it represent him not unworthily to others. 

Columbia University, 
June 9, 1903. 



Lyrical Quality and Lyric Form 


The Greek use of "lyric" 1 

Modern uses 2 

Relation of music to language in practical song . . 4 

The subjective lyric 7 

Definitions of lyric form 

The lyric stimulus 11 

Lyric unity 14 

The lyrical idyl 15 

Lyric development .17 

The Lyrio in England before the Miscellanies 

The Anglo-Saxon elegiac lyric 20 

The riddles 22 

The charms 23 

The religious lyric 25 

The patriotic lyric 26 

The subjective lyric 27 

The religious lyric after the Conquest .... 28 

French or Latin lines combined with English . . 30 

The Norman-French lyric 32 

Songs to the Virgin 34 

Love songs . 35 

Lawrence Minot 88 

The Welsh lyric 89 




Chaucer 42 

Charles d'Orleans . 48 

Lydgate .48 

Occleve 49 

The dramatic religious lyric 49 

Henryson 61 

Skelton 62 

Dunbar 63 

Hawes '. .... 64 


Lyric Themes and Lyrical Quality in the 

Manuscript miscellanies 66 

The patriotic lyric 67 

The moral lyric 67 

Love plaints 69 

The pastourelle 61 

Christmas carols 66 

TotteV s Miscellany 71 

Wyatt 71 

Surrey 76 

Grimald 79 

Paradise of Dainty Devices .81 

The Gorgeous Gallery 84 

Narrative titles 86 

Handful of Pleasant Delights 86 

Practical songs 87 

The Phcenix Nest 89 

Art lyrics 90 

England's Helicon 92 

Sidney, Spenser, and others 92 

The epithalamium 95 

Davison's Poetical Rhapsody 96 

The small number of lyrical themes in the miscellanies 9< 


Other Lyrists of the Miscellany Period 


Googe 98 

Turberville 101 

Gascoigne 102 

Churchyard 105 

Spenser, Shepheards Calender 106 

The roundelay 109 

The Greek elegy 110 

The lyric in the Romances 116 

Greene 116 

His three styles . . 117 

Lodge 119 

His word-painting 120 

Nicholas Breton 121 

Sidney, Arcadia 122 


The Sonnet-Series 

Watson, Hekatompathia 125 

Constable, Spiritual Sonnets 128 

Sidney, Astrophel and Stella 128 

Classification of Sonnets 129 

The songs 132 

Daniel, Delia 134 

Resemblance to Shakspere's sonnets . . . .137 

Constable, Diana 140 

Barnes, Parthenophil and Parthenophe . . .141 

Watson, Tears of Fancie 144 

Giles Fletcher, Licia 145 

Lodge, Phillis 147 

Drayton, Idea 149 

Percy, Caslia 150 

Zepheria 151 



Barnfleld, Ganymede 152 

Spenser, Amoretti 163 

Barnes, Divine Centurie 168 

Emaricdulfe 169 

Sir John Davies, Gulling Sonnets .... 169 

Linche, Diella 160 

Griffin, Fidessa 162 

Smith, Chloris 163 

Tofte, Alba 164 

Rogers, Sonnets on the Death of the Countess of 

Hertford 166 

Sir John Davies, Astroea 165 

Alexander, Aurora 166 

Shakspere, Sonnets '167 


Other Ltbists of the Sonnet Period 

Spenser, Daphnaida 176 

Complaints 177 

Drayton, Harmony of the Church . . . .181 

Shepheards Garland 182 

Southwell, St Peter's Complaint .... 184 

Astrophel . 187 

Spenser, Epithalamium 189 

Four Hymns 193 

Prothalamium 196 

Barofield, Encomium of Lady Pecunia . . .196 

Passionate Pilgrim 197 

Francis Thynne, Emblems 200 

Campion, Art of English Poesy 201 

Drayton, Poems Lyrick and Pastor all . . . 202 

Chapman 202 

William Browne, Britannia 1 s Pastorals . . . 203 

Shepherd's Pipe 206 


The Song-books 


Madrigal music 207 

Effect on literary form 211 

Byrd, Psalms, Sonnets, and Songs . . . . 213 

Musica Transalpina 214 

Watson, Italian Madrigals Englished .... 216 

Morley, Canzonets 217 

Other song-books 218 

Dowland, First Book of Airs . . . . 224 

Popularization of madrigal music .... 224 

The airs 226 

Effect on literary form 226 

Thomas Campion 230 

Triumphs of Oriana 240 


The Lyric in the Drama 

The Mysteries ; the constructive lyric .... 244 

The ornamental lyric 246 

The musical equipment of Elizabethan actors . . 248 

The academic drama ; the classic chorus . . . 260 

Balph Roister Bolster 251 

Lusty Juventus 263 

Oorboduc 264 

Qammer Qurton's Needle 264 

Other dramas 266 

Lyly 268 

Peele 262 

Nashe 264 

Kyd 266 

Dekker 267 

Shakspere 267 

Jonson 272 

Beaumont and Fletcher 274 


Metrical Fobms in the Elizabethan Lyric 


The Petrarchan sonnet . . . . . 276 

The English sonnet ....... 276 

The "poulter!s measure" 277 

The rispetto 277 

The terza rima 278 

The rime royal 278 

Elaborate and irregular stanzas 279 

Anapestic and dactylic lines 280 

Refrains 281 

Verses of one accent 281 

Inverted rimes 282 

Classical meters 283 

The madrigal 283 

The quatrain and couplet 284 

The sestina 285 

Greene's use of syncopated feet 288 

Sidney's expanded sonnet 290 

Hisdisaine 291 

His classic meters 291 

Watson's expanded sonnet 292 

Barnes's expanded sonnet 294 

The canzone 295 


Conclusion 297 


Chronology of the Elizabethan Lyric . . . 305 

Bibliography 313 

Index 331 





The Lyric 

The word lyric is used to define both a literary- 
quality and a poetic form ; as when we speak, in 
the first sense, of a lyric drama, and in the second, 
of the Elizabethan lyric. In both these uses of the 
word there is considerable vagueness. When we 
speak of lyrical quality, the vagueness comes from 
a shifting point of view in the critical history of the 
word. The Greeks of Aristotle's time applied to 
the class of poetry known to us as lyric three dis- 
tinguishing names : " elegiac," to poems in alternate 
hexameters and pentameters, "melic" or "lyric," 
to the poetry sung to the lyre by the single voice, 
and " choric," to the poetry intended for expression 
by several voices. Such distinctions — which Aris- 
totle himself found to be inadequate * — are obvi- 

l " Even when a treatise on medicine or natural science is 
brought out in verse, the name of poet is by custom given to the 
author ; and yet Homer and Efmpedocles have nothing in com- 
mon but the meter." Aristotle's Poetics, I. 8, translated by 
S. H. Butcher. 


B 1 


ously based on external differences, not on the 
subject-matter of the poems. It is not hard to 
imagine a reason. In an early stage of poetic art, 
when poetry is sung or recited, the external form 
and the manner of delivery are easiest caught, and 
to them the critical attention, leaving the subject- 
matter but roughly classed, directs itself. At first 
the critic is justified in this ; for if the art become 
highly developed, as in the Provencal lyric, while 
still it is confined to oral recitation, the ingenuity 
of the poet, dependent for subject-matter upon 
familiar and conventional themes, busies itself with 
variations of the external form. But when poetry 
is read on the page, rather than recited, the external 
form becomes less important, and the critic turns to 
the subject-matter. So, to illustrate the transition, 
when the Greeks called poetry lyrical, they had in 
mind the oral recitation to the accompaniment of 
the lyre ; when the critic of to-day uses the word, he 
is often describing the subject-matter. 

But the old significance is still strong in the 
word. To most people a lyric means a song — that 
is, a poem that needs for its complete expression, a 
musical setting. 1 We also call that poetry lyrical 

1 " Song, in its most general acceptation, is defined to be the 
expression of a sentiment, sensation or image, the description 
of an action, or the narration of an event, by words differently- 
measured, and attached to certain sounds, which we call melody 
or tune." Jos. Ritson, An Historical Essay on the Origin and 
Progress of National Song, prefixed to Ritson's English Songs, 


which, while complete in itself, suggests an original 
accompaniment of music. And with neither of 
these meanings in our thought, we sometimes 
call that poetry lyrical which expresses directly 
the quality of inusic ; x which by the sound of the 
phrase, or by the suggestion of the word, or by the 
mere connotation of ideas, produces the emotional 
effect of music. It will be observed that all these 
shades of meaning are allied with the Greek idea, 
the traditional association of music with the poem 
sung by one person. We should also note that they 
include the choric idea; we now apply the word 
lyric, in our common use, indifferently to the 
expression of individual or of choric personality. 

It is unnecessary to* state that the modern lyric, 
with the exception of the hymn, does not presup- 
pose a musical rendering. Yet as late as Words- 
worth the tradition of oral recitation persisted. 
Speaking of his own poetry he says : 2 " Some of 
these pieces are essentially lyrical ; and, therefore, 
cannot have their due force without a supposed 
musical accompaniment ; but, in much the greatest 
part, as a substitute for the classic lyre or romantic 
harp, I require nothing more than an animated or 
impassioned recitation, adapted to the subject." 
The average critical idea of to-day, however, is 

1 Brunetiere, essay on Victor Hugo, Revue des Deux Monde 8, 
April 15, 1902. 

3 Preface, 1815-1846. Prose Works of William Wordsworth, 
W. Knight, 1896, ii. p. 207. 


expressed by M. Brunetifcre, in his theory of the 
"inward song," chant interieur 1 ; our lyrics, he 
says, sing themselves in the heart, not on the tongue ; 
the imagination supplies the physical effect, just as 
it does when we read a drama. Yet even if oral 
recitation of the lyric be largely a thing of the past, 
for most people the lyric is still tested by the ear 
rather than by the eye. Intricate structure can in- 
deed best be seen on the page, but even there only 
a trained eye can see it. To the general reader 
Tennyson's idyl in the Princess is charming by vir- 
tue of its " moan of doves in immemorial elms/ 9 not 
on account of its remarkable structure. 2 

Since the arts of music and poetry start together 
and complement each other in the early lyric, we 
are led to consider where and why they separated. 
In the first place, ifc is remarkable that where we 
have remains of an early song literature, as in Greece, 
Provence, or Germany, it is not the music that has 
come down to us, but the words. It is not a sufficient 
explanation to say that music, being dependent for 
its growth largely upon mechanical inventions, has 
developed as an art much more slowly than poetry, 
and is not so easily preserved. As we have noticed, 
in an oral song literature, the themes treated are 
largely conventional, and in the process of trans* 

1 Essay on Victor Hugo, Revue des Deux Mondes, April 15, 

2 Cf . Professor Brander Matthews, An Inquiry as to Rime, in 
Parts of Speech, 1901, p. 245. 


mission from one generation of poets to another, 
have every chance of preservation. But in order 
to suit the constant resetting of stanza-forms, as 
each poet treats in his own way the familiar themes, 
the music must continually vary, and so can hardly 
become as conventional as the words. It can iden- 
tify itself with each lyric idea only by reserving for 
that idea some particular rhythm ; or at the most, 
by the use of different modes, as in the Greek, it 
can lend the theme a characteristic emotional color. 
But words also are capable of producing these ef- 
fects of rhythm and tonality, and as the traditional 
themes went through the process of transmission 
and reworking, gradually arriving at a complete 
art-form, they caught more and more of the quality 
of their musical accompaniment. Here the final 
separation begins. Words and music remain on 
good terms only so long as each does not invade the 
special art of the other. When the words supply ""\ 
the idea, and the music furnishes the emotion, and 
both compromise on a common theme, as in all 
hymns, we have the practical song-lyric. But when 
the music attempts to express both emotion and 
idea, as in the symphonic poem, or when words take 
on the cadence of music, as they often do, then each 
art, to be enjoyed in its specialty, must be heard 
alone. 1 It is a familiar phenomenon, that when 

1 " I once asked an eminent musician, the late Madame 
Goldschmidt, why Shelley's lyrics were ill-adapted to music. 
She made .me read aloud to her the Song of Pan and those 


words are joined to music, the verbal melody is lost 
in the notes ; and in the same way, though it does 
not concern us here, music loses any particular in- 
tellectual message it may have, when joined with 
words. So when the poets of an early literature, 
handing down their lyric themes, begin to add 
musical quality to the bare words, they are begin- 
ning an art which they can appreciate without the 
aid of music ; and from that moment the words are 
likely to be heard alone. Ignorance of this principle 
has caused many a failure when great poets have 
written words for music. A good example is Tenny- 
son's "Far — far — away," a song that is almost 
impossible for musical setting, because it is already 
so musical. The Elizabethan song-writers, under- 
standing the principle, were content, at least in the 
earlier period, to leave the emotional expression to 
the music. When Campion wrote at a later time, 
the appreciation of song-words for their own sake 
was matured, and his songs have high musical 
quality; it is not surprising that they were fre- 
quently reprinted without the music. How rough 
some of the famous Elizabethan songs were, in 
cases where the functions of words and music were 

lovely lines To the Nighty 'Swiftly walk over the western 
wave, Spirit of Night ! ' Then she pointed out how the verbal 
melody was intended to be self-sufficing in these lyrics, how full 
of complicated thoughts and changeful images the verse is, how 
packed with consonants the words are, how the tone of the 
emotion alters, and how no one melodic phrase could be found 
to fit the daedal woof of the poetic emotion." Essays Specula- 
tive and Suggestive, J. A. Symonds, ii. pp. 261-252. 


distinguished, is seen in the song of Thomas 
Weelkes, one of the greatest madrigal writers: — 

" Thule, the period of cosmographie, 
Doth vaunt of Hecla, whose sulphurious fire 
Doth melt the frozen clime and thaw the skie, 
Trinacrian JEtna's flames ascend not higher/ 1 etc. 

The best modern example of the practical rela- 
tion of words and music is the hymn. The hymns 
that survive in use are invariably simple, bare ideas 
set to easy music. When the words happen to 
come from a great poet, and take on complicated 
stanza-form or variable rhythm, they are in the 
main relegated to collections of poems, and left 

As was said before, the Greeks had several terms 
for the general class of poetry we call lyric, their 
use of that particular word being confined to songs 
for one voice, accompanied by the lyre. Judging 
even by that external mark, we can see that the 
songs of one voice were likely to be more individual, 
more personal, than those voiced by a multitude, as 
in choric poetry. The direct, personal expression, 
then, is latent in all lyric poetry, even in the Greek 
sense of Hie word ; in some kinds of poetry it would 
seem to have been always a convention, as in reli- 
gious addresses to a divinity, or lovers' songs to their 
mistresses. As the personal note grows stronger, 
the choral or communal quality tends to disappear. 
This evolution, as has been shown before, 1 is due 

l Gummere, Beginnings of Poetry, p. 147. 


to social developments and changes in civilization, 
which help the poet to depend less upon the com- 
munity for ideas and opportunities to express them, 
and more upon himself. The invention of print- 
ing, 1 to name no other example, gave poets a certain 
boldness necessary to subjective expression, hardly 
to be expected in an oral revelation of themselves. 
The Renascence, with all its impulses to personal, 
subjective expression, developed the possibilities 
of the lyric; and the critic of to-day, forced to 
look for the distinguishing trait of poetry, not in 
external differences but in the subjective matter, 
finds the mark of lyric poetry in this quality of 
direct, personal utterance. 2 The musical connota- 
tions of the term have a very subordinate position, 
and often are not felt at all. 

Though the poet's personality, directly expressed, 
is the mark of the modern subjective lyric, the 
poet's presence in the poem is not always equally felt. 
The subjective note may take a more or less dramatic 
form. The simplest and most direct expression 
may be seen in what has been called the first Eng- 
lish lyric, " Sumer is icumen in," 8 where the poet, 
uttering his joy spontaneously, seems unconscious 

1 Gummere, Old English Ballads, p. xi. 

2 "Wir bezeichnen die lyrische Poesie als die subjective; 
eubjectiv aber nennen wir einmal das personliche Seelenleben 
im Unterschied der Aussenwelt und den Dingen." Die Poesie % 
Moriz Carriere, 1884, p. 367. " Unser Sprachgebrauch ist . . . 
wenn der Dichter von sich redet, es ein Lied zu nennen, wenn 
er von Andern redet, eine Ballade." Sherer, Poetik, p. 249. 

• Ritaon, Ancient Songs and Ballads, i. p. 10. 


of any audience. A more complicated form is Love- 
lace's "Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind/' 1 in which, 
though the poet speaks directly, a situation is indi- 
cated that involves another character besides his 
own. The most dramatic form of lyric, in which 
the poet makes use of other characters to express 
his emotions, is well shown in Scott's song, " Proud 
Maisie is in the Wood." * 

These, then, are the different meanings critics 
have attached to lyrical quality. The earliest use 
had in mind the musical accompaniment that the 
word suggests; the modern habit finds the char- 
acteristic note in subjective expression. The change 
came over English poetry finally at the Renascence, 
and is comprehensively illustrated by the lyric lit- 
erature from Wyatt to Herbert. In English criti- 
cism, however, the new point of view was slow to 
find a reflection ; the Elizabethan critics, following 
the classical tradition, used " lyric " only with the 
idea of musical quality or accompaniment. 8 

So much for lyrical quality. Lyric form, 4 how- 
ever, is much more difficult to define. The vague- 
ness of the term comes, not as in the case of lyrical 
quality, from a shifting point of view in criticism, 

1 Palgrave's Golden Treasury, p. 88. a Ibid., p. 258. 

* See Puttenham, Art of English Poesie, Arber Reprint, p. 40 ; 
Sidney, Apologie for Poetrie, Arber Reprint, p. 46; Campion, 
Art of English Poesie, Haslewood, 1815, p. 181. 

4 The term " lyric form " in this study is used to describe not 
the stanza bat the internal structure ; much as one might, speak 
of " dramatic form," meaning the motivation and development 
of the action. Exceptions to this use will be made explicit. 


but rather from an almost total neglect on the part 
of all critics. Aristotle told exactly what the drama 
is, but said nothing of the lyric. In English litera- 
ture the only contributions to this subject, small as 
they are, come from compilers of song-anthologies, 
who have found themselves at a loss to distinguish 
between the true lyric and the abundance of poetry 
that has lyrical quality. Having formulated a work- 
ing rule of their own, they sometimes give it to 
their readers, for what it may be worth. Eitson 
was probably the first song-anthologist to do this, 
and his chief success was to distinguish between 
the narrative ballad and the song — a distinction 
he arrived at by defining the ballad rather than the 
lyric. 1 An important attempt to define lyric form is 
Palgrave's, who holds "lyrical" to imply "that 
each poem shall turn on some single thought, feel- 
ing, or situation." 2 This definition indicates briefly 
what might be called the " lyric unit." The funda- 
mental trait of the lyric form, as distinguished 
from narrative, is unity of emotion, corresponding 
to unity of action in the drama. As in the drama 
the poet is concerned with the expression of human 
will, stimulated to action by some situation of love 
or ambition or jealousy, etc., so in the lyric he 

1 Prefatory essay to English Songs, 2d ed., 1813, p. i. 
note: "With us, songs of sentiment, expression, or even de- 
scription, are properly termed songs, in contradistinction to 
mere narrative compositions, which we now denominate 

2 Golden Treasury, Preface. 


busies himself with the expression of human emo- 
tion, having its origin and development in some 
stimulus of nature, of accident, or of thought. But 
here the parallel stops. As soon as a drama is put 
in motion, the stimulus or motive is absorbed into 
the action ; when the first step is taken, it becomes 
the reason for the second step, and the second step 
becomes the reason for the third, and so on until 
the inevitable catastrophe. In the lyric, however, 
the stimulus remains distinct in the foreground, 
giving rise to the emotion and controlling its devel- 
opment. Again, in narrative or dramatic forms, 
some preparation is necessary before the stimulus 
is introduced that begins the action. The lyric, on 
the other hand, when properly constructed, begins 
with the stimulus, and when the resulting emotion 
subsides, it must end. Examples will be noticed, 
however, where the song ends before the emotion 
subsides. Where the poet is a master of his art, 
such an ending is accounted for by the particular 
effect he is seeking. 

The number of ways in which the stimulus may 
be presented is infinite, but the necessity is always 
the same — to get before the hearer the cause of 
the poet's emotion. This is accomplished often by 
a description or an invocation, as : — 

" Thou still unravished bride of quietness." 
or: — 
44 O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being ! " 


Sometimes the poet merely suggests the situation 
in which his emotion found its stimulus, as : — 

"Tell me not, Sweet, I am unkind," 
or: — 

" Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more." 

Or in still another way, the poet may simply state 
the idea that has stirred him to song, as : — 

" Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments." 

or, again : — 

44 Who will believe my verse in time to come, 
If it were filled with your most high deserts ? " 

An examination of these examples will show 
the rather obvious fact that the stimulus to lyri- 
cal emotion may be found in almost any part of 
human experience; these particular illustrations 
being taken from the realm of nature and art — 
the observed world, from the realm of human 
incident, and from the realm of thought. In all 
of them a constant law seems to be in evidence, 
I that lyric emotion, in order to express itself intel- 
ligibly, must first reproduce the cause of its ex- 
\A -y istence. If the poet will go into ecstasies over a 
u ia v Grecian urn, to justify himself he must first show 

us the urn. In this point poetry differs widely 
from music, which, free from the intellectual inten- 
tion implied in any use of words, appeals directly 
to the senses, and is its own emotional stimulus. 
A musician may be profoundly stirred by the 


sight of a Grecian urn ; if so, his art is adequate 
to express his emotions, though he is unable to 
suggest the appearance of the urn that inspired 
him. But Keats, moved by the same subject, 
must first picture to us the stimulus, and then we 
understand his emotion. This distinction between 
the laws of lyric poetry and of music is important, 
because it explains the success of many songs 
that, until they are sung, are intellectually and 
emotionally ineffective. Read as poetry, they 
fail to offer us any stimulus ; when set to music, — 
an art that supplies its own sensuous excitement, 
— they find a proper use as mere syllables, making 
possible a variety in the singer's intonation. 

A distinction should be made between the emo- 
tional stimulus of a lyric and its subject. The 
emotional stimulus refers always to the non-intel- 
lectual part of the poem, though the intellectual, 
element results from it. Excellent illustrations 
are two lyrics of Sir Philip Sidney, the sonnet 
beginning : — 

" High-way, since you my chief Parnassus be," 

and the song : — 

" The nightingale, as soon as April bringeth." 

In each case the emotional stimulus and the sub- 
ject are quite distinct. The stimulus in the first 
example is the roadway along which the poet 
rides; in the. second case it is the nightingale. 


But the subject — the intellectual message — of 
both poems, is the poet's love. 

The law of unity is as natural and inexorable 
in lyric emotion as it is in dramatic action. The 
lyric stimulus sets the tone or quality of the 
emotion, and controls it till the end. For example, 
to refer again to Keats, the Ode on the Grecian 
Urn takes its classic reserve, its plastic quality, 
from the stimulus it so continually contemplates; 
or, to state it differently, by keeping the reader's 
eye fixed upon the urn, the poet makes him feel 
the emotional value of the poem in terms of plastic 
quality. On the "same principle, though with a 
different manner, Shelley's Ode to the West Wind 
reproduces the emotional effect of the wind, which 
it keeps present before our thought. If the origi- 
nal stimulus does not so control and sustain the 
emotion, the lyric either breaks down entirely, or 
else separates into fragments, each a complete lyric 
unit in itself. This last condition is well seen in 
Jonson's lines to Celia : — 

" Drink to me only with thine eyes." 

The two stanzas have the same subject, — a courtly 
profession of love, — but each has its own emotional 
stimulus, and is a song by itself. The poet's 
message would be rendered by either stanza alone, 
or with their order reversed. 

The obvious inference from this law of emo- 
tional continuity is that, where the. lyric stimulus 


is an idea, or an intellectual proposition, the lyric 
is likely to take on a strongly meditative or philo- 
sophical character. With a large intellectual ele- 
ment in such poems, it is not surprising that 
though they often have verbal sweetness, they 
rarely show spontaneous song-quality. They are 
classed as lyrics, not in the musical sense of the 
Greeks, but on account of their direct expression, 
the " subjectivity " taken as a standard by modern 
critics. Some of Shakspere's sonnets, and many 
songs written in England under Petrarchan influ- 
ence, illustrate this tendency of the intellect to 
lower the temperature of the lyrical emotion. 

The. test, then, of lyrical quality is the twofold 
historic standard of musical origin and of direct 
subjective expression. The test of lyric form is 
first, the unity of the emotion resulting from the 
lyric stimulus, and secondly, the formative effect 
of the stimulus upon the development of the 

Judged by such standards, many long poems, 
which in quality are undoubtedly lyrical, in form 
should be considered a series of lyric units rather 
than one song. This is true of all poems built up, 
in the idyllic manner, by a series of pictures. 
Where a poem deals with but one picture, however 
highly wrought, of course all the requirements of 
the single lyric may be fulfilled. But in the longer 
idyls, whenever the poet directs the reader's at- 
tention to a new picture, he introduces a new lyric 


stimulus and begins what we may for critical pur- 
poses regard as a new song. A good example 
is the Epithalamium of Spenser, a poem as lyrical, 
so far as quality goes, as any in our literature. 
But in form it is an idyl. All the incidents and 
phases of the poet's wedding-day are treated, 
picture by picture, each in a separate stanza, and 
many different motives of love poetry are intro- 
duced. The poet describes the dawn, with a prayer 
to his mistress to awake (the ancient chanson d' 
aubade) ; he describes the singing of the birds that 
greet her when she rises ; the minstrels and bridal 
choir that escort her when she comes forth; her 
personal appearance; the church as she enters; 
the scene at the altar, etc. Even within the single 
picture, the lyric mood is sometimes interrupted, 
as in the eleventh stanza, where the poet turns 
aside to preach decorum: — 

" With trembling steps, and humble reverence, 
She commeth in, before th' Almighties view ; 
Of her ye virgins learne obedience, 
When so ye come into those holy places, 
To humble your proud faces : 
Bring her up to th' high altar," etc. 

The poet has preserved a certain feeling of unity 
by the natural order of his scenes, reproducing the 
marriage day in sequence, from dawn to midnight. 
There is also a unity of mood throughout, derived 
from the poet's constant ecstasy of love and joy. 
But on the formal side, the poem is a series of 


lyric units, not one song. However lyrical in 
quality such poems may be, the typical song is 

Almost more important, however, than the unity 
of lyrical emotion, is the proper developmen t of it. 
A lyric is too short or too long, according as the 
emotion is thwarted in its development, or fails to 
sustain the thought. The test of a lyrist's art is 
the judgment with which he proportions the length 
to the force of the emotion. 1 

Speaking broadly, all successful lyrics have three 
parts. In the first the emotional stimulus is given 
— the object, the situation, or the thought from 
which the song arises. In the second part the 
emotion is developed to its utmost capacity, until 
as it begins to flag the intellectual element reas- 
serts itself. In the third part, the emotion is 
finally resolved into a thought, a mental resolution, 
or an attitude. The process of such a lyric illus- 
trates the natural transition from a stimulated 
emotional state to a restoration of the normal con- 
dition of mind. This law of lyric expression is 
most often violated, among skilful writers, in the 
case of idyllic songs, like Tennyson's " Tears, idle 
tears," in which the interest is in the little pictures. 
Here the emotion is but gently stimulated, and not 
developed at all. Such lyrics have little or no 

1 Cf. Poe's theory, in the essay on the Poetic Principle, that 
any poem to have unity must end with the subsidence of the 
reader's attention. Works, Stedman and Woodberry, vi. p. 3 aq. 


structural organism, as may be seen by transposing 
or omitting several of the stanzas. 

A good illustration of the properly constructed 
lyric is Matthew Arnold's fifth poem to Marguerite, 
in the Switzerland series. The first stanza gives 
the lyric stimulus in the conception of human life 
as an individual separation : — 

u Yes ! in the sea of life enisled, 
With echoing straits between us thrown, 
Dotting the shoreless watery wild, 
We mortal millions live alone. 
The islands feel the enclasping flow, 
And then their endless bounds they know." 

In the second and third stanzas the emotion is 
developed by a study of "enisled" souls under 
different conditions. The contrast in the second 
stanza is sufficient to arouse intellectual specula- 
tion, which finds expression in the third stanza : — 

" But when the moon their hollows lights, 
And they are swept by balms of spring, 
And in their glens on starry nights, 
The nightingales divinely sing ; 
And lovely notes, from shore to shore, 
Across the sounds and channels pour — 

" Oh ! then a longing like despair 
Is to their farthest caverns sent ; 
For surely once, they feel, we were 
Parts of a single continent 1 
Now round us spreads the watery plain — 
Oh might our marges meet again ! " 


In the last stanza this emotional conflict is resolved 
into an attitude of awe toward a superior and 
controlling order — an attitude that is intellectual 
rather than emotional: — 

" Who ordered that their longing's fire 
Should be as soon as kindled, cooled ? 
Who renders vain their deep desire ? — 
A God, a God their severance ruled ! 
And bade betwixt their shores to be 
The unplumbed, salt, estranging sea." 



The prevailing mood of Anglo-Saxon poetry is 
elegiac — that is, it is much given to complaint, 
or at least contemplation, of human unhappiness. 
This mood, however, is racial rather than indi- 
vidual; it gives tone to the whole literature, but 
is rarely concentrated in a personal note. As a 
result, this period yields few examples of the true 
elegy, — the funeral song, — although from the social 
position of the scdp, the mourning theme would 
seem especially natural. Wherever in society the 
bard is dependent, as in Provence or Old England, 
he is likely to feel keenly the death of his patron ; 
the loss is practical enough to occasion real human 
misery. In Provenqal literature this situation gives 
rise to the conventional funeral-song, the planh, ex- 
pressing direct personal grief. In Anglo-Saxon, 
however, the grief is absorbed into the national 
mood, and intensifies it ; the poet takes a slightly 
darker, but not more individual, view of life. 


A familiar example in point is the Wanderer, 
a lyric of subjective expression, rather than of song- 
quality. The singer has become an outcast through 
the death of his patron. A Romance poet would 
have traced his misfortune to that event, but the 
Anglo-Saxon temperament generalizes the subject 
into a complaint against the cruelty of fate, of 
which the patron's death is only one incident. The 
attention is fixed not on the event, but on the prin- 
ciples it illustrates — the frailty of happiness, and 
the poignancy of its memory. 

This generalization of what would seem to be a 
very personal grief, suggests that the character of 
the Wanderer, as probably that of the Seafarer 1 
also, is not a direct revelation, but, like the sub- 
jects of the Elizabethan sonnet-series, is a dramatic 
conception. Both lyrics are built upon situations 
and enlightened by images that must have been 
associated with typical modes of life. The latter 
poem in particular is strongly dramatic, yet is a 
good example of lyric form. It is mentioned here, 
although only partly elegiac, because of its usual 
association with the Wanderer. If we follow those 
critics who regard only the first sixty-six lines as 
properly belonging to the poem, we find the verses 
divided almost equally into two perfect lyric units, 
each with its own stimulus and emotional develop- 
ment. In the first the Seafarer sings of his long 
hardships at sea: — 
I Greta-Walker, Bibliothek der angels&ch. Poesie, i. p. 245. 


" I can sing of myself a true song, of my voyages telling, 
How oft through laborous days, through the wearisome 

I have suffered." * 

The description of privation and monotony on 
the ship is realistic, with the characteristic point 
of view of the sailor, that nothing so hard befalls 
the landsman. Then the poet turns to the second 
phase of his song: though the life be hard, the 
inborn spirit of adventure ever drives him back to 
the waves : — 

" Yet the thoughts of my heart now are throbbing 
To test the high streams, the salt waves in tumultuous 
play." a 

One exception to the general Anglo-Saxon elegy 
is the poem in the CJironicle on the death of Ead- 
ward, murdered in 979. 8 The date is so late that 
the verses can hardly affect an opinion of the Old 
English elegy as a whole. Their interest is that 
they seem to express personal grief and indigna- 
tion, and are applicable only to the one situation. 
In the other opportunities for elegiac expression 
afforded by the Chronicle? the writer has contented 
himself with a respectful enumeration of the virtues 
of the departed, without sufficient enthusiasm to 
raise the verses to the emotional level of poetry. 

The dramatic tone of the Anglo-Saxon lyric, 

1 Translations from O.E. Poetry, Cook and Tinker, p. 44. 

* Ibid., p. 46. 

* The Chronicle, Earl and Plummer; 979, Laud Ms. 

* Cf . The Chronicle, Earl and Plummer ; 959, Laud Ms. 


noticed in the Wanderer and the Seafarer, and seen 
also in the Wife's Complaint, 1 finds unique expres- 
sion in the riddles. In these the poet never speaks 
directly, but uses the subject of the riddle as a 
mouthpiece, trying to give the subject's point of 
view. All riddles, from the nature of their use, 
must be largely descriptive, and would seem to im- 
ply an artificial, unemotional structure. The Anglo- 
Saxon bard, however, in striving for imaginative 
description from the inside — subjective descrip- 
tion — tends toward a lyric mood. With a few 
exceptions, as in the Swan, 2 he fails of lyric form ; 
the riddle usually contains such a number of incon- 
gruous details — the Horn, for example — as to 
forbid any lyric unity or development. The Swan, 
however, with its single motive of the noise of its 
wings, is a perfect unit, and has, besides, the emo- 
tional lift of lyric poetry. The poem called the 
Love-Letter or the Husband's Message,* probably 
belongs also in this class, though the lyrical ele- 
ment is stronger and the dramatic turn is less. 
The message is introduced practically by a riddle, 
the lover speaking in the character of the wood 
on which the letters are cut. 

Another kind of Anglo-Saxon lyric, as deeply 
rooted in the past as the riddles themselves, is 
found in the charm-songs. These incantations are 
remarkable not only for their evident antiquity, 
but also because they reappear, modified by lit- 

* Cook and Tinker, p. 64. * Ibid., p. 72. » Ibid., p. 61. 


erary genius, in Chaucer and Shakspere. At the 
same time they persisted untouched in those levels 
of social intelligence in which they had their 
origin. Some of the charms preserved to us seem 
to have been old when Christianity reached Eng- 
land, if we may consider as evidences of age 
their pagan spirit and their apparent subjection 
to long-continued garbling. 1 Others seem to have 
compromised with the new ideas, and appeal alike 
to pagan and Christian deities. 8 A few examples 
are thoroughly Christian, and are little more than 
prayers. 8 This species of literature, always of a 
popular origin, keeps its simplicity by the condi- 
tion of its popular use. It is lyrical in the Greek 
sense of oral delivery, since it must be sung or 
chanted to be used at all. The use to which it 
is put implies an original subjective sincerity on 
the part of the user, else it would not be a true 
incantation. It usually has lyric unity of form, 
perhaps because the user has his mind intent on 
the purpose of the charm. Some of the examples 
show a tendency toward repetition, recurring to 
one phrase; when the lyrics are of any length, 
this recurrence is recognizable as a refrain; as in 
the charm for a stitch in the neck : — 

" Loud were they, lo loud, when over the hill they rode, 
Resolute were they when over the hill they rode ; 

1 Cf. Nine herbs charm, ibid., p. 169. 

3 Cf. Charm for bewitched land, ibid., p. 164. 

* Cf . Charm for lost cattle, ibid., p. 171. 


Now shield thyself, that thou mayest survive this 

malice ! 
Out, little spear, if herein it be ! 
I stood under linden, under the light shield, 
Where the mighty women mustered their force, 
And whizzing spears they sent ; 
I will send them back another, 
A flying dart directly against them. 
Out, little spear, if herein it be ! " etc. 

The charm-songs have their source in the remot- 
est times. They grow out of the primitive belief 
in a power residing in spoken or chanted words 
to bless or destroy. The story of Orpheus and 
many Germanic tales illustrate this belief. 1 The 
charms, to be effective, must be carefully chosen as 
to words, well constructed, rhythmic, with the 
quality of song. 2 Their essence is lyrical. At first 
the power resides in the words themselves ; later, 
with clearer conception of a deity, it is ascribed to 
some superior being, and the charm becomes a 
prayer. 8 

The religious lyric had but the humblest begin- 
nings in Anglo-Saxon literature. The few surviv- 
ing examples betray a lack of spontaneity and of 
song quality. The Address to Christ? and still more, 
the Hymn to the Virgin, 5 show that the lyric emo- 
tion is overlaid by the delight in theological his- 
tory and doctrine. The Address to Christ, however, 

1 Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, trans, by J. S. Stallybrass, 
London, 1883, ill. p. 907. 

2 Ibid., p. 1223. * Thorpe, Codez Ezoniensia, p. L 
« Ibid., p. 1236. « Ibid., p. 5. 


is remarkable for dwelling not on the death and 
suffering of the Saviour, as usually in the Middle 
English lyric, but on the benefits of the Incarna- 
tion, the rebuilding of the spiritual life, and the 
opening of Paradise. In this hymn, as in that to 
the Virgin, the poet's imagination is struck by the 
human relation of the Virgin mother to her divine 
son, — a motive that, receiving fuller development 
from the more sensitive ideas of chivalry, appears 
prominently in the Middle English lyric. These 
hymns are but poor examples of lyrical quality or 
of lyric form ; their interest is that they introduce 
what prove to be important themes. On the 
formal side the short hymn of Csedmon * is much 
better, since it expresses a single lyrical emotion, 
with no non-lyric elements interpolated; but its 
shortness — only nine lines — and its fragmentary 
nature, make it unimportant. 

The Anglo-Saxon period yields one fine war-song, 
the forerunner of many a later patriotic ode — the 
Battle of Brunanburh? This is a true lyric, whose 
emotional unity has its roots in the national or 
racial pride, and in the general glory of battle. In 
spirit it is very near to the choric song, like the 
odes of Pindar, being the lyrical expression, not of 
one personality, but of a community. Such lyric 
expression occurs only when the community is 
thoroughly united and fired by a universal enthusi- 
asm; few examples are found before Minot, and 

1 Grein-Wulker, ii. p. 316. * Cook and Tinker, p. 26. 


just as few between himNttd Drayton. In Anglo- 
Saxon literature there may have been numerous 
songs of this character. A probable explanation of 
their disappearance is that, unless used for histori- 
cal purposes, they would not appeal to the monks, 
the only scribes, and so would perish with the tra- 
dition of oral recitation. 1 

The two Anglo-Saxon lyrics that perhaps connect 
most easily with later song history, are the Song of 
Widstih* and Dear's Complaint} The Song of Wid- 
sith is more narrative in quality than lyrical, but 
it gives a fair picture of the life of the bard, and 
of the estimation in which his art was held. Wher- 
ever a great man was found who knew the power 
of song and who desired fame, the bard was well 
-entertained, and in return for the hospitality and 
gifts, he immortalized his host, — " eternized," as 
the Elizabethans would say. Deor's Complaint is, 
on the formal side, the best lyric expression of the 
period. It is remarkable for the use of refrain and 
for what is practically stanza-form. Each stanza 
treats one distinct phase of the poem, thrown 
sharply into relief by the refrain. The climax, 
carefully prepared, is reached in the last stanza by 
a personal application of this burden. This lyric 
method, in swiftness, pointedness, and climactic 
force, suggests strongly the later French ballade. 

If we were to look for any quality in the Anglo- 

1 Cf . Stopford Brooke, Hist. Eng. Lit., 1880, p. 16. 
* Cook and Tinker, p. 3. * Ibid. t p. 58. 


Saxon lyric that is permanent in English song, we 
should find it to be the dramatic quality noticed in 
the Wanderer and in the Seafarer. The race seems 
from the first to have the power of expressing its 
emotion through an imaginative type. On the 
other hand, it is hard to find any direct personal 
expression in the poetry of the period. Dear's 
Complaint seems to strike an individual note, but it 
may be as purely imaginative as Widsith's song 
probably is; the very name Widsith — "far-trav- 
eller" — coincides suspiciously with the contents 
of the poem ; and some scholars — Ten Brink, not- 
ably — maintain that different parts of the song 
were composed at different times. 

The charms and the war-song remain constant 
but infrequent elements in the national lyric ; the 
charms, though preserved in the life of the peas- 
ants, seldom get into literature, and the occasions 
of national unity and success, such as give rise to 
the true ode of war, occur rarely in any history. 
The riddles, of course, as an art-form, disappear 
early; the religious lyric, however, soon becomes 


The first department of song after the Conquest 
to feel the effect of foreign influences was the reli- 
gious and moral lyric. At once the Latin and 
French rhythms seemed to put new vigor into what, 


during the Anglo-Saxon period, was at best but an 
uninspired form. The first important lyric to show 
the new influence was the Moral Ode, 1 written be- 
fore 1200. It follows the measure of the classical 
septenarius, which, in the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries seems to have taken strong hold of Eng- 
lish verse. 2 The subject of the ode is only partly 
lyrical ; it is the statement of a philosophy of life, 
and echoes the tone of the old gnomic songs. But 
the curious personality, so sincerely revealed in the 
poem, entitles it to rank well among the lyrics of 
subjective expression. In its dark spirit and sen- 
tentious manner, it shows its nearness to the Anglo- 
Saxon mood ; in verse-form it shows the arrival of 
the Latin measure and the establishment of rime ; 
these marks of its frontier position in the growth 
of the Middle English lyric constitute its impor- 

The Moral Ode is followed — about 1210 — by the 
Oreison of Ure Lefdi, 3 supposed to be a translation 
from the Latin. The extremely exalted lyric mood 
of this song shows at once a fervor of religious 
thought and a sincerity of poetic imagery not found 
in the Anglo-Saxon lyric. In spirit and dignity of 
inspiration this is the first typical example of the 
Middle English hymn, though its subject-matter, 
derived from abroad, has not the dramatic element 

i Morris, Old Eng. Horn., 2d series, p. 220. 

* Cf. Quest, Eng. Rhythms, W. W. Skeat, p. 474 sq. 

• Old Eng. Horn., 1st series, p. 191. 


that later English poets added. It is a song of 
pure adoration, full of very sincere reverence and 
love. As in the Moral Ode, the lines are rimed in 
couplets, but they show remarkable freedom of 
structure. They consist in turn of septenaries, 
alexandrines, or .native alliterative verses, as the 
mood of the poet takes him; yet the different 
schemes are skilfully blended, and the verse flows 
unbroken. 1 

Both Latin and French influences were felt first 
in the meter and language of the English lyric, 
but they soon appeared more directly. Certain 
religious songs were formed on a scheme of alter- 
nating English and Latin lines; the Latin lines 
were usually short phrases of the Roman hymns, 
and had somewhat the effect of burdens or refrains, 
yet served an organic purpose in the sentence struc- 
ture of the stanza. 8 Between 1244 and 1250 these 
verses were written : — 

i A fragment attributed to St. Godric (died 1174) ought to be 
mentioned for its meter. It is an address to the Virgin (quoted 
in Guest, p. 442) . Its two stanzas each express the same idea. 
The first is irregular and unmetrical ; the second is a tetrapody 
quatrain, with clear trochaic movement. 

3 Anglo-Saxon examples of combination with Latin, though 
not in lyrics, are found in Grein-Wiilker, ii. pp. 228, 246, 297, 
and iii. p. 116, the last eleven lines of the Phcenix, This whole 
phenomenon is similar to the bilingual use of Provencal and 
Italian, by troubadours who came into Italy in the twelfth 
century. Cf. Flamini, Storia delta Lett. Ital., p. 8. The mix- 
ture of other languages with English is familiar in modern 
poetry; Longfellow, for example, employs the device several 
times. But of course it is now a literary affectation, rather 
than a bilingual use. 


" Of on that is so fayr and brigt, 

velud maris Stella, 
Brigter J>an the dayis ligt, 

parens et puella ; 
Ic crie to J>e J>on se to me, 
Levedi preye M son for me, 

tarn pia, 
pat ic mote come to J>e, 

Maria." 1 

The English and the Latin verses, in such composi- 
tions, have each their own separate riming system. 
The same rule is observed where French and Eng- 
lish verses are combined, as is seen in the example 
given by Warton * : — 

u Mayden moder milde, oyez eel oreysoun, 
From shome thou me shilde, e de ly mal feloun ; 
For love of thine childe, me menez de tresoun, 
Ich we8 wod and wilde, or su en prisoun," etc. 

The obvious effect of putting side by side poetic 
systems so different, would be to level both to a 
common rhythmic form. By this practice the 
varied English meters are smoothed down to con- 
form to the more regular foreign models. For a 
long time, however, the change is apparent only in 
the writing of the higher classes, as here — prob- 
ably in the work of a priest — one whose training 
would make him at home with Latin and French, 
rather than with Saxon, schemes of versification. 

i Old Eng. Mis., Rich. Morris. Early Eng. Text Soc, 
1872. In other cases the English lines rime directly with the 
Latin; cf. Percy Soc, xxiii. p. 48. 

* Hist, of Eng. Poetry, 1821, i. p. 86, Note. Quoted from Mss. 
Harl. 2253. 


The native rhythms keep their vigor in the poetic 
expression of the lower classes, up to the time of 
Chaucer, when they are again traceable in that poet 
of culture. 

The direct effect of Latin lyrics is confined largely 
to influence upon meter and stanza, and is found 
first in these songs of the church. But at least one 
very different theme is introduced through the Latin 
language — the drinking-song. The vigorous lyric 
ascribed to Walter Map, — Mihi est propositum in 
taberna mori, 1 — brings into England for the first 
time the spirit of clearly articulated conviviality. 
Later examples will show, in contrast, that the 
native drinking-song is forbiddingly realistic in 
subject and manner. 2 

The poems written in Norman-French had their 
influence on the narrative rather than on the lyric 
part of our literature. One great name remains, 
however, though its literary influence is practically 
nothing. Richard the Lion-hearted followed trou- 
badour traditions, patronized famous minstrels, and 
himself practised the art. While in prison, he is 
supposed to have written two sirventes* In one, — 

1 Percy Soc, xxiii. p. 1. Festive Songs, Wm. Sandys, 1848. 

2 For the same theme as brought in through the Anglo-Nor- 
man, see the drinking-song, ibid., p. 4 : — 

"Or hi parra 
La cervayse nos chantera, 
Alleluia! " 
8 Ausgaben und Abhandlungen aus dem Oebiete der Roman- 
ischen Philologie, zciv : Les plus anciens Chansonniers Fran- 
$aw, par Jules Brakelman, Marburg, 1891. 


Je nuls honspris ne (Lira sa ration, — he upbraids in 
bitter terms the friends that have left him unrep- 
cned for two winters ; in the other, — Daufin, jeus 
voitt deremier, — he repeats the reproach of desertion 
more particularly to the Dauphin and Count Guy. 
Like most sirventes these songs are very sincerely 
satiric ; they have a remarkable vigor and swiftness 
that may be referred to Richard's own character. 
They are out of the line of the English lyric, how- 
ever, and did not affect its development. Besides 
these art-lyrics of Richafd's, a number of popular 
Norman songs must have been familiar in England. 
Some examples remain of hymns and carols; 1 
perhaps more interesting is the pedler's song, 
chanson de mercier,* in which the wares are pro- 
claimed in the cataloguing fashion familiar in 
many a later Autolycus : — 

" Moult a ci bele compaignie, 
Merciers sui, si port mercerie 
Que je vendisse voluntiers, 
Quar je ai besoing de derniers, 

* * ♦ * « 
J'ai les mignotes ceinturetes ; 
J'ai beax ganz a demoiseletes," etc. 8 

i For example, the carol : — 

" Seignors ore entendez a nus, 
De loinz somes venuz a vous 
Pur quere Noel," etc. 
— Festive Songs, Wm. Sandys, p. 6. 

* Songs and Poems on Costume, Fred. W. Fairholt, Percy 
Soc. t London, 1849. 

* Translation : There is here a very fair company ; I am a 
mercer, and carry mercery, which I would sell willingly, for I 



Among the new themes in the English lyric 
should be mentioned the lullaby or slumber-song. 
It seems to go hand in hand with the adoration of 
the Virgin in Middle English poetry ; in fact, even 
when there is no indication of a religious motive in 
the theme, we are made to suspect it by a certain 
reverent mood. When the lullaby is supposed to 
be sung by the Virgin, the theme invariably is one 
of pity for the poverty and sorrow into which the 
child is born : — 

" Jesu, swete sone dere, 
On thorful bed list thou here, 
And that me greveth sore; 
For thi cradel is ase a here, 
Oxe and asse beth thi fere ; 
Weope ich may tharfore." 1 

The same pessimistic attitude toward life appears 
in the ordinary lullaby. In one example the 
mother sings to her child that it rightly weeps on 
coming into this sad world; its forefathers wept 
also when they were alive. 2 

A less pleasant theme, which comes in at this 

am in want of pence — I have pretty little girdles; I hare fine 
gloves for little damsels, etc. 

1 Political, Religious and Love Poems. F. J. Furnivall, 
Early Eng. Text Soc, 1866, p. 226. 

3 " Lollai, lollai little child whi wepestou so sore 
Ned is mostou wepe : hit was iyarked the yore 
Ever to lib in sorrow and sich and mourne ever 
As thin eldren did er this whil hi alives were 
Lollai little child; child lollai lollai 
Into uncouth world icommen so ertow." 

— Quoted in Guest, p. 612. 


time, is the satiric song against women. Though 
it was a conventional motive on the Continent, it 
does not seem to have made much impression on 
the English imagination ; few examples of it remain. 
One of them is simply a string of clumsy insults, 
apparently of popular manufacture : — 

" Ther were iii wylly, 3 wylly ther wer ; 
A fox, a fryr, and a woman, 
Ther wer three angry, 3 angry ther wer ; 
A wasp, a wesyll, and a woman," etc. 1 

The theme is more individually presented in the 
song of the hen-pecked husband, whose wife spends 
all his earnings and, when he complains, beats him. 
" Careful is my hart therefor ! " is the refrain. 2 

The thirteenth century and the beginning of the 
fourteenth are rich in love-songs, lyrics of native 
sentiment but of French brightness — the first 
expression of the favorite Elizabethan theme. 
If the Anglo-Saxon poem, the Love-Letter, be 
excluded from the class of lyric proper, the verses, 
" Blow, Northern Wynd," are, as Warton said, 8 the 
first English love-song. With it should be placed the 
first song of spring, "Sumer is icumen in." 4 Both 
songs have a native flavor and spontaneity not often 
found before the sixteenth-century lyrics. The 
second example introduces the bird-song as the sign 
of spring, a theme apparently native to all countries, 
but destined to become peculiarly characteristic of 

1 Percy Soc, xxiii. p. 4. * Ibid., p. 26. * Hist, i. p. 28 
* Ancient Songs and Ballads, Jos. Ritson, 1792. 


the English lyric. When the French influence 
makes itself felt, the themes of these two songs 
are usually blended; the song of the birds in 
springtime becomes the conventional stimulus 
of the lover's melancholy. A good example in 
refinement of emotion, musical verse, and elaborate 
stanza, is the song to Alyson : — 

" Bytwene Mershe and Averil 
When spray beginneth to springe." 1 

The four stanzas of this poem contain each an 
old theme, conventional already in the French 
lyric, however genuinely they are repeated here. 
In the first stanza the poet tells of the singing of 
the birds in spring; it rouses in him his old 
" love-longing " for Alyson. In the second stanza 
he describes Alyson's beauty in detail. In the 
third, he tells of his sleepless nights when he 
thinks of her. And in the last, he declares him- 
self worn out by love, and begs mercy of Alyson. 
All these themes appear again, developed singly 
or together in later lyrics. It ia -characteristic of 
these songs, 2 that they are rather long, and intro- 
duce more than one lyric stimulus, as in each 
stanza of the example quoted, though all have a 
certain unity of mood. These French lyrics have 
also, perhaps because of their length, a tendency 
toward narrative; the poet, instead of revealing 

1 Specimens of Lyric Poetry, T. Wright, Percy Soc, 1842. 
2 Cf. the song quoted and other examples in Morris and 
Skeat's Specimens, ii. p. 43. 


his love directly in lyric enthusiasm, is likely to 
enlarge upon the situation until it is almost a 
story. The detailed beauty of the poet's mistress, 
as treated in the second stanza of the song to 
Alyson, becomes a favorite theme and method in 
the early Elizabethan period. A good example, 
however, is found at this time in another lyric of 
Edward Fs reign — "Mosti ryden by Rybbesdale." * 
After a short narrative introduction, the poet en- 
ters into a minute and enthusiastic catalogue of his 
lady's charms, the enthusiasm furnishing the lyrical 

Among the very few elegies or funeral-songs of 
this period should be mentioned the one quoted 
by Warton, on the death of Edward I. 2 The only 
conventional note in it is the reproach of death, 
after the pattern of the French funeral-plaint, 
though here it is condensed in a few lines: — 

" A knight that wes so stronge 
Of whom God hath donne ys wille ; 
Methincketh that Deth has don us wronge 
That he so soon shall ligge stille." 

The elegy is made up of references to incidents 
of Edward's reign and death, and hails the new 
king, " Edward of Carnarvon," with the wish that 
he may be no worse man than his father. The 
poem is remarkable for its lack of conventionality, 
its genuineness, and its strong sense of personality. 

1 Songs of Edward Ts Reign, T. Wright, Percy Soc, 1842. 
* History, I. p. 106. 


It expresses devotion to Edward as an individual, 
and the expression comes from an individual, not 
from the nation. 

The strong national feeling under Edward III 
comes into literature through the work of Law- 
rence Minot. His battle-songs, 1 taken together, 
form a unique picture of the aggressive side of 
contemporary English character, and individually 
each poem shows some clear-cut phase of patriotic 
prejudice. That kind of patriotism that looks 
upon its country as the land pleasing to God, the 
home of the chosen people, is strong in Minot; 
all his battles properly begin with a summons to 
the Deity to arise and scatter the wicked, 2 and 
he generally ascribes satisfactory results to such 
prayers. At times his national enthusiasm de- 
clines into a mere delight in revenge, as in the 
songs to the Scotch 8 ; at other times he seems con- 
scious of the strength of a united country, as in 
the song on the sea-fight at Sluys, which describes 
the deeds of his countrymen from all parts of Eng- 
land. 4 In quality his songs are choric ; they seem 
to be sung by Edward's army. The one personal 
note apparently is Minot's uneasy solicitude for 
the welfare of England: — 

" Minot with mowth had menid to make 
Suth sawes and sad for sum mens sake ; 

1 Lawrence Minot J 8 Poems, Joseph Hall, Clarendon Press, 

2 Ibid., No. iv. * Ibid., Nos. i, ii. * Ibid., No. v. 


The words of sir Edward makes me to wake, 
Wald he salve us sone mi sorrow suld slake ; 
Were mi sorrow slaked sone wald I sing ; 
When God will sir Edward sal us bute bring." l 

Minot's work has the mark of the popular ballad 
in its simple rhythm, its inaccurate recital of facts, 
due to strong prejudice, and in its large use of 
alliterative formulas taken from the popular 
romances. 3 They suggest the best Elizabethan 
street-ballads, but they have far more artistic con- 
densation and vigor. 

The note that Minot adds to the English lyric is 
the praise of achievement — usually, but not al- 
ways, national achievement. Edward, to him, is 
the ideal of prowess, an ideal which in the land- 
fights he images in the wild boar, and in the sea- 
fights he represents by the imposing figure of the 
largest battleship, the Christopher. The ideal is a 
heartless one, for the England that Minot glorified 
was bound on expeditions of foreign conquest ; the 
themes of his song lack the sanction of a noble 
purpose, like the desperate defence of homes, as in 
the Battle of Brunanburh. But the pure love of 
battle was present also in the earlier poem, and is 
rooted in the national temperament ; it is objection- 
able in Minot only because he treats it narrowly, 
blind to the broader national life that interested 

It is not out of place to mention the flowering of 

1 Lawrence Minot's Poems, No. v. * IWd., cf. Introduction. 


lyric poetry in Wales at the beginning of the four- 
teenth century. Up to this time the traditions of 
Celtic literature were preserved in their vigor, and 
the prejudice against the English did not altogether 
keep out the good influences of European culture. 
Indeed, the Welsh poets, almost as soon as the Eng- 
lish, had the advantage of travel and study abroad. 
But in the fourteenth century, after the union with 
England, the bards crossed the border, and for the 
most part degenerated into wandering minstrels; 
and whatever influence the Welsh line of poetry 
had developed was merged in the general strain of 
English literature. 1 Just what these influences 
were has never been determined, but the interest- 
ing fact in the history of the English lyric is that 
several of the Welsh poets, at the very period of 
consolidation, had attained to a degree of Italian 
and French culture not surpassed by any poets in 
England ; they possibly were an important channel 
of the inspiration that from this time to Elizabethan 
days moulded the lyric. Chief of the Welsh poets 
is David Ap Gwilym {circa 1340-1400), who trav- 
elled in Italy and France, became well acquainted 
with the literature of those countries, and brought 
back with him many of their themes. One in par- 
ticular is memorable, since it foreshadows the fa- 
mous chanson d'aube in Romeo and Juliet, " It is 
the nightingale, and not the lark," etc. Gwilym, 

i Hist, of Lit. of Wales, Chas. Wilkins, Ph.D., Cardiff, 1884, 
p. 13. 


following the old French form, as Shakspere does, 
employs the dialogue between the anxious lover and 
his lady, Morvudd : — 

"Morvudd. My accomplished love, gentle and amiable, we 
shall hear, ere it dawns, the song of the loud clear 
voice of the stately cock 1 

Davi4- What if the jealous churl (the husband) should 
come in before the dawn appears ? 

Morvudd, David, speak of a more agreeable subject. 
Faint, alas ! and gloomy are thy hopes. 

David. My charmer, bright as the fields that glitter with 
the gossamer, I perceive daylight through the crevice 
of the door. 

Morvudd. It is the new moon and the twinkling stars and 
the reflection of their beams on the pillar. 

David. Ho ! my charmer, bright as the sun, by all that's 
sacred, it has been day this hour. 

Morvudd. Then if thou art so inconstant, follow thy in- 
clinations and depart." 1 

One of the peculiarities of Welsh poetry was that 
the last word of one line was often made the initial 
word of the next. 2 This kind of " link-verse/' with 
its many varieties, is constantly found in English 
poetry from this time on. Minot employs a linked 
stanza, beginning each stanza with the last phrase 
of the* preceding one, and sometimes linking verses 
within the stanza by the repetition of phrases. 
Other examples will be noticed as they appear, until 
Daniel's sonnets are reached, in which often the last 
line of one is the first line of the next. 

1 Jones, Bardic Museum, p. 43. 
a Wilkins, p. 28. 



Chaucer's lyrics divide themselves into two 
classes : the lyrics of French and Italian verse- 
form, including the ballades, rondels, and plaints ; 
and the short, incidental songs in his narrative 
poems. These last are very interesting. Not only 
do they illustrate the first artistic use of incidental 
songs in our literature, but they may be considered 
a term in the development of the Elizabethan use 
of lyrics in romances and the drama. It is a com- 
monplace of literary history that in early art-forms, 
lyrical, narrative, and dramatic methods are often 
mingled, and that these different species tend to 
develop each its own quality and to separate. At 
first the lyric has an organic place in the narrative 
or drama ; in time it becomes more and more decora- 
tive ; it is finally dispensed with. The phenomenon 
has its familiar dramatic illustrations in the evolu- 
tion of the Greek chorus, and in the songs of Eliza- 
bethan plays. 1 The combination of the lyric and 
narrative has excellent examples in English litera- 
ture ; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle makes an organic 
use of lyrics to tell a story — as of the Battle of 
Brunanburh. Chaucer finds his songs embedded in 
the social life which he portrays, and puts them 
into his story to make the portrait true to nature. 
The Elizabethans use lyrics in the romances for 

* For a notable use of incidental songs, cf. the Faerie Queene, 
especially bk. ii. canto xii. st. 74. 


purely decorative purposes, and prefer to keep the 
species separate. It will not be out of place to 
notice in advance, that after the lyric has dis- 
engaged itself from the other species, it sometimes 
tends to revert to them; as when it forms itself 
into a series of songs, like the sonnet-cycles — lyric 
units organized for a narrative or dramatic effect. 

But though Chaucer finds his incidental songs in 
the life of his time, strangely enough he gives them 
a different form from what they would have worn 
if actually sung in those days. The world of chiv- 
alry was French and Italian ; the lyric of chivalry 
followed French and Italian models. When Chaucer 
himself writes a lyric outside of a romance, he 
adopts the conventional forms. But in the inci- 
dental songs of the narratives, he allows himself 
absolute freedom, expressing his emotion simply, 
with the least possible proportion of intellectual 
structure. The effect produced is one of spontaneity 
and lightness, somewhat like that found in the early 
songs — "Blow, Northern Wynd," and "Sumer is 
icumen in," mentioned above, and closely resembling 
the most apparent characteristics of the Elizabethan 
lyric. A good example is in the Book of the Duchess 
(lines 1175-1181), where the mourner, telling the 
poet of his wooing, repeats a song made for his 
lady. The intellectual element is very slight ; the 
lyric stimulus is the swift reference to the lady's 
beauty, and the emotional attitude of mind is ex- 
pressed as swiftly in the wish for her favor: — 


44 Lord, hit maketh myn herte light, 
Whan I thenke on that swete wight 
That is so semely on to see ; 
And wisshe to God hit might so be, 
That she wolde holde me for hir knight, 
My lady, that is so fair and bright I " l 

The earlier song in the same poem, lines 475-486, 
though longer, shows the same freedom of spirit, 
and is more varied in riming-system. In subject, 
however, it is conventional, modelled closely upon 
the French plaint, with its upbraiding of Death. 

These qualities of spontaneity and lightness show 
even more strikingly in the numerous bird-songs 
throughout Chaucer's poems. In these short lyric 
bursts, usually but a verse or two in length, the 
poet attempts to translate into words the inarticu- 
late delirium of birds in spring. The songs are all 
dramatic, in the sense that Chaucer is trying to 
express himself through the character of larks and 
thrushes; and since he is reproducing the vague, 
emotional effect of joy, without any intellectual 
intent, the only elements in the songs are exuberance 
and brightness of emotion. This joyous note is a 
new one in the English lyric, for which Chaucer is 
probably indebted to France ; it remains, however, 
an ideal of later song-writing. One of the best 
examples is the expression, by a dramatic form of 
imagination, of the pride of the birds that had 
survived the winter: — 

i Chaucer'8 Works, W. W. Skeat, Oxford Press, 1892, p. 96. 
As Chaucer is using the couplet rime, he rimes his song aabbcc, 
thus securing an effect of unity and almost of stanzaic form. 


u This was hir song — 4 The fouler we defye, 
And all his craft ! » " * 

As in the songs from the Book of the Duchess, 
Chaucer here makes no attempt to exhaust the 
lyric emotion, or even to develop it. This absence 
of conscious structure, though out of keeping with 
the art-forms then popular, according to later ideas 
leaves the song-quality unimpaired and makes 
these fragments seem more modern than the bal- 
lades and the complaints. ) 

The use of incidental lyrics is old in other litera- r 

tures; a familiar illustration is the number of .,-_ K ' 
songs in Theocritus. Chaucer was the first Eng- ' '*- L ^ 
lish poet to employ the effect, and he probably v * - 
modelled his use upon the French fabliaux. In 
Italian literature, it is true, incidental lyrics are 
found; but here the songs are formal, whereas in 
the fabliaux they are of the simpler, more spon- 
taneous quality, as in Chaucer. 2 

1 Prologue to Legend of Good Women, Complete Works, 
p. 363, 1. 137. The same effect is repeated a few lines further on, 
by a more human image : — 

" In hir delyt, they turned hem ful ofte, 
And songen, ' blessed be seynt Valentyn ! 
Por on this day I chees yow to be myn, 
Withouten repenting, myn herte swete! ' " — 1. 141. 
a Cf . the three songs in the Lai oVAristote, especially the 
second : — 

" Ci me retient amoretes, 
Douce trop vous aim, 
Ci me tienent amoretes, 
Ou je tieng ma main." 
— Fabliaux et Conies. Barbazan, Paris, 1808, iii. p. 107. 


Another portion of Chaucer's lyrics suggests in 
spirit the Elizabethan age. In the lover's plaints, 
such as the one in Anelida and Arcite, 1 the mood 
and tone suggest the later sonnet-series. The sub- 
ject-matter in both is the same, and the manner 
nearly identical. In this particular example, the 
stanzas, of nine lines each, are sharply separated, 
giving the effect of a cycle. Each stanza is a lyric 
in itself, and serves as a link between other units 
The Eenascence in England had but to furnish an 
inviting vehicle of expression, like the sonnet, in 
order to revive, not introduce, the lyric mood most 
characteristic of the Elizabethan period. 

The number of lyrics that Chaucer puts in the 
form of letters should also be noted. This conven- 
tion, reminiscent of the Anglo-Saxon poem, the 
Love-Letter, and surviving well into the Elizabethan 
period, is a favorite with Chaucer ; some examples 
of it are, the complaint that Anelida writes to 
Arcite, 2 the letter from Troilus to Criseyde, 3 and 
its reply. 4 

The portion of Chaucer's lyrics most often no- 
ticed, the French ballade and rondel forms, is not 
important in the later development of the lyric. 
It was a temporary fashion, and so far failed to 
take hold of English poetry, that Chaucer him- 
self rarely followed the forms strictly. Gower set 
the fashion for the ballade with his Cinquante 

i Works, p. 116. « Ibid., p. 317. 

a Ibid., p. 116. * Ibid., p. 321. 


BcdadeSj a series of French love-poems. 1 It is at 
once apparent, on comparing these with Chaucer's 
ballades, that the obligation for the refrain and the 
envoy is not binding on the latter poet. 2 Of the 
ten examples found in Chaucer's works, seven 
employ the refrain, 8 six have the envoy, 4 and only 
three have both. 5 The riming-system is usually 
the same for every stanza, but two envoys are 
made on different rimes from the rest of the 
ballade. The rime-royal is the favorite stanza- 
form; the cognate system, dbabbcbc, however, 
seems also to be Chaucer's ideal of the ballade 
measure. The verses in all the ballades are penta- 
podjes. In Gower's ballades, as in Chaucer's Eng- 
lish examples, the tendency of the form toward 
stereotyped expression is evident; Chaucer's bal- 
lades have more of the spontaneity of his incidental 

Chaucer has four rondels, all on the same sys- 
tem. 6 They are eight lines long; after the second 
stave, the first two lines are repeated as the refrain, 
and after the third stave, the entire first stanza is 
repeated, giving the system, ABB, ABdb, ABBabb. 

i Works, G. C. Macaulay, Oxford, 1901. 
2 Guest, p. 635. " The envoy prevailed most in the fourteenth 
and the hurthen in the fifteenth century." 

* Cf . Balade to Truth, p. 122. 

4 Cf. Womanly Noblesse, p. 129. 

* Cf. Truth, p. 122, Steadfastness, p. 123, and Complaint to his 
Purse, p. 126. 

* Merciless Beautt, p. 121, and Parlement of Foules, 
p. 110. 


On the same plan, evidently, is built the incomplete 
rondel that Arcite sings : 1 — 

44 May, with alle thy floures and thy grene, 
Wel-come be thou, faire fresshe May, 
I hope that I som grene gete may. 1 ' 

Chaucer himself calls it a rondel in line 671. 

The rondel of thirteen verses has no example in 
English of this period. The rondel of ten verses, 
however, is charmingly used by Charles d'Orl^ans 
in his English poems. He uses the first two 
lines as a refrain, on the system, ABBA, ABab, 
ABBAab, as in the verses: — 

" My ghostly father ! I me confess, 
First to God, and then to you, 
That at a window, wot ye how ! 
I stole a kiss of great sweetness ! 
Which done was out avisinesse. 
But it is done ; not undone now ! 
My ghostly father . . . 
First to . . . 

But I restore it shall doubtless 
Again, if so be' that I mow ! 
And that God I make a vow, 
And else I ask forgiveness. 
My ghostly ... 
First to . . ." 2 

Lydgate follows the same model in the rondel 
on the coronation of Henry VI, " Kejoice, ye realms 
of England and of France." 8 With this one excep- 
tion, Lydgate's shorter poems have neither the 

i Knightes Tale, 1. 652, p. 438. 

2 Arber Anthologies, the Dunbar Anthology, London, 1901. 
p. 122. 8 Quoted in Guest, p. 646. 


emotional development nor the unity of the lyric. 
They incline to be narrative or satiric ballads. Of 
this characteristic side of his genius, the familiar 
illustration is the vigorous ballad London Lick- 
penny. 1 

Thomas Occleve, Lydgate's contemporary, also 
has little lyric gift. He wrote a number of so-called 
ballades, such as the Bcdade to my gracious Lord of 
York? all of which are complimentary epistolary 
addresses. They lack the ballade structure, having 
neither refrain nor envoy. More successful on the 
formal side is the rondel called CJianeson to Somer,* 
which follows Chaucerian models. 

The religious songs of this period may be divided 
into three classes : the direct addresses to God or to 
Mary ; lyrics on some biblical subject, such as the 
crucifixion; and dramatic songs, in which Christ 
or the Virgin speaks, sometimes both in dialogue. 
Of the first class, the earlier songs to the Virgin 
already quoted will still serve as typical examples. 
The second class, those lyrics written on some 
episode in the life of Christ, have several realistic 
pieces in this period. They show an advance in 
lyric art, a more condensed mode of expression, 
occasionally individual touches of great power. A 
good example is the song, " I sigh when I sing," 4 in 

i Minor Poems, J. O. HaUiwell, 1840, Percy Soc, ii. p. 103. 
* Minor Poems, P. J. Furnivall, 1892, Early Eng. Text Soc, 
xli. p. 49. 
•Ibid., p. 60. 

4 England* s Antiphon, George MacDonald, p. 11. 


which the story of the crucifixion is told. The 
poem differs from earlier treatments of the same 
theme by discarding narrative elements, and fixing 
the attention upon the picture of Christ on the 
cross. This picture is the stimulus of the poet's 
lyric emotion, and is kept before the reader's eyes 
by frequent references, as if from time to time he 
should turn to look at a painting, and then express 
the emotions occasioned by the sight of it. The 
details of the picture are carefully worked out ; for 
example, the cross is described as set up in a pile of 
stones which become splashed with the dripping 

The third class, the dramatic songs, are repre- 
sented in their simplest form by an appeal from 
Christ to man to show more gratitude for his re- 
demption. This kind of lyric runs too easily into 
religious dogma, and few examples of it deserve to 
be called lyrics. One early example, however, is 
better than the average. It seems to have two 
forms ; in one Christ, and in the other the Virgin, 
plead with man not to refuse their love. The 
substance of both forms is the same, and both use 
the refrain — "Quia Amore Langueo." 1 A better 
example, which may be anticipated here, is Skel- 
ton's lyric, Wofully Araid, 2 in which Christ is the 
speaker, with the usual theme. A more compli- 

1 Political, Religious, and Love Poems, P. J. Fornivall, 
p. 160. 

a Poems, Rev. Alexander Dyce, i. p. 141. 


cated form of these dramatic songs is that in which 
both Christ and the Virgin speak. The best exam- 
ple is the song : — 

" Stand well, moder, under rood ; 
Beholde thy son with glade mood, 

Blithe mother may'st thou be 1 
Son, how should I blithe stand ? 
I see thy feet, I see thy hand 

Nailed to the hard tree." l 

In each stanza Christ continues to address Mary 
in the first half of the strophe, and her answer is 
given in the other half. The song is almost as dra- 
matic as some of the ,early mysteries ; and it may 
be that the imagination of these fifteenth-century 
religious poets received its realistic and dramatic 
force from the sight of the old themes on the 

Robert Henryson's Bobene and Makyne y * the 
first pastoral in the language, as it has been called, 
deserves a place in the history of English lyrics, 
though it is the work of a Scotch poet; for it 
sounds the typical note of the early Elizabethan 
poetry. The subject is the perennial one of the 
dtbat, the dialogue of the wooing lover and the 
heartless lady. Henryson gets two situations from 
the theme, first by making the lady woo in vain, and 
then by letting the lover change his mind, when 
it is too late. The swiftness of the song and the 
rhythm — alternating lines of four and three ac- 

i England's Antiphon, p. 9. a Dunbar Anthology, p. 146. 


cents — suggest the popular ballad; the poem is 
indeed an art-version of that form. It is strongly 
marked by humor, — the humor of love, — without 
any cynicism or lack of sympathy. The subject 
of pastoral love, and this flavor of humor in the 
treatment, are the two elements in which the poem 
foreshadows the Elizabethan lyrics. 

A no less vigorous, though sometimes less deli- 
cate, exponent of humor and lyric power, is found 
in England in John Skelton. It is too much to 
see in him an early Elizabethan, as some have 
done ; his qualities on the whole are those of his 
time. In the elegy on the death of Edward IV, 1 
he uses conventional subject-matter, the frailty of 
human greatness, etc. ; but he escapes the reproach 
of perfunctoriness by adopting the dramatic method 
of the religious song, and making Edward speak 
for himself. Some of his lyrics echo the old 
satiric songs against woman; such are "Woman- 
hood, wanton ye want," 2 and "My darling dere, my 
daysy floure." 8 They have an astonishing vigor 
and humor, and inevitably suggest the longer 
satiric poems of the same poet. A more interest- 
ing group of Skelton's lyrics, however, are parts 
of Philipe Sparrow* and the songs to ladies in the 
Garland of Laurell. 5 These have the grace of 
Chaucer's incidental lyrics; their daintiness is 
surprising in comparison with the man's other 

i Poems, i. p. 1. 8 Ibid., p. 22. 5 ma., p. 361. 

a Ibid., p. 20. 4 Ibid. t p. 51. 


work. A fair illustration is the song to Margery 
Wentworthe : — 

" With Margerain ientyll, 
The flower of goodly hede. 
Embrowdered the mantill 
Is of your maydenhede. 
Plainly I cannot glose 
Ye be, as I deveyne, 
The praty primrose, 
The goodly columbine. 
With Margerain ientyll," etys. 8 

Skelton is the last lyric poet of any consequence 
before Surrey and Wyatt. In many respects he 
is a follower of Chaucer, like his contemporaries ; 
but they, as a rule, incline more to Chaucer's narra- 
tive and allegorical vein. Of these poets Dunbar 
seems the most important ; though the intention of 
much of his work is narrative, he has considerable 
lyric quality. His poem, the Merle and the Night- 
ingale, for example, is a fine lyric, though the few 
introductory stanzas are not. This song is inter- 
esting as a development of Chaucer's ballade-forms. 
It has two alternating refrains, but no envoy,; the 
refrains are made typical of the bird that sings 
them, like the alternating refrains of the Nut-brown 
Maid. The stanza-form is ababbcbc, which, as we 
saw before, is identified with Chaucer's ballade- 
measures. The religious subject-matter is charac- 
teristic of the contemporary verse in general, and 
especially of Dunbar. It appears again in the 

l2Wd.,p. 398. 


song, " Now cooled is Dame Venus' brand," * with 
its effective refrain of two lines. The same love of 
refrains is seen in the ballade on London, which 
shows Dunbar's love of the city in rather unin- 
spired words. 2 It employs the same Chaucerian 
ballade-measure as the Merle and the Nightingale, 
with a refrain, but no envoy. The Lament for the 
Makaris 8 illustrates a dignified use of a short line 
(four accents) and a short stanza (three lines, with 
Latin refrain). Its elevation of mood and the 
short movement of its verse recall the Dies Irae. 
In the Thistle and the Rose 4 we have ample oppor- 
tunity to judge Dunbar by Chaucer's lyric methods. 
The poem is an allegory of birds and flowers 
(like the Parlement of Foules), to celebrate the 
marriage of Margaret of England and James IV 
of Scotland. There are incidental bird-songs and 
flower-songs, as when the lark sings his chanson 
d'aubade : — 

" Awake, Lovers, out of your slumbering ! 
See how the lusty morrow does upspring ! " 

But the point of view is human; in none of the 
bird-songs does Dunbar express the joy of the birds 
dramatically, as Chaucer does ; we are made to feel 
that he is using them for an allegory, not for a 
picture of nature. 

The only other lyric expression to be found in 
the narrative works of this period is in Stephen 

i Dunbar Anthology, p. 46. 8 Ibid., p. 23. 

2 Ibid., p. 31. * Ibid., p. 34. 


Hawes* Pastime of Pleasure. A lyric effect is 
obtained throughout this narrative allegory, by 
making the hero tell his own story. But several 
parts are more especially lyric, as the commenda- 
tion of Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate, in chapter 
xiv., and the epilogue, or Excusation of the Author. 1 
This last is one of those familiar addresses to the 
reader, commending the book, which later became 
frequent in Elizabethan poetry. 

In this chapter only the more significant lyrics 
of the Middle English period have been mentioned. 
Several narrative poems with notable lyrical quality 
have been passed over, because their influence upon 
the later lyric is slight. The illustration that will 
readily occur to the reader is the Pearl. 2 For in- 
numerable other examples the reader is referred to 
the familiar collections of the Early English Text 
Society and of the Percy Society, and for charming 
examples of carols, to the fourth volume of the 
Warton Club Publications} 

1 Percy Soc. t xviii. p. 220. 

* Early Eng. Allit. Poems, R. Morris, 1864, Early Eng. Text 
8oc. t i. p. 1. Edited separately, I. Gollancz, 1891. 

• Songs and Carols, Thomas Wright, 1856. 



The Elizabethan lyric first presented itself to the 
public in the popular collections called Miscellanies. 
The first printed collection of this kind, TotteVs 
Miscellany, 1557, is usually reckoned the starting- 
point of the great lyric era. But both the themes 
of the songs and the mode of publishing had their 
roots deep-set in the earlier literature. The habit 
of making manuscript collections of favorite songs' 
for convenience in singing was very common dur- 
ing the early part of the Tudor period, and perhaps 
earlier. Four or five examples are preserved, and 
show clearly the connection between the old lyric 
and the new. 1 The largest collection is particularly 
valuable because it contains several pieces by Henry 
VIII. On account of its importance it will be con- 
sidered first. 

Since the birth of Prince Henry, in 1511, is 

i Liedersammlnngen der XVI Jahrbunderte, besonders aus 
der Zeit Heinrech's VIII, Fliigel, Anglia, xii. p. 225. A few of 
the songs, with facsimiles of the music, can be found in an 
article by Wm. Chappell in Archxologia, xli. pt. ii. p. 371. 


chjlp. hi.] LYRIC THEMES 57 

mentioned in one of the songs, the manuscript is 
assigned to the year immediately after. It should 
be remembered thatf this collection belonged to 
a gentleman of rank, perhaps to the king, and it 
reflects his tastes, not those of the average man. 
Some of the songs are signed ; * the others may be 
old compositions, or the work of contemporary 
writers; one evidently is a version of a song by 
Sir Thomas Wyatt. 2 Though the familiar themes 
of the Middle English lyric are represented, they 
show a double change, due to the effect of time and 
to the narrower range of emotions in which the 
court gentleman found enjoyment. This narrowing 
of the lyric theme is illustrated by the patriotic 
song, which shows already, in the three examples 
of this collection, a change from love of country to 
loyalty to the king ; 8 there is even a suggestion of 
the courtly compliment, so conspicuous under Eliza- 
beth and the Stuarts. The one war-song in the col- 
lection, " England, be glad, pluck up thy lusty hart," 
referring to the approaching war of 1513 with the 
French, is far removed from the old fighting spirit ; 
it is an attempt to rouse enthusiasm, instead of 
being an involuntary expression of it. 4 

The second class of songs on old themes, in- 
cludes the songs of moral or gnomic character. 

1 Fourteen are by Henry VHI, ten by William Cornysh, 
lour by Pfardyng, and four by Dr. Cooper, two by Ffluyd, and 
one each by Wm. Daggere, Rysbye, and Pygott. 

* " A robyn, gentle robin/' Jftiglia, xii. p. 241. 

•JMd.,p.250. *Z&id. p. 250. 


Their range is greatly narrowed ; there are no mort- 
uary songs among them on the shortness of life 
or the vanity of beauty. They are shorter also and 
more epigrammatic than the popular version of 
such precepts. They deal with courtly bits of 
wisdom, such as the Praise of Sincerity in Love, 1 
and the Praise of Virtuous Youth, 2 yet without 
losing the native gnomic manner. Many of these 
are signed with Henry's name, and one cannot help 
noticing how he recurs to what is evidently his 
favorite theme — ■ the praise of sincerity in wooing 
and the scorn of all trifling in love : — 

44 Whoso that wyll for grace sew, 
Hys intent must nedys be trew, 
And love her in hart and dede, 
Els it war pyte that he should spede." 8 

There is nothing new or surprising in Henry's 
point of view, but in another song he gives a 
characteristic reason for disliking double-dealing 
in love ; the insincere gallant, he says, does great 
harm, for he prevents better men from making 
love to the lady: — 

44 For often tymes when they do sewe, 
They hinder lovers that wolde be trew." * 

Keligious poems are represented in this collec- 
tion by only one song. It is a lullaby sung by the 
Virgin to the Child. The refrain is in Latin, and 
the song, after the old manner of introducing such 

i Anglia, xii. p. 238. « Ibid., p. 248. 

2 Ibid., p. 233. * Rid., p . 243. 


themes, is supposed to be overheard by the poet. 
The poet evidently fears, however, that the lyric 
may be mistaken for an ordinary * slumber-song, 
and to prevent such an error, adds a few verses 
in a different rhythm, to explain that he refers to 
the holy family. 1 

This manuscript contains also a large number 
of English love-plaints, and some half dozen in 
French, repeating the traditional mood of this 
kind of song. They are much simpler, however, 
than Chaucer's handling of the same theme. In 
this respect they are nearer the form of the prac- 
tical song. They turn upon one situation which 
is not elaborated nor more than adequately ex- 
pressed; in one parting-song there are but two 
lines, which the manuscript says should be sung 
three times in order to piece out the tune : — 

44 Departure is my chief paine, 
I trust ryght wel of retorne agane." 2 

The theme of farewell at parting and the plead- 
ings of unrequited love furnish the bulk of these 
plaints with subject-matter. The only point to be 
noticed is the bare way in which these conven- 
tional situations are expressed ; the emotional color 
is left for the music to supply. 

The new themes in this miscellany give evidence 

both of a growing native strain in the lyric, and of 

the influence of that Romance pastoral element 

which marked the first years of Elizabethan poetry. 

i Ibid., p. 252. 2 Ibid., p. 243. 


The English strain is seen in the hunting-songs, of 
which there are several, in the spring-songs, and in 
one sturdy lyric of the holly and ivy. These are 
all expressive of a life of boisterous good-humor 
and feasting, of the spirit of ("Merry England." 
No doubt the song-makers of Henry's court had 
more of a holiday-time than the rank and file of 
poets. The king himself, in the famous song that 
heads the collection, says : — 

" Pastime with good company, 
I love and shall until I die." 1 

In accordance with this spirit, the hunting-songs 
have little substance except the general atmosphere 
of the sport, got mainly from the repetition of 
cheerful phrases like, "Blow ye horn, hunter," 
and "Sore the dere stricken is." 2 Their lack of 
art suggests that they have been transcribed un-. 
changed from the familiar life of the hunt. 

The same fresh spirit gives importance to the 

spring-songs, though their theme is as old as lyric 

poetry. Their method of construction is simple — 

merely a catalogue of familiar spring images, young 

buds, red roses and white, and the song of birds. 3 

They have little verbal melody or art ; as in all 

true songs, the words are adequate to express the 

lyric motive, and the emotion is largely supplied 

by the music. The same' construction is apparent 

in the Song of the Holly, though here the theme is 

i Anglia, xii. p. 230. 

2 Ibid., p. 238. 8 " In may that lusty season," ibid., p. 232. 


new — a single love motive, expressed entirely in 
English images : — 

" Grene growth ye holy bo doth ye Ive 
Thow wynter blastys blow never so hye. 
As the holy growth grene 
And never changeth hew, 
So I am — ever hath been 
Unto my lady true." 1 

The Romance influence is seen in several songs, 
but chiefly in/one minute imitation of the pastourelle. 
In the conventional version of this Eomance form 
the poet meets a woman (usually a shepherdess) 
and pleads for her love ;\ she argues the case with 
him and finally gives in or not as she chooses ; some- 
times her brother or her father happens along, and 
puts a quick end to the poet's wooing. The argu- 
ment between the lover and the woman, the dtbat, 
is the lyrical part of the poem, and the most impor- 
tant. 1 For the oldest Eomance example of it, it is 
customary to refer to the Contrasto of Cielo d* 
Alcamo, though an earlier example of the whole 

i Ibid., p. 237. 

2 Cf . the dibat between a knight and a shepherdess, from a 
French pastourelle, published in AltfranzbsUche Romanzen und 
Pastourcllen, Bartsch, p. 121 : — 

" When I approached her, I said : • Sister, if you will love 
me, honor thereof shall you have all your life.' 

" ' Sir, mock me not! Well may you find women enough to 
love, richer and better clad than 1/ 

" ' Fair one, in love I care not for lordship ; good sense pleases 
me, and beauty, whereof you have no lack, and sweet company.' 

"'You speak folly, for you shall have none of it; for 
another man is betrothed to have my love. If you do not re- 


species is the twenty-seventh idyl of Theocritus. 
In this English imitation, the poet meets a shepherd- 
ess, and offers to accompany her to the meadow ; 
she refuses his society, and when he makes his 
intentions of love more plain, threatens to summon 
her mother, who is near by. Finally the poet is 
convinced of the futility of his suit and leaves her. 
The first stanza points unmistakably to the origin 
of the innocent-sounding nursery-rime, " Where are 
you going, my pretty maid ? " 

44 A. Hey troly loly lo ! maid, whither go you ? 
B. I go to the meadow to milk my cow. 

A. Then at the meadow I will you meet, 

To gather ye flowers both fair and sweet. 

B. Nay, God forbid, it may not be ! 

I wysse my mother then shall us see," etc. 1 

The important thing to be learned from this 
collection as a whole is the way in which song- 
words are constructed, when they are considered 

mount and ride quickly from here, I shaU be ill-treated if 
Perrin should spy us. And many shepherds would come to his 
aid if he should call.' 

"'Fair one, fear it not, but hearken to me; you speak 
great folly.' 

" ' Sir, at least I beg that you have pity on me; if I remain 
here, I shall be ill scoffed at.' 

" ' Fair one, I promise you, if you take me for your love, no 
one will be so bold as to say to you any insult. For the love of 
God, be my sweet friend ! ' 

" 'Sir, speak no more of it; for what I saw in Limoges on 
Wednesday, I will not trust you.' 

" ' Shepherdess, so be it ! Fool am I to plead with you longer. 
No joy ever came from long fiddling,' etc." 

i Anglia, xii. p. 255. 


not as poems but as material for musical setting. 
This miscellany, while forming a natural link 
between the old and the new literary themes of the 
lyric, is of most interest as representing an era of 
practical song. The pieces, as in some cases we 
have noticed, turn always on one situation as a 
lyric stimulus, have usually the simplest construc- 
tion, and do not attempt to express all the emotion 
in the words ; the words are felt to be incomplete 
without the music. In three cases there are no 
words at all, merely syllables, such as " Hey, nony, 
nony," on which to vocalize the notes. The con- 
trast between this true song-lyric and the liter- 
ary lyric in the song-books, is striking. In this 
miscellany the words and the music are of equal 
importance, and the interest is divided between 
them. In the song-books either the songs are 
poems, quite satisfactory without the notes, or else 
some clever part-writing in the music makes the 
singers satisfied with any words, and the two arts 
rarely serve each other equally. 

The second manuscript in importance, though the 
earliest in time, /belongs probably to the first decade 
of the sixteenth century, a few years before the 
Henry VIII collection. 1 The lyrics in this manu- 
script do not reflect the court at all, but follow rather 
the popular taste. There is one patriotic song, in 
honor of the marriage of Princess Margaret with 
James IV, of Scotland, in 1503. These verses, though 
i Ibid., p. 258. 


naturally complimentary, sound no servile note, 
nor do they betray any taint of flattery ; it is the 
general joy of the public at the union of Scotland 
and England that gives the theme importance. 1 

The love-plaints are fairly well represented, but 
differ from those in the first collection in being more 
elaborate in treatment, with less of the practical 
song-quality. The gnomic verses appear in but one 
form, a bit of moralizing on the mutability of for- 
tune — "The wheel of fortune, who can hold?" 1 
Those pieces in the first manuscript in which sylla- 
bles like " Hey, nony, nony " were made to do duty 
for the whole song, have their nearest parallel in 
the second, in a catch, "Nay mary, nay mary, I 
peter, but ye must," etc., 8 a kind of song that is 
ideal in one sense, because it must be executed 
orally to be understood at all. 

The religious lyrics appear in two familiar forms: 
a penitential hymn to the Saviour, 4 and a dialogue 
between Mary and Christ. 5 In this latter poem the 
old dramatic dialogue is combined with the theme 
of the Virgin singing a lullaby to her child. The 
poet in a dream overhears the slumber-song, in 
which Mary, saddened as usual by the poverty of 
the Saviour's birth, asks Him why He came into the 
world so poor. He answers that if she will wait 
awhile, she will see the kings come to worship Him. 

1 Anglia, xii. p. 265. 

2 Ibid. , p. 2G9. * Ibid., p. 268. 
» Ibid., p. 265. * Ibid. t p. 270. 


In this general class of songs we may perhaps in- 
clude a satiric song against a friar, 1 written with 
Latin verses as refrains — an expression of a popu- 
lar prejudice familiar in narrative poetry, such as 
Chaucer's, but not often found in the lyric. 

There is but one spring-song in the collection, 
and that not so English as the versions of the same 
theme in the first manuscript. It follows Middle 
English models in elaborateness and in the conven- 
tional setting ; the poet tells, with some detail, how, 
while he was lying on a bank, half dreaming, he 
heard a bird sing the approach of spring, and warn 
all young men that the season of love was at hand. 2 

The length and elaboration of such pieces as this 
show that here we have, not a collection of practi- 
cal songs, but a mixture of singable lyrics, and of 
poems that would do as well without music. Such 
especially are the number of epigrammatic pieces 
of double meaning, which require for their success 
the hearer's full attention to • the words. With 
the exception of the catch, most of the songs are 
interesting in themselves, and elaborated for literary 
effect. The collection, differing in this respect from 
the Henry VIII manuscript, is much nearer the 
first printed miscellanies ; and in the spirit of its 
themes, as we have seen, it shows no influence of 
the early poets, but follows the traditional taste 
of the people. 

The third miscellany 8 is a small collection of 

iJMd.,p.268. *IWd.,p.264. » Ibid., p. 587. 



Christmas carols published by Wynkyn de Worde 
in 1521. These express, not only the religious 
sentiment of the season, but also a certain court 
atmosphere of ceremony and elaborate good cheer. 
For example, there is a hunting-song, much more 
highly wrought than those of the first manuscript, 
and less true to the hearty mood of the sport. 1 
Another carol, one of the first songs on Christmas 
customs, is the familiar " Caput apri differo," on the 
bringing in of the boar's head. 2 Midway between 
the song of Christmas customs and the true reli- 
gious song, is the carol of welcome to Christmas 
and farewell to the season of Advent. The typical 
religious lyric is the song on the birth of Christ, 
after the old model of Middle English narrative 
themes. 8 All the songs in this collection are art- 
lyrics, written with most attention upon the words ; 
the absence of the music is not felt at all. 

The fourth miscellany, dating about 1530, is in- 
teresting for the variety of its subjects. 4 Almost 
all the themes in the other collections are repre- 
sented here, though in some cases the treatment is 
new. The religious songs have numerous exam- 
ples, more than in the other manuscripts. Omit- 
ting a setting of the Lord's Prayer, we have four 
pieces of this kind ; a hymn of praise, 5 in alternate 
English and Latin lines, riming, two songs of adora- 

1 Anglia, xii. p. 587. 4 Ibid., p. 589. 

a Ibid., p. 587. * Ibid., p. 587. 

« Ibid., p. 588. 


tion addressed to the Virgin, 1 and one description 
of Mary singing to the Child. 2 The love-plaints, 
also, appear in forms noticed before — protesta- 
tions of devotion and parting-songs. Under this 
general class would come an example of the dtbat, 
or argument between lovers, somewhat as defined in 
the pastourelle of the first manuscript ; a lover pro- 
poses marriage to his lady, who, after long argu- 
ment, accepts him. 8 Since the pleasure of such a 
poem is intellectual rather than emotional, and can 
be got most easily from the unaccompanied words, 
the musical setting is, of course, unimportant. 
The spring-song is represented by a piece in praise 
of the singing of birds — rather a perfunctory per- 
formance, without any individual note. 4 The patri- 
otic poem has for illustration one extraordinary 
song of royal flattery, in which the poet, reclining 
upon a bank, hears the birds summon England to 
awake and thank God for their noble king, the 
Defender of the Faith, etc. 5 

The fifth manuscript belongs to the same time, 
although much of its contents was probably com- 
posed in the last years of the fifteenth century. 6 
The scribe, Richard Hill, luckily recorded the 
birthdays of his family on a spare leaf of the 
manuscript; since the youngest child registered 
was born in 1526, the copy was certainly made later. 

i Ibid., p. 591. « Ibid., p. 596. * Ibid., p. 597. 

* Ibid. t p. 590. 4 Ibid., p. 595. 

• Anglia, xxvi. p. 94, Ewald Fliigel. 


The collection contains much narrative verse and 
miscellaneous prose. The lyrics, however, may be 
divided into three classes — moral or philosophic, 
religious, and humorous. The philosophical lyric 
deals chiefly with such themes as the fickleness of 
fortune. An interesting illustration is the poem in 
French, perhaps part of a ballade, on the old motive 
ubi sunt, familiar to us in Villon's Ballade of Dead 
Ladies : — 

" Fortune, ou est David, et Salomon, 
Mathusale, Josue, Machabee, 
Olofernes, Alexandre, et Sampson, 
Tulles Cesar, Hector, Ausy Pompee, 
Ou est Ulyxes, et sa grant renommee, 
Artur le roy, Godefroy, Charlemaine, 
Daries le grant, Hercules, Tholomee ? 
Us sont tous mors, le monde est chose vaine. " x 

It is evident at once from this quotation that 
here we have the literary lyric without any sug- 
gestion of musical accompaniment. This is true of 
all the poems on philosophical subjects. 

Some of the religious lyrics also have no need of 
musical setting. There are the usual addresses to 
the Virgin and penitential hymns to Christ. A 
new theme is introduced with the prayers to the 
guardian angel — a religious conception which had 
become familiar in the Moralities, and which later 
furnishes a striking image to the sonneteers : — 

41 O Angell dere wher ever I goo 
Me that am corny tted to thyne awarde, 

i Anglia, p. 142. 


Save, defende and govern also, 

That in hewyn with thee be my rewarde ! 

O thou cumly Angell, so gude and clere, 
Yat ever art abydyng with me, 
Though I may nother the se nor here, 
Yet devoutely with trust I pray to the I " 1 

The cradle-song of the Saviour appears in several 
versions, but a newer handling of the Christmas 
story is represented by two accounts of the shep- 
herds abiding in the field. 2 In both lyrics the 
treatment is pastoral and realistic ; the shepherds' 
duties and occupations are described at the moment 
when the angels appear. 

One combination of Latin and English words 
gives a hint as to the origin of the inverted echo- 
songs of the printed miscellanies. In this example, 
the Latin words begin each line and are necessary 
to the meter and to the sense ; but, read by them- 
selves, they form a kind of acrostic sentence : — 

" Salve with abeysance to God in humblesse 
Begina to regne ever more in blysse, 
Mater to Cryst as we believe expresse, 
Misericordie unto all wretchesse," etc. 8 

The majority of the religious songs are Christmas 
carols. They are apparently intended to be sung. 
At all events they have such external marks of lyric 
poetry as refrains, short lines, graceful stanzas. 
The best known carol in the manuscript is probably 
the Song of the Rose : — 

ij&id.,p.l57. 2/&id.,p.237. «/Wd.,p.l72. 


" Of a rose, a lovely rose, 
And of a rose I sing a song ! 
Herkyn to me both olde and yonge, 
How a rose began to sprynge, 
A f ayerer rose to my lykyng 

Sprong ther never in Kynges landed 1 

There are two hunting-songs, very nearly alike, 
both describing the killing of the stag. 2 The at- 
mosphere of the sport, such as was noticed in the 
Henry VIII manuscript, is here lacking. Rather 
more realistic is the drinking-song, one of the earli- 
est examples in the miscellanies : — 

" Jentyll butler, bellamy, 
ffyl ye boll by ye eye ! 
Yat we may drynk by and by 
with ; how butler how 
Bevis a towt 
ffill ye boll butler and let ye cup rowght I " • 

One final quotation illustrates an early song of 
Christmas customs — a kind of lyric that persists 
throughout the Elizabethan period, even to Herrick's 
time : — 

" Lett no man cum in to this hall, 
Grome, page, nor yet marshall, 
But yat sum sport he bryng with all ! 
for now ys the tyme of Crystmas I 

Yff that he say, he can not syng 
Sum oder sport then lett hym bryng ! 
Yat y t may please at thys festyng ! 
for now ys the tyme of Crystmas ! 

1 Anglia, p. 232. * j^ p . 194. 8 jbid. t p. 282. 


Yff he say he can nowht do, 

Then for my love aske hym no mo 1 

But to the stokkes then lett hym go ! 

for now ys the tyme of Crystmas ! " 1 


The greatest of the printed miscellanies is 
Tottel's, published in 1557. 2 Besides the poems of 
Wyatt and Surrey, which give the book its impor- 
tance, it contains lyrics by Grimald, Lord Vaux, 
and others. Though from the courtesy due to his 
rank, Surrey's name is on the title-page and his 
poems come first, the important contributor, from 
the standpoint of lyric poetry, was Sir Thomas 
Wyatt. The selections from Surrey are better 
poetry, perhaps, but not nearly so lyrical. 

The pervading theme of Wyatt's songs, as of the 
entire miscellany, is love. In the treatment of this 
motive, under Petrarchan influence, he shows a 
refinement upon the methods of the conventional 
love-plaint, thereby becoming the earliest singer of 
the Elizabethan subjective lyric. When the old 
lyric situations reappear, the expression is more 
imaginative, more individual in detail, and more 
psychological in its picture of the lover's state of 
mind, as in the song of the deserted lover. 8 In this 
following example, the recurrence of the memory 


* Songes and Sonettcs, written by the ryght honorable Lords 
Henry Howard late Earle of Surrey, and other. Apud Richardum 
Tottel,lfi57. Arber's Reprint, 1897. 




to a vivid picture of former bliss, gives more 
point to the lover's grief than any number of 
exclamations : — 

" Thanked be fortune, it hath bene otherwise 
Twenty times better : but once especiall, 
In thinne array, after a pleasant gyse, 
When her loose gowne did from her shoulders fall, 
And she me caught in her arms long and small, 
And therwithall, so swetely did me kysse, 
And softly sayd ; deare heart, how like you this ? " 

With such a number of love-lyrics grouped to- 
gether, as here in the case of Wyatt's poems, 
it is inevitable that the reader should feel to some 
extent a common personality in them all; or at 
least, the lover becomes typical. This is only a 
small step towards the sonnet-series, with their 
more or less individual heroes, but it is a sure one. 
The tendency appears elsewhere in the handling of 
dramatic motives, themes arising from situations 
clearly not in the poet's experience, but treated 
experimentally. 1 This impersonal interest in love, 
and the expression of it for its own sake, shows 
itself also in the elaborate similes of such pieces 
as the Lover compareth his state to a shippe in 
perilous storme tossed on the sea, 2 or the Compari- 
son of love to a streame falling from the Alpes; s the 
image in such cases being studied merely as an 
artistic means of expression. An entirely new 
note is sounded in the Description of such a one as 

1 See The lover ezcuseth himself, Songes and Sonettes, p. 66. 
ajftidcp. 39. */&ic*., p. 46. 


fie would love; 1 not before in the English lyric 
had a poet contemplated the great passion so 
objectively as to theorize in advance about his 

But the development of the subjective lyric, as 
it appears in the later sonnet-series, called for more 
dramatic minds than Wyatt's. : Though well in line 
with the new mode of thought, as has been indicated, 
he was naturally a lyrist, a maker of songs. This 
native gift combined happily with his foreign cul- 
ture to produce his most typical work, the art- 
lyrics — songs meant to be enjoyed without music, 
as opposed to the practical song. Externally these 
poems follow the old French tradition as seen in 
the songs of Edward Fs reign ; they are built on 
light-moving stanzas, simpler of course than the 
Middle English riming-schemes, and they make 
effective use of refrains. In the treatment of their 
subjects, however, they are analytical, philosophical, 
and generally too closely thought out, to be good 
songs.* Some of the shorter pieces in this class, 
while losing nothing of their lyric quality, tend 
to become epigrammatic. This tendency later 
becomes largely characteristic of the Elizabethan 
song, and may be explained then, as here now in 
Wyatt, by the presence of an intellectual element, 
demanding concise expression. 

Several of Wyatt's poems recall themes already 

i Ibid., p. 68. 

1 See The Lover taught, mistrusteth allurements, ibid., p. 42. 


familiar, but with a typical change of treatment. 
The dialogue between two lovers x is nothing more 
than the old formula of the dtbat, but its lineage 
is concealed by presenting the characters, not as 
shepherd and shepherdess, but as courtier and lady. 
The subject, too, is almost concealed by a double 
refinement of thought and phrase ; what was origi- 
nally nothing more delicate than the plain-spoken 
importunities of the rustic to his mistress, is here 
made into a series of pretty compliments and 
retorts, with the emotional pitch of polite conver- 

Wyatt's one reference to his country is short, 
but fine in feeling, in the lines on his return from 
Spain. 2 The poem has a threefold interest: as a 
personal lyric, as an expression of patriotism, and 
as a note of Elizabethan experience. The enthu- 
siasm of the poet's home-coming is unmistakably 
felt, and gives a charm to the verses they might 
not otherwise have had. The reference to the 
king and the country, in the same phrase, betrays 
a higher type of courtier than has appeared in 
earlier verses of this kind; there is here no at- 
tempt to flatter the sovereign by exalting him 
above his realm, but loyalty to the throne is ac- 
cepted as a result of love of country. 

Wyatt's influence on the lyric is of two kinds. 
As a subjective lyrist, he brought into England the 
Petrarchan sonnet, and, in its final form, the Petrar- 
1 Songes and Sonettes, p. 79. 2 Ibid., p. 84. 


chan subject-matter; Chaucer had used the latter 
for lyric purposes, but he was untouched by its 
introspective mood. Wyatt's handling of it was 
intellectual and wise rather than spontaneous; 
when it appears in his sonnets, it has forceful ex- 
pression but lacks the quality of song. In the 
lighter verse-forms, more in accord with the 
French genius, he achieves many successful exam- 
ples of the art-lyric, the song not meant for music ; 
here, while dealing with subjects as subtle as 
those of his sonnets, he preserves the song-quality 
in the words. In this success he anticipates the 
highly wrought lyrics of Sidney. 

Surrey is generally reckoned the follower of 
Wyatt in his art, as he is in time, but he had only 
one side of his master's gifts ; he was a lyrist only 
in the sense of being a poet of subjective expres- 
sion, and he lacked almost entirely the song- 
quality of words. Of the relation of real music 
to speech, or of their combination in practical 
song, he is, like Wyatt, quite unconscious. His 
conception of lyric character is dramatic rather 
than personal; even when he has most the man- 
ner of self-revelation, like the Elizabethan sonnet- 
eers, he is likely to disclose an imagined experience 
not his own. The numerous poems called "de- 
scriptions," such as the Description of the restlesse 
state of a lover, 1 represent this kind of dramatic 
revelation. In such a lyric Surrey is sure to im- 
i Ibid., p. 5. 


agine a particular personality to fit each situation, 
so that though the lover, as in Wyatt, is typical 
throughout the series, the type, nevertheless, con- 
stantly varies. These facts of Surrey's method 
are important as tending to discredit the genuine- 
ness of the love-stories in most of the sonnet- 
series, beginning with Surrey himself and the 
Geraldine myth. 1 

His sonnets, as a whole, have greater lyric 
effect, more song-quality than Wyatt's, but the rea- 
son is largely external. Instead of the Petrarchan . 
stanza, he used, in the main, the quatrain com- 
bination later made famous by Shakspere. At 
other times he used systems of fourteen lines, 
hardly to be called sonnets. The lightness of 
these forms, joined with the fact that Surrey had 
probably a much finer feeling for English verse 
than Wyatt, will explain a lyric superiority that 
seems at first sight greater than it really is. The 
sonnets divide themselves, by the external effect, 
into three kinds — dramatic, lyrical, and bio- 
graphic. Of the lyrical quality in Surrey's sonnets 
enough has been said, and it should be remembered 
that the criticism is not considered absolute, but 
is meant to show the effect of a comparison with 
Wyatt. The dramatic sonnets belong to that class 
of imaginative lyrics already described, wherein the 
poet speaks in a supposed character or situation. 

i For the Geraldine story, see Henry Morley's English Writers, 
viii. p. 27. 


A good example is the Complaint that his ladie y after 
she knew of his love kept her face alway hidden 
from him. 1 It is apparent in these verses that Sur- 
rey has attained at once that appearance of sincerity 
in an improbable situation, which is the model of 
the sonnet-makers. The most interesting sonnets, 
however, are those which adopt the autobiographi- 
cal manner, as the lines to Geraldine. 2 With these 
may be classed the autobiographical lyrics, not 
sonnets, such as the poem on Windsor. 3 It is 
not too much to say that this class of lyrics 
accounts for Surrey's immediate fame and the 
preference for his work over Wyatt's ; for there is 
more of a direct personality in them, whether the 
facts of experience are true or imagined, than in 
any lyrist before Sidney, and 'the themes and 
details of each piece are more native to England, 
more real in appearance, than any of Wyatt's. 

Surrey repeats the familiar variations of the 
love-plaint, but refines them, as Wyatt had done. 
Some of his new motives are interesting, as when 
he brings back the conception of the god of love 
as a concrete personality, 4 which had practically 
been absent from the lyric since Chaucer. The 
ideals of chivalric love appear in refined and even 
exaggerated form, as when he swears eternal, though 
unrequited, service to his lady, 5 or professes to find 
comfort enough in the contemplation of the lady's 

1 Songes and Sonettes, p. 12. 8 Ibid., p. 13. * Ibid., p. 11. 
* Ibid. t p. 9. 4 Ibid., p. 7. 


worth, without any nearer enjoyment of her beauty. 1 
Some of the lyric situations reflect the new fashion 
of travel among English gentlemen, as in the two 
laments of ladies for the absence of their lovers 
over seas. 2 

Surrey's nearest approach to the practical song 
is the art-lyric, where, in the few examples he 
attempts, he falls below Wyatt. He seems to have 
no sense for the externals of lyric effect,vnever even 
attempting the refrain, which Wyatt had constantly 
employed to advantage. The subject-matter of these 
art-songs, like Wyatt's, is subtle and finely wrought; 
the words demand close attention in order to be 

The number of gnomic or moral poems in Sur- 
rey is rather large. The old proverbial manner of 
such themes, however, he changed to 'the tone of 
philosophy, and he gives out his wisdom as the 
result of personal reflection. A- typical subject is 
the Mean and sure estate, 8 which he treats more 
than once, perhaps because Wyatt had made several 
versions of it. The popularity of the theme is 
shown by its constant appearance in the anonymous 
verses, of later date, included in the miscellany. 

An interesting corner of Surrey's work is made 
up of literary tributes, like the verses addressed to 
Martial, 4 and those on Wyatt's death. 6 The infer- 
ence to other authors is old in English literature, 

i Songes and Sonettes, p. 14. 8 Ibid., p. 27. 6 Ibid., pp. 28, 29. 
a Ibid., pp. 15, 19. « Ibid. t p. 27. 


but rare in the lyric, and here the manner is new ; 
it is the first evidence of the infimate literary life 
that the Elizabethan poets were to lead. With 
those poets Surrey's genius was in full accord ; he 
gave the weight of his art to that side of Wyatt's 
writing that was most subjective and introspective, 
and, in the musical sense of the word, least lyrical. 
Thus he is nearer to the sonnet-series than to the 
song-books,/ and, standing between Wyatt and the 
later makers of art-lyrics, he serves to obscure that 
side of the older poet's genius. 

Grimald is a much less ambitious figure than 
these two lyrists, but his pieces in TotteVs Mis- 
cellany have their own interest. He stands for the 
type of minor poet, who, though hidden by the 
larger names, is present throughout the period, and 
emerges fully developed in Marvell. The love- 
poem in his art takes the form of complimentary 
addresses to ladies of his acquaintance, whom he 
signifies by their initials, as, To Maistress D. A., 1 or 
A Neew Teres gift, to the L. M. S? Sentiment takes 
the place of passion in these verses, except in 
some unfortunate examples where even sentiment 
is omitted. A number of poems called Epitaphs 
show the same weakness of inspiration ; with the 
exception of the notable lines to his mother, 8 they 
are but perfunctory moralizings. The gnomic tone 
of these funeral pieces is seen to more advantage in 
such poems as Mirth? in which the lighter subject 

»IMd.,p.l04. * Ibid., p. 106. « Ibid., p. 116. * Ibid., p. 103. 


makes the unpretentious manner acceptable; and 
it takes on a new form in the Description of Vertue* 
in which the gnomic ideas are advanced through a 
dialogue, by short questions and answers. Sjince 
the method becomes a favorite with the later poets, 
it maj" be well to quote this example : — 

" What one art thou, thus in torn weed yclad ? 
Vertue, in price whom auncient sages had. 
Why, poorely rayd ? For fadying goodes past care. 
Why doublefaced ? I marke eche fortunes fare. 
This bridle, what ? Mindes rages to restrain. 
Tooles why beare you : I love to take great pain. 
Why, wings ? I reach above the starres to flye, 
Why tread you death ? I onely cannot dye." 

Grimald seems to be in the line of the minor 
poets like Marvell, by virtue of a few verses that 
show a thoughtful, gentle personality through the 
far from lofty expression. This example, together 
with the lines to his mother, and those called the 
Garden, 2 illustrate the point. 

The anonymous lyrics in TotleVs Miscellany are 
easily classed under the types already considered. 
Most of them are love-plaints, in the familiar man- 
ner, or moral observations akin to the gnomic poem. 
Perhaps the most noteworthy selection is that in 
which The lover telleth of his divers joyes and advers- 
ities in love and lastly of his ladies death 8 — a lyrical 
ballad like the Ancient Mariner, built up of lyric 
units and welded together by a single spirit. The 
swiftness and sureness of these verses raise them far 
i Songes and Sonettes, p. 108. a Ibid., p. 111. * Ibid., p. 144. 



above their companion pieces. The popularity of 
Chaucer's lyrics, as well as of his narrative poems, is 
shown by the inclusion of one of his ballades, Flee 
from the prese and dwell with sothfastnes. 1 The 
religious lyric is represented by one penitential 
hymn,* and the satiric poem against women survives 
in two very ungallant but vigorous songs. The new 
literary culture finds natural expression in a sonnet, 
full of true feeling, in "praise of Petrarke, and of 
Laura his ladie" j 8 and lastly, two lyrics, on the 
model of the holly song in the Henry VIII manu- 
script, continue the tradition of this simple love- 
song, expressed in images of English flowers. 4 

The second miscellany, the Paradise of Dainty 
Devices, 1576,' shows at once a falling off in lyric 
composition and a decline in taste. The lyrics 
in thfe collection are of little positive merit, but 
serve as an index of the popular themes. The 
majority of these themes are moral or gnomic — 
the shortness of life, the vanity of human joy, the 
sin and folly of youth, the fickleness of fortune, the 
value of faithful and the danger of treacherous 
friends. The " preaching " tone never flags, and evi- 
dently is becoming monotonous to the poets them- 
selves, for in two cases it is enlivened by an 
ingenious trick-stanza. This is a kind of inverted 
echo-song, like that in the fifth manuscript miscel- 
lany ; instead of the last words of each line form- 
al Ibid., p. 194. « Ibid., p. 178. « Collier's Reprint. 

* Ibid., p. 142. * Ibid., pp. 187, 199. 



ing a sentence by themselves, the first words are 
used for that purpose, as : — 

" Beholde the blast which blows the blossomes from the tree, 
The end whereof, consumes and comes to nought we see ; 
Ere thou therefore, be blowen from life that may not last, 
Begin for grace to call, for time mispent and past" 

In the remaining three stanzas, the first words of 
each line complete this embedded moral : — 

44 Have mind, on death, and fear, to sin, 
For death, shall reape, that lyfe, hath somen, 
And lyfe, shall spring, where death, hath mowen." 1 

The religious lyric is represented by a few peniten- 
tial poems, but chiefly by three hymns for Christ- 
mas-day, Easter, and Whitsunday. 2 They differ 
from previous examples in that they express the 
sentiment not of an individual, nor of Christians as 
a whole, but of the Church. Not only in the names 
of the feast-days, but more especially in the orderly 
quality of the emotion, the sense of ritual, they ex- 
press a religious feeling derived indirectly through 
an ecclesiastical system. In. this respect they might 
compare with the early religious songs much as 
Herbert's do with Milton's ode on the nativity. 

The love-plaint has rather few examples. One 
poem, however, should be mentioned for employing 
the method of question and answer, as in Grimald's 
description of Virtue : — 

" I sigh, why so ? for sorrow of her smart. 
I morne, wherfore ? for grief that she complains," etc. 8 

i Collier's Reprint, p. 2. * Ibid. , p. 18. • Ibid. , p. 44. 


In this class of lyric, though not of the same 
poetic mood, is a dibat between a lover and his lady. 
The interest of this poem has shifted from the sub- 
ject, the wooing, to the ingenious rime-scheme which 
the dialogue takes. How far afield the poet goes 
for his technical devices, can be shown only by a 
quotation : — 

44 A. Shall I no way win you, to grant my desire ? 

B. What woman will grant you the thing you require ? 

A. You only to love me is all that I crave. 

B. You only to leave me is all I would have, 

A. My dear, alas, now say not so, 

B. To love you best, I must say no : 

A. Yet will I not flitt. 

B. Then play on the bitt. 

A. IwilL 

B. Do still. 

A. YetkOlnot— 

B. I will not. 

A. Make me your man, 

B. Beshrewe me than," etc. 1 

Among the other single poems that call for 
mention, there is a May-song, containing the con- 
ventional praise of that poets' month, and also a 
lyric in praise of music, the first treatment of that 
theme in the miscellanies. The song on the refrain 
"The falling out of faithful friends renewing is of 
love," 2 is on the whole the type of lyric that this 

i Ibid., p. 73. 

« This is the work of Richard Edwards (1523 ?-1666) , a popu- 
lar musician and poet. He was educated at Oxford, and studied 
music under George Etheridge. In 1561 he was appointed 
Master of the Children of the Chapel. He wrote two plays: 


collection stands for; the ideas are shaped into 
proverbs and are not very new ; there is a certain 
amount of literary form without any literary in- 
spiration, and the whole has an effective " swing," 
which may be called lyrical in one sense, but which 
has no connection with music or real song. 

This miscellany introduces the work of one or 
two minor poets, whose names are remembered, 
though their poems here printed are forgotten. 
Probably the best of these, very famous as a poet 
in his own day, but memorable now as the friend of 
Sidney, is Sir Edward Dyer. The poem with which 
his name is most easily associated, " My mind to 
me a kingdom is," was later set to music in the 
song-books. Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, 
should also be mentioned here, though his work 
requires little more than mention. His mood and 
manner are exhibited in the lines, " The trickling 
tears that falles along my cheekes." * As in Dyer's 
case, his best lyric, " If women could be fayre and 
yet not fonde," appeared with a musical setting in 
the song-books. 2 

The third miscellany, A Gorgeous Gallery of 
Gallant Inventions? 1578, is of the same general 

Palamon and Arcite, 1566, which is lost, and Damon and 
Pithias, 1571, which is printed in Dodsley's Old Plays. 
i Ibid., p. 114. 

2 The remains of both these poets, as weU as those of Robert, 
Earl of Essex, and Walter, Earl of Essex, are reprinted in the 
Fuller Worthies Library, iv. 
• * Collier's Reprint. 


rank as the preceding collection. The love-plaints 
are represented in their full variety of theme and 
monotony of rhythm; •the "poulter's measure," 
alternate alexandrines and septenaries, serves for 
them all. A number of them, however, acquire 
a certain distinction from being cast in the form 
of epistles from one lover to the other; perhaps 
the popularity of Ovid's epistle from Penelope to 
Ulysses, attested by many paraphrases in TottePs 
and elsewhere, may account for this form. One of 
these letters, in particular, A Utter written by a 
yonge gentilwoman and sent to her husband unawares 
(by a friend) into Italy, 1 is another glimpse in lyric 
poetry of the new fashion of travel. 

The great length of the titles in all these ex- 
amples may be perhaps laid at the door of Euphu- 
ism. Another explanation would be that most of 
the popular lyric poetry at this time has a narra- 
tive background ; in many cases the poet tells how, 
under certain circumstances, he heard some one 
sing such and such songs. When, in process of 
literary evolution, the species become distinct, the 
function of the narrative, in these popular lyrics, is 
assumed by the title, which becomes a necessary 
introduction to the song proper. In some cases 
the lyric situation described by the title becomes 
the stimulus of the lyric emotion, so that the unity 
of the poem begins with the title, as : The lamentable 
lover, abiding in the bitter bale of direful doubts 
1 Ibid., p. 92. 


towards his ladies loyalty, writeth unto her as foV 
loweth. 1 

Among the familiar themes in the collection are 
two lyrics to women, who are designated, after 
Grimald's example in TotteVs Miscellany, 2 by their 
initials. It is interesting to reflect whether this 
convention, like the disguise of the sonnet-series, is 
practised in England through courtesy to the ladies, 
or whether it is a survival from the earliest Proven- 
qal love-song, which, being largely devoted to illicit 
love, took the disguise as a safeguard. 8 

These lyrics in this collection are evidently in- 
tended to be sung, since the name of the tune is 
given to which each may be set. 4 The growing 
popularity of music, as evidenced in lyric poetry by 
the verses in praise of it, and by the manuscript 
song-miscellanies, here makes its impression upon 
the literary collections. But it should be remem- 
bered that these are popular ballads and popular 
airs, not the art-lyrics of the madrigal books, nor 
the polyphonic music to which they were set. 

The fourth miscellany, A Handful of Pleasant 
Delights, 1584, 5 is as destitute of literary art as the 
manuscript collections of Henry VIII. The sole 

i Collier's Reprint, p. 9. 2 /&/,?., pp . 71 f 79. 

8 " To this fear of the loved one is added the fear of detection 
by others. The lady is always addressed by an assumed name 
(Bels Vezers, Tort n'Avetz, etc.)* There is a continual abuse of 
tale-bearers (lausengiers) and a strong desire for secrecy." 
L. F. Mott, System of Courtly Love, 1896, p. 12. 

4 Collier's Reprint, p. 49. * Reprinted by Arber. 


claim to literary interest is that its first song, 
A Nosegay, 1 is supposed to have furnished the model 
for Ophelia's posy. But the intention of the pub- 
lisher, far from imitating TotteVs Miscellany, was, 
as he says in his versified preface, I to supply a 
handy volume of favorite ballads for those who 
like singing, — to make a song-book, in short ; and, 
as Mr. Arber remarks, had it appeared twelve years 
later, it would have had the music as well as the 
words. 2 As it is, the tune is named to which each 
song is expected to be sung. 

This miscellany, then, falls between the two pop- 
ular forms of lyric publishing ; it is not a literary 
collection, /nor has it entirely the practical equip- 
ment of the later song-books. Among the traits, 
however, that show its kinship to the earlier col- 
lections, are the subject-matter and the length of 
the songs. These are not the " swallow-flights of 
song," of the madrigal books, but might rather 
be classed with the lengthy street-ballads of Eliza- 
beth's time. Yet, on the other hand, they show 
their practical song-nature in their construction, 
always simple, and in their language, which never 
usurps the melody of the music. There is little 
art in the words, and less in the music for which 
the verses were intended; they are but simple, 
popular melodies, repeated interminably as long as 
the stanzas last. 

Such length of words and comparative shortness 
1 Ibid., p. 3. a Ibid., Introduction, p. xi. 


of tune, in songs of this sort, results always in dis- 
crediting both arts. There can be little emotional 
sympathy between words and music, when the same 
melodic phrases are made to cover the varying sen- 
timents of the different stanzas; and the effective 
turns of the words are smoothed over and made un- 
noticeable by the monotonous tune. The effect of 
such a combination is to give rise to what we 
usually call " popular songs," though it is clear that 
folk-songs and national lyrics are not meant. This 
miscellany is the exact type of such "popular" 
creations. The audience to whom the publisher 
appealed evidently had no appreciation of the art- 
lyric, as practised by Wyatt, nor were they musi- 
cians, except in so far as they may have had the 
ability to remember a tune. 

Most of the themes are old. . There are numer- 
ous love-plaints, in which the lover chides the 
hard-hearted lady for being too difficult to win. 
In one case a certain effect is got by making the 
woman the suitor, 1 but the song is really the same ; 
in none of the lyrics of this period in which a 
woman speaks is there much expression of a femi- 
nine point of view ; it is simply a man's emotions 
under another name. 

The satiric song against women appears slightly 

disguised in a Warning for Lovers, 2 in which the 

poet expresses clearly his opinion of the sex. The 

religious song also has but one example in the 

i Arber Reprint, p. 43. * j&j-^ p . 37, 


. collection, and in that, too, the theme is somewhat 
new. The Joy of Virginity 1 expresses the reli- 
gious and monastic doctrines as to that state ; from 
this time on it is a favorite theme in the miscel- 
lanies. Among the purely moral songs, a new 
theme comes in with the song jflt Cambridge Castle. 2 
The supposed poet, imprisoned for crime, tells 
others to profit by his example, and live more 
righteously. This theme constantly reappears in 
the street-ballads of Elizabethan criminals. 

The fifth miscellany, the PJwenix Nest, 3 1593, 
shows a much higher level of art, and is closer 
to contemporary literature than the preceding 
collections. The first three pieces are elegies on 
Sir Philip Sidney, written in a somewhat loftier 
mood than anything of the kind in the earlier 
books. The second elegy, especially (in the riming 
system that Tennyson adopted for In Memoriam), 
has a rugged directness quite new to the conven- 
tional " epitaph," as in the stanza : — 

" England doth hold thy limns that bred the same, 
Flanders thy valure where it last was tried, 
The camp thy sorrow where thy body died, 
Thy friends, thy want ; the world, thy vertues fame." * 

This elegy, which was reprinted two years later 
with Spenser's Astrophel, is attributed to Sir Walt* 
Raleigh. Five of his pieces are preserved anon^ 
mously in this miscellany. Though the elegy i; 

1 Ibid., p. 36. ■ Collier's Reprint. 

*IWc*.,p.57. */&«*., p. 18. 


probably the best, each of the others is interesting 
on its own account. The most unusual is the Fare- 
well to the Court, 1 which attracts not only by its 
autobiographic qualities, but by its technic ; it is an 
English sonnet, with the last line of each quatrain 
used as a refrain. 

The praise of chastity, introduced as a lyric 
theme in the preceding miscellany, here has two 
examples. In one, the argument is based upon 
religious and moral observation, as in the first 
occurrence of the theme; 2 in the other the poet 
pleads the beauty of maidenhood, evidently taking 
as his model for theme and treatment the verses 
from Orlando Furioso, i. 41, " La verginella e simile 
alia rosa," etc. 8 

The chief importance of the volume, however, 
lies in the number of art-lyrics it contains. The 
larger part of the poems are songs of considerable 
merit, made on a variety of stanzas, but all con- 
forming to the limits and requirements of the lyric. 
The long narrative ballads of the preceding vol- 
ume are set aside for the short, swift expression 
of purely lyrical emotion. For the first time in 
miscellany literature, complicated forms are used 
without disturbing the lightness of the song, as in 
the lyric by Thomas Lodge, beginning : — 

1 Collier's Reprint, p.' 70. Raleigh's literary remains are 
edited by J. Hannah, the Aldine poets, 1870; reissued 1881. 

2 Collier's Reprint, p. 23. 
« Ibid., p. 119. 


44 My bonie Lass, thine eye 

So slie, 
Hath made me sorrowe so ; 
Thy Criinsen cheekes my deare 

So cleere, 
Have so much wrought my woe," l etc. 

It is easy to recognize the theme of the love-plaint 
in this opening stanza, but the manner is quite 
new; the song-quality, lightness of word and im- 
agery, has become more important than the sub- 
ject-matter. This is the first example in the 
miscellanies of this Elizabethan trait — a joyous 
treatment of ostensibly unhappy themes, often 
practised by Shakspere, as in " Sigh no more, 
ladies, sigh no more!" The trait defies analy- 
sis, and later becomes familiar in the Cavalier 

Several love-songs in praise of women have a 
peculiar structure, which from this time is met 
with everywhere in the lyric. 'They recount the 
charms of the lady by enumerating the details of 
her beauty, — hair, brow, cheeks, lips, etc., from 
head to foot. There is nothing new in the method ; 
Watson said he got it from ^Eneas Silvius and 
Ariosto ; 2 the important thing about it is that all 
the details of the picture immediately became con- 
ventionalized with the English poets, and it is the 
ideal of beauty for the whole period, except when 

1 Ibid., p. 79. 

* Thomas Watson, Poems, Arber Reprint, 1895, p. 43. 


an occasional bold singer like Shakspere cries down 
the tyranny of the fashion. 1 

The same convention is reflected in one of the 
numerous sonnets in the book, in which the poet, 
by a purely rhetorical device, rings the changes of 
his art on the details of his lady's beauty. The 
device becomes so common with the Elizabethans, 
that an example in full will not be out of place : — 

" Those eies which set my fancie on a fire, 
Those crisped haires, which hold my hart in chains. 
Those daintie hands, which conquered my desire, 
That wit, which of my thoughts doth hold the rains, 
Those eies for cleereness do the stars surpas, 
Those haires obscure the brightness of the sunne, 
Those hands more white than ever Ivorie was, 
That wit even to the skies hath glorie won. 
O eies that pearse our harts without remorse, 
O haires of right that weare a roiall crowne, 
O hands that conquer more than Caesars force, 
O wit that turns huge kingdoms upside down. 
Then love be judge, what hart can thee withstand : 
Such eies, such haire, such wit, and such a hand."' 2 

The sixth miscellany, England's Helicon, 1600, 3 
brings us at once into the company of the great 
lyrists. The names of Sidney, Spenser, Breton, 
Lodge, Peele, Barnfield, and others are signed to 
their poems. But it is only to the first pastoral 
period of the Elizabethan lyric that the collection 
introduces us, and of this period Sidney is most 
expressive. Not only does he lead the poets in 

i Sonnet, No. 130. 2 Collier's Reprint, p. 89. 

8 Collier's Reprint. 


personal fame, but in his work, especially in the 
Arcadia, he gave them a conventional life upon 
which to draw for the facts of their lyric experience. 

In the hands of the pastoral school the old lyric 
themes take a slightly different appearance. For 
example, the typical lover of the early miscellanies 
becomes a shepherd, and his lady a shepherdess; 
his emotions are translated no longer into classical 
images, but into conventional scenes of the hill- 
side. 1 The old praise of the mean estate becomes 
a praise of the shepherd's life, as distinguished 
from the city or the court. 2 To some lyric-forms, 
such as the dibat? and the jMStourellef the proper 
setting is restored by the country background and 
the open air ; and the pastoral convention appears 
curiously in The Shepherd's Song; a Caroll or 
Hymne for Christmas. 5 The shepherd's piping is 
compared with the angel's song; the stars are 
described as flocks pent " within an azure fold " ; 
and the angel tells the shepherds that Christ is 
born, "the Worlds great Sheepheard." 

With the pastoral tradition come a number of 
dialogue lyrics, probably suggested by the dialogues 
in Virgil and Theocritus. These poems divide 
easily into two classes — those in which the 
dialogue is framed of questions and answers, as 
in Virgil's first Eclogue, and' those in which the 
singers share the song by turns, 'either to compare 

* Ibid., p. 16. » Ibid., p. 102. « Ibid. t p. 152. 

«iWd.,p.27. * Ibid., p. 31. 


their skill, or for the simple effect of refrain. A 
good example of the first kind of dialogue is Peele's 
" Melampus, when will love be void of fears," l in 
which the trials of love are brought out by a series 
of questions and answers. Of the second type, the 
contention in verse, the best illustration is the song 
in which Faustus and Firmius sing to their Nimph 
by Turns. 2 The simple effect of a refrain is seen 
in the form of song called the roundelay, in which 
one singer advances the lyric by alternate lines, 
while in between the other makes impromptu vari- 
ations of theme and phrases, as in Perigot and 
Cuddies Roundelay : 8 — 

P. " It fell upon a holy-Eve, 

C. Hey hoe holy-day ; 

P. When holy-Fathers wont to shrive, 

C. Now ginneth this Roundelay. 

P. Sitting upon a hill so hie, 

C. Hey hoe the hie hill, 

P. The while my flocke did feede thereby, 

C. The while the Shepheardes selfe did spill." 

The fashion of complimenting the queen in ex- 
travagant poems was well developed when this 
book was published, and was colored by the pastoral 
tradition, the queen becoming a sylvan deity, to be 
worshipped in images of nature. 

A hint of another great lyric period is given in 
the half-dozen songs reprinted from the first song- 
books. 4 They remind us that the end of the mis- 

i Collier's Reprint, p. 40. » Ibid., p. 28. 

a/6id.,p. 147. *Ibid., p. 174. 


cellany period is at hand, yet at the same time 
they show that the new songs are art-lyrics, to be 
enjoyed without the music. 

One altogether new lyric theme is the epitha- 
lamium, ArfUeus his caroll, for toy of the new mar- 
riage, between Syrenus and Diana. 1 It follows the 
model of Spenser's wedding-song, with the same 
pastoral setting and use of a refrain, "Ring foorth 
fair Nimphs your joyfull Songs for gladness ; " but 
the emotional intensity of Spenser's poem declines 
here into a tone of sincere compliment, which 
persists in the similar writings of Jonson and 

The last of the miscellanies is Davison's Poetical 
Rhapsody, 1602. 2 By this time the publication of 
poetry was so general that the editors of collections 
could not expect to find manuscript pieces of any 
merit, and in consequence the miscellany became a 
mere reprint of successful lyrics. From this it 
easily declined into a collection of poetical quotar 
tions like England's Parnassus, 1600, and Belvedere, 
or the Garden of the Muses, of the same year. 

Davison's miscellany begins, like its predecessor, 
with poems of Sir Philip Sidney. These two lyrics, 8 
devoted to his friendship with Sir Edward Dyer 
and Fulke Greville, strike a true note in the midst 
of verse not remarkable for literal sincerity. A 
large part of the book is given up to sonnets, some 
of which are taken in groups from earlier publica- 

1 Ibid., p. l&L a CoUier's Reprint. * jwa., p. 9. 


tions, as the ten sonnets 1 from Watson's Passionate 
Centurie of Love, 1582. A number of lyrics are 
called madrigals, in the inaccurate fashion of the 
Elizabethan poets; they have but few marks of 
the strict madrigal. They all, however, like the 
English examples of the madrigal, have a strong 
'epigrammatic turn — a quality which is in evidence 
throughout the miscellany. 

The praise of the mean estate, lately transposed 
into a praise of country life, now becomes a praise 
of vagabondage, in a Song in Praise of a Beggar's 
Life. 2 But the true note of vagabondage is not yet 
struck ;. the poet has no experience of the life he 
sings, and his song, in spite of its intention and its 
disguise, is still the praise of a quiet life. The 
song against women is almost at its last gasp in 
the so-called Invective. 3 The tradition of chiv- 
alry after Spenser and Sidney is too strong for the 
old theme, and the poet qualifies his criticism so as 
quite to take off the edge. 

Three epitaphs upon the death of a "rare child 
of six years old," are epitaphs in the modern sense, 
. not long moralizings as in the first miscellanies. 
The child-motive in poetry seems always to add 
grace to the poet; certainly these three epigrams 
show more than usual feeling. 

It will be seen frpm this study that certain of 
the old lyric themes are constant throughout the 
miscellanies. The smallness of tbeir number will 
i Collier's Reprint, p. 98. * Ibid., p. 161. 8 Ibid., p. 190. 


be paralleled by the small number of lyrical themes 
in the sonnets; it might be paralleled from all 
lyric poetry. Gozzi's contention, recorded by 
Goethe, 1 that the number of possible situations in 
tragedy was thirty-six, suggests that the number 
of possible themes in the lyric may not be much 
larger. The development and modification of the 
few themes of this period has been noted. The 
most significant change, however, is in the miscel- 
lanies themselves. With Tottel's, they came into 
fashion as a convenient method of, placing modest 
poets before the public; with Davison's, they 
reached their ultimate decline as mere collections 
of already popular poems. 

i " Gozzi asserted that there could be but thirty-six tragic 
situations. Schiller tried hard to find more, but he could not 
find even as many as Gozzi." — Conversations with Eckermann. 
For the situations in detail, cf . Les 36 Situations Dramatiques, 
par Georges Polti, Paris, 1895. 


Most of Surrey's and Wyatt's poems were included 
in TotteVs Miscellany, and the few then omitted were 
afterward recovered from manuscripts, and pub- 
lished in the complete editions of the new poets. 1 
They come easily under the classifications of the 
lyrics in the Miscellany, having, with one excep- 
tion, no distinction from them in matter or form. 
The exception is the series of rondeaus made by 
Wyatt, 2 which show still more clearly his gift for 
the art-lyric and his ease in lyric forms. 

The first lyrics to be published after TotteVs 
Miscellany were Barnaby Googe's Eglogs, Ejjytaphes, 
and Sonettes, 1563. 3 The unwillingness of the 
poets to come into print, which furnished excuse 
for TottePs venture, is recalled in the history of 
this volume. Googe went to Spain in 1561, leaving 
his manuscript for safety with a friend, Blundeston, 
who, finding the verses good, sent them to a pub- 
lisher. When Googe returned, the work was 

1 The Works of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, and Sir T. 
Wyatt, G. F. Nott, 2 vols., London, 1815-16. 
*Ibid., ii. p. 18. 
8 Arber's Reprint. 


chap, iv.] OTHER LYRISTS 99 

already set up, to the amazement of the author, 
and shortly afterward it appeared. 1 

Of the eight eclogues only the second 2 is entirely 
lyrical. This is a complaint of rejected love, put in 
the mouth of a shepherd, with the conventional 
imagery of the pastoral. The lyric effect is helped 
by the recurrence of one line, at regular intervals, 
like a refrain : — 

" Thou seest her mind ; why fearest thou than, 
Dametas, for to dye ? " 

In this volume all septenaries are divided, as in 
the quotation, after the fourth accent, and alexan- 
drines after the third. This peculiarity is explained 
on the score of economy ; the printer, it is supposed, 
wished to get the verses in fairly large type on a 
small page. But the extreme is reached in pentap- 
ody verses, all of which are divided after the sec- 
ond accent, as in the lines to Alexander Neville : 8 — 

"The Muses joye, 

and well they may to se, 
u So well theyr la- 

boure com to good sucesse" etc. 

Of the four epitaphs, the one on Thomas Phaer 4 
and that on Nicholas Grimald 5 are remembered 
for their literary associations, but they have no 
lyrical quality. The one on M. Shelley slayne at 
Mu8selbroughe 6 is better. It is rather the celebra- 

i Ibid., Introduction, p. 8. » Ibid., p. 75. * Ibid., p. 73. 
« Ibid., p. 36. * Ibid., p. 72. • Ibid., p. 70. 


tion of a heroic deed, like the Charge of the Light 
Brigade, than a funeral song ; indeed, except for its 
inferior subject, it belongs with the battle-songs. 
Shelley, according to Googe, when the English, out- 
numbered by the Scotch, hesitated in the charge, 
threw himself before the enemy, losing his life 
to inspire his comrades. The national prejudice 
against the Scotch and the ardor of battle are 
expressed almost in Minot's vigorous manner. 

The term " sonettes," applied to the rest of the 
poems, is a loose term for lyrics. There are no 
sonnets in the book. The first thirteen of these 
lyrics are really epistles, moral and complimentary, 
addressed to the poet's friends, and not lyrics by 
any test of external form. They all, however, re- 
veal Googe's personality intimately. He has the 
tone of familiarity with the reader often seen in 
minor poets, and not to be confounded with the 
revelation of personality which comes from exalted 
lyric inspiration. 

The love-songs, such as " Once musing as I sat," * 
show Googe at his best. Here, as in the song on 
Shelley, the lyric motive is clearly enunciated in 
the beginning, and quickly developed, with no 
superfluity of thought or word. The same quali- 
ties are in the short lyric To Mistress D. 2 It cele- 
brates Mary Darrell, the lady who, after a stormy 
romance, became the poet's bride. 3 

1 Arber's Reprint, p. 93. * Ibid., Introduction, p. 8 sq. 

* /&«*., p. 92. 


The lines on Goyng towardes Spayne, 1 in which 
Googe bids farewell to England, confessing at the 
same time the love of travel that takes him forth, 
and the verses on Commynge home warde out of 
Spayne, 2 in which he prays for safe voyage to his 
native shore, both recall Wyatt's poems on a similar 
return, which perhaps here served as a model. 
There is the same note of affection for England in 
all these poems, and in all alike the lyric motive 
springs naturally from the new presence of travel 
in the poets' lives. 

The next publication, Turberville's Epitaphs, l£ 
Epigrams, Songs and Sonets, 8 even when compared 
with Grooge's modest performances, is an inferior 
collection; Turberville betrays at once his pov- 
erty of ideas, both by seeking lyric motives in 
sentimental and fantastic situations, as in the lines 
To his Ladie, that by hap when he kissed her and 
made Mr lippe bleede, controlde him and tooke dis- 
dains, 4 and by making a complicated and ingen- 
ious stanza the chief excuse for a lyric, as in the 
verses, The Lover obtayning his Wishe, etc. 5 This 
poet evidently caught the glamour of poesie, but 
none of the spark, from Surrey and Googe, both of 
whom he mentions. He carries on their themes 
without distinction, even imitating the latter's 
verses to real women by addressing a supposed 

1 Ibid., p. 100. 2 Ibid., p. 102. 

8 In Chalmers's English Poets, ii. p. 583 sq., and in Collier's 
Reprint, 1895. 4 Ibid., p. 588. « Ibid., p. 590. 



mistress of his own, whom he designates by the 
initial " P." * His most original note is a certain 
hard treatment of physical deformity, a quality 
which reappears in Herrick's verse. It is illus- 
trated in Turberville by the verses on An aged 
Gentlewoman, 2 or by the epigram On one that had a 
great nose.* 

Turberville shows in his shorter lyrics a large 
amount of classical suggestion. In several cases 
he translates directly, as in the version of the epi- 
gram ascribed to Plato, 'Aorcpas daa$p<xs turnip c/xos. 4 
But this smattering of classical motives found no 
reaction in his imagination, and left his verse as 
arid as before. 

In 1572, two years after Turberville's volume, 
appeared Gascoigne's A Hundreth Sundrie Flowers. 
This was a miscellaneous collection of his poems, 
lyrical only in part, and it was included in the 
enlarged edition of his works in 1575, called the 
Posies of George Gascoigne Esquire. 5 The poet 
arranges his works, under this general title, in 
three classes, designated as " Flowers," " Hearbes," 
and " Weedes," by which terms he meant to indi- 
cate differences in poetic charm. It is hard, now, 
however, to see much difference in the poems of 
these classes. Gascoigne's importance is due to his 

i English Poets, p. 648. » Ibid., p. 623. 

*Ibid., p. 603. *!&«*., p. 635. 

5 Complete Poems of George Gascoigne, William Carcw 
Hazlitt, The Roxburghe Library, 2 vols., 1869. 


versatility in other forms of literature, rather than 
to any unusual skill as a lyrist. He should be 
ranked with Googe and Turberville as an exponent 
of the type of song found in the less important 
miscellanies. He profits by the new learning from 
Italy in the -comparative smoothness of his language 
and verse ; but in his lyric poetry, at least, he is quite 
untouched by the new inspiration. 

In his lyric motives he shows the fondness, noted 
in Turberville, for unusual and striking situations. 
His method seems to be to take over the titles and 
imagery of familiar themes into unrelated fields of 
emotion, so as to create, for each poem so treated, 
an artificial interest. For example, in the Divorce 
of a Lover, 1 the connotation of the title is the basis 
for a contrast with the real theme, as announced in 
the first line : — 

" Divorce me nowe, good death, from love and lingering 

So in the Lullabie of a Lover,* the poet, through 
the imagery of the slumber-song, bids farewell to 
youth and its pleasures : — 

" First lullaby my youthfull yeares, 
It is nowe time to go to bed," etc. 

There is a strong narrative tendency in Gas- 
coigne's work, which shows itself in a disposition 
to join lyrics in series, or to comment upon them, 
either in prose or verse. Excellent illustrations are 

i Ibid., i. p. 41. «/6id., p. 43. 


the group of lyrics exchanged between the poet and 
a certain lady, which follow the verses On the Looks 
of a Lover Enamoured? and the series called Gas~ 
coigne's Memories. 2 This narrative vein recalls the 
elaborate titles of the first miscellanies, which 
sought to explain beforehand the situation from 
which the lyric arose. Perhaps also the tendency 
is part of the new habit of connecting a series of 
lyrics by unity either of subject or of mood, or by 
some external theme, as in the Shepheards Calender, 
where Spenser adopts the same assistance of narra- 
tive introduction and comment. 

The moral strain indicated in the subjects of the 
Divorce of a Lover, and the LuUabie, serves as in- 
spiration for the two religious lyrics, Gaseoignefs 
Good-morrow 1 and Gascoigne's Good-night. 4 Slightly 
fantastic in imagery, but devout and meditative in 
spirit, they seem nearer to Herbert than to the old 
moralizing poems. In lyrical feeling the De Profun- 
dis 5 is more ambitious. It is an elaborate para- 
phrase of the fifty-first psalm: — 

" Before the breake or dawning of the daye, 
Before the light be seene in loftye skyes, 
Before the sunne appeare in pleasaunt wyse, 
Before the watche (before the watche I saye) 
Before the warde that waytes therefore alwaye : 
My soule, my sense, my secrete thoughte, my sprite, 
My wyll, my wishe, my ioye, and my delight : 

1 Complete Poems of George Oascoigne, p. 45. 
a/6£d.,p. 63. * Ibid., p. 58. 

« Ibid., p. 56. 6 Ibid., p. 60. 


Unto the Lord that sittes in heaven on highe. 

With hastye wing, 

From me doeth fling, 

And 8tryveth sty 11, unto the Lorde to flye." 

Gascoigne seems to inherit much of his literary 
machinery from Chaucer rather than from Italy. 
In external form, for example, he frequently recalls 
Chaucer's ballades, as in the Shield of Love ; l in 
many other lyrics he employs an envoy. In some 
poems, like the Spring Song, 2 he resorts to astron- 
omy, in Chaucer's manner, to fix the time of the 
year, and he makes the same heterogeneous use of 
mythology and classical literature to furnish illus- 
trations of his meaning. 8 

Of the poems in Thomas Churchyard's Chips, 
1575, only two are lyrics. 4 The first, the Praise of 
Our Soldiers, 6 has a biographical as well as literary 
interest, since the poet himself had borne arms. 
He expresses a perennial soldier's point of view, 
the obligation of the men at home to those who 
secure peace for them by service in the field. It 
has been suggested that Churchyard's life as a 
soldier kept him free from " tedious classical allu- 
sions." 6 Whatever be the reason,' his style is very 
straightforward and manly, and in the last lines of 
this particular lyric, he attains a certain elevation in 
describing the character of his " happy warriors." 
His praise is not for mercenaries, he says, but for — 

1 Ibid., p. 366. * Ibid., p. 63, In praise of Bridges. 

a Ibid., p. 367. 4 Churchyard's Chips, CoDier Reprint. 

* Ibid., p. 212. • Ibid., Introduction, p. ii. 


" Those whose minds and noble manners shows 
In peace and war, lo I there a soldier goes ; 
Of life most clear, of deed and word full just, 
In trial still a man of special trust." 

The other lyric poem is the hymn or song in the 
entertainment prepared for the Queen's visit to 
Brigjow. 1 It is a practical song, not an art-lyric, 
for it was intended for music. The account says : 
" thear was a speetch to be sayd and an imme to be 
songe; the speeche was left out by an occasion 
unlooked for, but the imme was songe by a very 
fien boye." 2 The " imme," written in the " poulter's 
measure," congratulates the town on the august 
presence, and wishes for the Queen freedom from 
rebellion and treachery. 8 

It has become obvious, by this time, that the 
quality of lyric poetry since Wyatt and Surrey was 
steadily declining. The inspiration of their Italian 
scholarship brought but a momentary exaltation to 
the verse of their comrades and imitators. Now, 
however, in 1579, the impulse returned with abiding 
power in Spenser's Shepheards Calender? the first 
unequivocal appearance of lyric genius in Eliza- 

1 Churchyard's Chips, p. 222. * 75^ p . 221. 

8 A number of very minor poets, belonging to this period, 
such as Thomas Howell, Robert Prickett, Charles Fitz-Jeffrey, 
and others, have been reprinted by Dr. A. B. Grosart in his 
Occasional Issues. In every case the editor's industry is more 
remarkable than the poetry. In this study we shall consider 
our duty to such forgotten rimesters more than done when we 
have mentioned their collective existence. 

4 Works of Edmund Spenser, R. Morris. London, 1899, 
p. 439 $q. 


bethan song. Comparatively, there was a certain 
indefiniteness about the poems of Wyatt and Surrey; 
they appeared in a disorderly arrangement, side by 
side with the inferior verses of other men, they 
represented a polite accomplishment, not the life- 
work, of their authors, and they appeared rafter 
those authors were dead. Spenser, on the other 
hand, superintended the publishing of his own 
poems, deliberately seeking fame as a poet, and 
through the unity of his general plan of a calendar, 
got away, once for all, from the miscellany disorder. 
It is apparent at once that he derives his inspira- 
tion from Virgil rather than from Italian sQurces. 
The familiar themes remain, but the poet expresses 
them in a new manner. The external rhythms and 
stanza-forms are indeed only more delicate uses of 
well-known material. It is in the studied treat- 
ment of theme, the natural grouping of images, and 
above all, in the development of the lyric emotion, 
that Spenser attains the first considerable height 
in Elizabethan song. After reading the lyrics scat- 
tered through these eclogues, it is plain that most 
of the earlier love-plaints and elegies, even those 
by Wyatt, have little inherent form; the phrases 
expressing love or grief might follow each other 
equally well in any other order, since they all mean 
the same thing, and the emotional state of the poet 
is the same throughout. But this point of view 
may be brought out more easily in an examination 
of Spenser's lyrics. 


The first, in the eclogue for January, 1 is a love- 
plaint. Both theme and stanza might be traced 
through the miscellanies, or the poet may have found 
a model in Virgil, perhaps in the tenth eclogue. 
This poem, though not the best in the Calender, is 
a good illustration of the careful design that all 
Spenser's lyrics show. The shepherd, in the late 
winter, sings of his hard-hearted love, Eosalind. 
The general landscape, the bare fields, make him 
draw a parallel in his own forlorn state. Then, 
finding a nearer image in the trees above him, he 
illustrates his grief by the icy tears on the boughs. - 
In an image still nearer, he likens his disordered 
thoughts to the uncared-for flock about him, and 
then sums up the emotion of the three images in 
curses on the day when first he saw Eosalind, the 
cause of his woe. A natural reaction follows; he 
explains that he is not entirely deserted, for 
Hobbinol seeks his friendship. But only Eosalind 
can please him ; and since neither he nor his song 
can win her, he breaks his shepherd's pipe, and 
gives over singing. It will be seen from this sum- 
mary, that not only is the arrangement of the 
subject-matter organic, but the emotional state of 
the poet's mind undergoes a natural change, from 
a general, almost inarticulate, mood of grief, in 
sympathy with the winter landscape, to a definite" 
mental resolution, in the breaking of the pipe and 
the end of the wooing. 

Works of Edmund Spenser, p. 446. 


The second lyric occurs in the eclogue for April, 1 
and is a song in praise of Queen Elizabeth. This 
conventional compliment is saved from the usual 
commonplace only by the genius of the poet. The 
lyric is idyllic, depending for its structure upon 
pictures, as here of the Muses ; in the third stanza 
a detailed portrait of the Queen is drawn ; in the 
ninth, a picture of the Graces; in the tenth, a 
picture of the "ladies of the lake," or nymphs. 
The lyric is weak in the lack of emotional de- 
velopment, since the same mood continues through- 
out; but at least the emotion is sustained. This 
kind of lyrical idyl is a favorite with Spenser, ap- 
pearing in its most elaborate example in the Epi- 
thalamium. It is worth remarking that Webbe, in 
his Discourse of English Poetrie, 1587, chose this 
song to turn into Sapphics. 2 

The next two lyrics are in the eclogue for 
August. 8 The first is the roundelay, " It fell upon 
a holy eve," quoted already in England's Helicon. 
This species of lyric seems to have been subject 
to but few rules with the Elizabethans; Webbe's 
description of it is that it is "called a round, 
beeing mutuallie sung betweene two: one singeth 
one verse, the other the next, eche rymeth with 
himself. ? 4 But it appears in this and other ex- 
amples, that there is a difference between the two 

i Ibid., p. 454. a Arber's Reprint, 1895, p. 82. 

1 Spenser's Works, p. 470. 

4 Discourse of English Poetrie, p. 61. 


voices ; the first carries the theme of the song, and 
keeps the strict measure of the verse, while the 
second, paraphrasing the theme of his comrade, 
takes liberties with the rhythm, in this particular 
example making free use of the syncopated foot 
No matter how few the syllables, there are four 
accents to the line ; as : — 

" Per. It fell upon a holy eve, 

Wil. Hey, ho, hollidaye ! 

Per. When holy fathers wont to shrieve ; 

Wil. Now gynneth this roundelay. 

Per. Sitting on a hill so hy'e, 

Wil. Hey, ho', the high hyll ! " etc. 1 

The second lyric in this eclogue is notable only 
for its stanza. It is an example of the sestina, and 
will be considered later in connection with that 
complicated form. 2 

In the eclogue for November there is a funeral 
song or elegy, which, in the manner in which it 
represents phases of grief, is the first in English 
to follow the Greek pastoral model, as illustrated 
by the lament of Moschus for Bion. In the prefa- 
tory note it is stated that Spenser is here imi- 
tating Clement Marot's eclogue on the death of 
Queen Loys, and a comparison of the two poems 
would show as much. But either from taste or 
from literary training, the English poet is less 
florid, speaks with more ease under the mask of 

1 See Schelling's Elizabethan Lyrics, 1895, Introduction, 
p. xlv. a See below, chap, ix, p. 285. 


the pastoral convention, and in the ordering of his 
subject-matter is nearer to the Greek model. In 
the lament for Bion, and in the English poems of 
the same general pattern, such as this elegy of 
Spenser's, Milton's Lycidas, Shelley's Adonais and 
Arnold's Tfiyrsis, there are three stages in the 
development of the emotion, according as the intel- 
lectual element gradually combines with the ex- 
pression of grief. The first part of the elegy gives 
the lyric stimulus in stating the cause of grief, 
for which the usual formula is the invocation to 
the Muse and the shepherds to bewail the death 
of their favorite. Toward the end of the first sec- 
tion, when the expression of sorrow, becoming more 
subdued and coherent, turns to the picture of 
happier days in the past, one shepherd or shep- 
herdess is mentioned as the special comrade and 
mourner of the dead. Moschus sings "Yea, and 
Galatea laments thy song, she whom once thou 
wouldst delight, as with thee she sat by the sea- 
banks." 1 In Marot the chief mourner is " Le grand 
berger," the king ; in Spenser, it is Lobbin : — 

" O thou greate shepheard, Lobbio, how great is thy grief e ! 
Where bene the nosegay es that she dight for thee ? " a 

In the second stage of the Greek elegy, the poet, 
recovering from the first extreme grief, sings those 
doubts and questionings of the justice of fate, 
which seem native to all human mourning. The 

1 Theocritus, Bion and Moschus, Andrew Lang, 2d ed. 1901, 
p. 199. * Spenser's Works, p. 481. 


questions usually are two: why should the with- 
ered flower revive in the spring, while man, once 
dead, lives never again ? and, why should this one 
be taken, and less worthy lives spared? In the 
words of Moschus — "Ah me, when the mallows 
wither in the garden, and the green parsley, and 
the curled tendrils of the anise, on a later day they 
live again, and spring in another year ; but we men, 
we, the great and mighty, or wise, when once we 
have died, in hollow earth we sleep, gone down into 
silence." .... " And thou too, in the earth will 
be lapped in silence, but the nymphs have thought 
good that the frogs should eternally sing." * These 
questions, it needs small scholarship to know, are 
conventional expressions of grief, found in all lit- 
eratures, and it is not surprising that Spenser uses 
them both, following closely the Greek formula. 

In the third and last division of this form of 
elegy the mind takes refuge from the problems 
touched in the preceding part, in some consolation 
of philosophy or religion. The original emotion of 
grief is faint or dies out altogether here ; the lyric 
mood ends in the reestablishment of the intellect. 
In Moschus the consolation is found in the honor 
that will come to Bion in the lower world : " Sing 

1 Lang, p. 201. In Marot only the first question appears : — 
" D'ou vient cela qu'on veoit l'herbe sechante 
Retourner vive alors que 1'este* vient, 
Et la personne au tombeau trebuschante, 
Tant grande soit, jamais plus ne revient? " 
— (Euvres Completes, Pierre Jannet, Paris, 1873, ii. p. 264. 


to the Maiden [Persephone] some strain of Sicily, 
sing some sweet pastoral lay. . . . Not unre- 
warded will the singer be; and as once to Or- 
pheus's sweet minstrelsy she gave Eurydice to 
return with him, even so will she send thee too, 
Bion, to the hills." * Spenser finds his consolation 
in contemplating the heavenly joy into which his 
dead shepherdess enters. Marot does the same 
thing, and in both poets the Christian paradise 
is thinly disguised under a description of a pagan 
bower of bliss. 

Spenser does not preserve these three phases of 
the elegy in the same natural order as in the Greek 
model, but following Marot's example, he recurs 
at intervals to the first mood of grief. The effect 
is to obscure the clear movement of the emotion, 
and to make its expression seem more diffuse than 
it is. A mQre serious criticism, however, is that 
the second phase, the intellectual questioning, is 
placed nearer the beginning than the end of the 
lyric. This necessitates a break in the emotion, 
which seems out of keeping with the natural 
course of such grief. 

This elegy is considered at length, and compared 

1 Lang, p. 202. In Marot the equivalent passage is : — 
" Elle est an Champs Elisiens receue, 
Hors des travaulx de ce monde esplore". 
La ou eUe est n'y a rien deflore* ; 
Jamais le jour et les plaisirs n'y meurent; 
Jamais n'y meurt le vert Men colore*, 
Ne ceulz avec qui la dedans demeurent." 
— Jannet, ii. p. 266. 


with the more famous Greek dirge, because it is 
the first example in English of this type of funeral 
song, which later reappears so splendidly in the 
examples already mentioned. Its advance over 
the "epitaphs" of the miscellanies is obvious. 
They had only the first and third parts of the 
elegy, the expression of grief and the consolation, 
without any transition, and sometimes they 
omitted the element of consolation. But a more 
important difference, in the light of later elegies, 
is the convention of beauty which the Greek form, 
as practised by Marot and Spenser, introduced. 
The subject of the elegy is exalted to a height of 
ideal beauty, and all thoughts of him are clothed 
in images drawn from the lovelier aspects of 
nature. The frailty of life, for example, which 
in the miscellany epitaphs is formulated into " all 
flesh is as grass," or variations of that truism, is 
now expressed in the kindred but more beautiful 
convention : — 

" Whence is it, that the flouret of the field doth fade, 
And lyeth buryed long in Winters bale ; 
Yet, soone as spring his mantle hath displayde, 
It floureth fresh, as it should never fayle ? 
But thing on earth that is of most availe, 
As vertues branch and beauties budde, 
Reliven not for any good." 1 

The mere fact that the poet questions, instead of 
dogmatizing, as in the miscellanies, shows a truer 
dramatic conception of the mood of grief, 
i Spenser's Works, p. 481. 


In the use of refrains in this elegy, Spenser was 
undoubtedly following his own taste, but had he 
needed a model, he might have found one in Mos- 
chus. Marot in his eclogue has but an approxi- 
mation to a refrain. 

The last song in the Calender is found in the 
eclogue for December. 1 In intention it is a love- 
plaint ; the poet bids farewell to Eosalind, who will 
have no pity on him. A certain interest attaches 
to the introduction of the familiar comparison of 
life to the four seasons. The entire song is de- 
voted to the celebration of this figure, which is 
too inevitable to need further comment. 

Undoubtedly the charm of the Shepheards Cal- 
ender is the presence in it of great poetic genius 
— a thing not to be analyzed by historians or 
critics. But so far as elusive qualities can be 
traced, the distinction of these lyrics is the very 
considerable art with which they are written. 
They are taken entirely out of the realm of song 
in its practical sense, and are made doubly "lit- 
erary" by the suggestions of classic form which 
have been noticed. Spenser, like the Greeks, 
conceives of the lyric as an emotional organism, 
with a beginning, middle, and end; and in his 
external formulas he returns, as has been said, to 
that classic habit of mind which expressed even the 
sorrowful experiences of life in terms of beauty. 

The pastoral vein, introduced so auspiciously in 
i /6w*., p. 484. 


the Shepheard8 Calender, dominates the literature 
of the ten years from 1580 to 1590, reaching its 
most highly wrought expression in the latter year, 
in Sidney's Arcadia. During this decade ap- 
peared the romances of Robert Greene and Thomas 
Lodge, some of which were enriched with inciden- 
tal lyrics. Those in Greene's early romances are 
of very slight merit, and class themselves with 
examples already seen in the miscellanies. For 
example, in Arbasto, 1584, occurs a song on 
fortune : — 

" Whereat erewhile I wept, I laugh, 
That which I feared I now despise," etc. 1 

The subject is developed in a series of such con- 
trasted verses to show the evolutions of fortune's 
wheel. In Penelopes Web, 1587, there is a song in 
praise of content, 2 and one in praise of the " mean 
estate," — " The stately state that wise men count 
their good." 3 A third lyric is devoted to a warn- 
ing against ambition. 4 These four poems are 
typical of Greene's first style. Like the early mis- 
cellany lyrics, they find their inspiration in rather 
abstract themes, their purpose is largely moral, and 
the execution is extremely simple. 

Greene's second style, if a further division of his 
work be not considered too subtle, is illustrated by 
three songs in Perymedes the Blacksmith, 1588. In 
technic and metrical achievement they are little in 

i Works, in The Huth Library, iii. p. 180. 8 Ibid., v. p. 179. 
a Ibid., v. p. 165. * Ibid., v. p. 188. 


advance of the first group ; they employ no other 
stanza, for example, than the scheme ababcc. But 
the subject-matter is enriched in all three lyrics by 
the ornament of classical legends and myths — one 
phase of the Kenascence influence from the Conti- 
nent. The first deals with the story of Venus and 
Adonis, treated partly as an idyl, partly as a lyric. 1 
The lyric tone is helped by the use of the last line 
in each stanza as a refrain. In this song a sensual 
view of life is presented, which is contradicted in 
the c6mpanion-song, "The syron Venus nourist in 
hir lap," in a very moral, if not so convincing, 
manner. This second song fits well with the re- 
pentant side of Greene, as it appears in the Groats- 
worth of Wit; it also echoes the old gnomic or 
moral songs, as in this stanza : — 

" If crooked age accounteth youth his spring, 
The spring, the fairest season of the year, 
Enriched with flowers and sweets, and many a thing,' 
That fair and gorgeous to the eyes appear ; 
It fits that youth, the spring of man, should be 
Riched with such flowers as virtue yieldeth thee." 3 

The third song is essentially a pastourelle, a de- 
scription of a wooing between shepherd and shep- 
herdess. The only distinguishing feature in the 
treatment of the traditional theme is that the d6bat f 
or argument, is brief; the interest being centred 
in the charm and humor of the characters, for 
which the reader is prepared by idyllic descrip- 

1 Ibid., vii. p. 88. 2 Ibid., vli. p. 89. 


tions in the early stanzas. The lyric appeals 
simply to the delight in pastoral poetry ; there is 
no dramatic struggle in the dtbat, since both the 
lovers were ready to plight their troth. 

" This love began and ended both in one ; 
Phillis was loved, and she loved Coridon." l 

In the same romance two other songs should be 
mentioned, not for their literary merit, which is 
slight, but because they are written in blank verse. 
With the exception of some passages in the drama, 
blank verse lyrics are rare in Elizabeth's time, and 
even these two examples concede so much to rime 
as to end in a couplet. 2 

Of Greene's third style the best illustrations are 
the songs in Menaphon, 1589. These are love-songs, 
either plaints or praises, of which the subject-matter 
is not particularly new. The external form, how- 
ever, shows the arrival of the period of elaborate 
stanzas, to be further represented by Lodge and 
Sidney in their romances. The first good illustra- 
tion of this type in Menaphon, is the lyric, — 

"Some say Love, 
Foolish Love, 
Doth rule and govern all the gods," etc. 8 

The song, " Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my 
knee," 4 in the same romance, is a new phase of the 

l Works, in The Huth Library, vii. p. 93. 

* Ibid., vii. pp. 77, 79. 

8 Bullen, Songs from the Dramatists, 1901, p. 237. 

* Ibid., p. 238, 


lullaby; the infant is evidently the child of an 
illicit love. On this dark-toned background, which 
from this time is often used to heighten the effect 
of such slumber-songs, the lullaby departs definitely 
from its old association with the Christ-child, and 
loses the purity which that association had given 
it in the Middle English lyric. 

Besides these three styles of song, Greene sev- 
eral times revived the old combination of French 
and English verses. In Never too Late, 1590, the 
complaint of Venus to Adonis, " Sweet Adon, dar- 
est not glance thine eye," 1 is the best example. 
The first and third lines carry on the lyric ; the 
second, fourth, fifth, and sixth are constant refrains 
in every stanza : — 

" See how sad thy Venus lies, — 
N'oserez vous, mon bel ami f — 
Love in heart, and tears in eyes ; 
Je vous en prie, pity me ; 
N'oserez vous, mon bel, mon bel 9 
N'oserez vous, mon bel ami f " 2 

Mullidor's "madrigal," in Francesco's Fortunes? 
1590, is another illustration of the same device; 
the French lines, however, are fewer and the rhythm 
is anapestic. 

Lodge's lyrics show less striving for stanzaic 
effect than Greene's, but they are richer and more 
sonorous in tone. The difference may largely be 
ascribed to the individual genius of each, but Lodge 

lj&«.,p.247. *J&id., p. 247. *Ibid. t p. 265, 


seems to have gained something from wide reading 
in Italian and French poetry. In A Margarite of 
America, 1589, he translates several Italian and 
French sonnets, giving the names of the authors. 1 
His indebtedness to Desportes takes the form of 
direct translation, as in the lyric, " The earth late 
choked with showers," from Scylla's Metamoiyikosia, 
1589, 2 the song, " First shall the heaven want starry 
light," from Rosalind, 1590, 3 and "Turn I my looks 
unto the skies," from the same romance. 4 The in- 
fluence of Eonsard is hinted at by many critics, 
but can hardly be traced directly. If it exists at 
all, it is hidden in the spirit of Lodge's work. 

The first lyric that shows Lodge's distinctive 
quality is Rosalind's madrigal, " Love in my bosom 
like a bee." 5 This song makes its appeal entirely 
through sensuous images, not derived, like Greene's, 
from classical tales, such as that of Venus and 
Adonis, but stimulated directly in the poem by 
the constant presence of physical beauty, as if the 
poet were describing a luxurious painting by Titian 
or his school. 6 

The companion poem to this is the description of 
Rosalind in the same romance, " Like to the clear in 

1 A Margarite of America, J. O. Halliwell, 1859, p. 112 sq. 

a Bullen, p. 264. 

s Ibid., p. 267. 

4 Ibid., p. 270. For the French original, see note, p. 297. 

^ Ibid., p. 265. 

6 The kinship of Lodge's word-painting with contemporary 
Italian art is admirably suggested 'by Professor Palgrave in 
the Golden Treasury, 2d ed. 1894, p. 351. 


highest sphere, etc." * This lyric follows the familiar 
method of such descriptions, giving a systematic 
inventory of the lady's charms from head to foot ; 
but it differs from the innumerable other examples in 
its great wealth of color, its lyric enthusiasm, and a 
certain good taste and restraint. If the favor of 
anthologists be proof of merit, this lyric is the best 
illustration of its type in Elizabethan poetry. 

In these songs, Lodge seems to have found the 
happy medium in combinations of long and short 
lines — a rare achievement with his contemporaries. 
It has been observed before that the simpler the 
stanza the nearer is the lyric to practical song; 
and the greater the variations in length of verse, 
the more slowly the song will move and the less 
like winged words. Lodge varies the line often, 
but never to a marked degree, so that the rhythm 
escapes monotony without losing speed. 

With Lodge and Greene should be mentioned 
Nicholas Breton, a writer- of romances highly 
praised by his contemporaries, but now somewhat 
lacking in distinction. In his Flourish upon Fancy, 
1577, there is a carol, "Now Christmas draweth 
near,"* which continues the traditional description 
of English Christmas customs. The Arbour of 
Amorous Devices, 1593, contains a lullaby, " Come, 

1 Complete Works, printed for the Hunterian Club, 1883, i. 
p. 64. 

2 Lyric* from Elizabethan Romances, A. H. Bullen, 1890, 
p. 89. 


little babe, come, silly soul," 1 which in subject ap- 
pears to imitate Greene's "Weep not, my wanton," 
published four years earlier. Breton always in- 
clined to the simple stanzas and long, narrative 
manner of the miscellanies. His lyrics are too 
diffuse. This trait is illustrated by one of his last 
and best songs, " I would I had as much as might 
be had," from / would and I would not, 1614.* 

The most interesting of the romances, from the 
historical standpoint, is Sidney's Arcadia, 1590. 
In subjects and metrical experiments it is the 
most ambitious, but it contains few successful 
lyrics. Among the usual love-themes, there are 
two descriptions of a lover's mistress, which may 
be compared with Lodge's Rosalind, and much 
to the latter's advantage. The first is the short 
lyric in alternate alexandrines and septenaries, in 
praise of Mopsa — a conventional enumeration of 
feminine charms, without much lyric feeling. 3 
The second, however, is one of the important songs 
in the book, the description of Philocleia. 4 It is 
an excellent illustration of the bad taste that 
seems to have accompanied this theme wherever it 
appeared. The description is very minute, and 
with good reason the reader feels that the poet had 
a definite model before him ; for in the romance it 
is Philocleia's lover who sings the song, having 

1 Lyrics from Elizabethan Romances, p. 92. 
2/6i(7.,p. 117. 

8 The Countesse of Pembroke's Arcadia, 1627, p. 11. 
* Ibid., p. 139. 


surreptitiously caught sight of his lady at her bath. 
The unchivalrous device by which this situation is 
achieved — the disguise of the lover as a waiting- 
maid — detracts from the charm of the song, and 
the beauty seems tainted. In other respects, also, 
in the completeness of the details and the absence 
of any such reverence as exalted the picture of 
Rosalind, Sidney's poem seems far inferior in taste 
to Lodge's. 

There is one epithalamium in the romance. It 
does not follow classical models beyond the use 
of a refrain. 1 It is simply an expression of 
good wishes for the married couple, without any 
such order or sequence as is found in Spenser's 

It is significant that of all the lyrics in the Arca- 
dia, only the song, " My true love hath my heart," 2 
has been remembered in our literature. The songs 
as a whole represent the experimental side of Sid- 
ney's art; and while noteworthy for their wide 
range of form, they are singularly lacking in lyric 
emotion or any mark of genuineness. It is as the 
richest of the romances that the Arcadia is known. 
Sidney's fame as a lyrist, on the other hand, rests 
on the songs and sonnets of Astrophel and Stella. 
This book, published in 1591, gave the definite 
impulse to sonnet writing which characterized this 
next decade. 

1 Ibid., p. 388. a Ibid., p. 367. 


The sonnet, in both the Italian and the English 
forms, became naturalized in English literature by 
the practice of Wyatt and Surrey. Their chief 
model was Petrarch, and they followed him in con- 
fining the use of the sonnet to love-plaints or to 
very personal expressions. It will be remembered 
that in TotteVs Miscellany, the lyrics devoted to the 
emotions of the typical lover are usually in the 
" poulter's measure," and tend to class themselves 
together. On the other hand the sonnets, though 
devoted to the same subject, are so far new to Eng- 
lish literature that each example remains distinct. 
When the general use of the long septenaries was 
declining, and the tendency toward collections 
of lyrics was taking an artistic form, as in the 
Shepheards Calender, it was but natural that the 
sonnet should reappear in its original Petrarchan 
use, as the unit in an autobiographical series. 

This use of the sonnet, which characterizes the 
years from 1590 to 1600, was not a matter of sud- 
den innovation, but one of growth. Of the few steps 

chap, t.] THE SONNET-SERIES 125 

in the development that are now visible to us, the 
principal illustration is Thomas Watson's Hekatom- 
pathia, or Passionate Centurie of Love, printed in 
1582. 1 This is a collection of a hundred " passions," 
or themes of love. They are supposed to show the 
different sufferings of one lover, and in that respect, 
as well as in the verse-form, they have a certain 
unity. But so far are they removed from any 
narrative continuity/ such as is imposed upon Shak- 
spere's sonnets,^br from any basis of fact, that they 
are collected almost at haphazard, one of them as 
an after-thought, 2 and the poet admits in the preface 
that all his love-passions are imaginary. 8 In these 
traits the collection probably resembles most of the 
later sequences. Its early date is responsible for 
. the use of a familiar stanza instead of the sonnet- 

For the period in which they appeared, these 
lyrics were felt to be extremely scholarly, so that 
the author, or the editor, thought it necessary to 
prefix a commentary to each poem. This device is 
akin to the long narrative titles in" the miscellanies, 
but differs from them in supplying true commen- 
taries, and not prose introductions to the lyrics. A 
nearer parallel is the use of notes in the Shepheards 

i Arber Reprint, 1895. 

* See Introduction to No. xlv. p. 81. 

• Ibid., p. 27. "Yet for this once I hope that thou wilt in 
respect of my travaile in penning these love passions, or for 
pitie of my paines in suffering them (although but supposed) 
. . . etc." 


Calender, and, for a more illustrious example, the 
explanatory commentaries to the various lyrics in 
the Vita Nuova. Besides a summary of the poem, 
Watson's introductions contain frank acknowledg- 
ments of indebtedness to other poets ; so that each 
borrowed theme can be readily traced, and the wide 
range of Watson's reading appreciated. Petrarch 
is his chief source of inspiration, then Ronsard; 
after them, the Latin poems of Stephanus For- 
catulus, extracts from Sophocles, Theocritus, and 
Horace, and the poems of Seraphini, Girolamo 
Parabosco, and other Italian lyrists. Forty-one of 
the hundred lyrics are thus confessed to be para- 

The subject-matter falls into two very general 
classes. The first seventy-eight poems deal with 
the "true estate and perturbations" of love; the 
rest are printed under the emblem "My love is 
past," and express the renunciation of love. 1 In 
these two classes the traditional themes are all 
found, though their treatment is inclined to be 
either pedantic or fantastic. The poet delights in 
such propositions as that he "abideth more unrest and 
hurt for his beloved, than ever did Leander for his 
Hero," 2 or " he doubteth lest those flames, wherein 
his soule continually burnetii, shall make Charon 
afraid to grant him passage over the lake of Stix, by 
reason, his old withered boat is apt to take fire." ' 

1 See Introduction to No. lxxix. p. 115. * Ibid., p. 86. 

* Ibid., p. 66. 


There are no autobiographical incidents whatever >'*v' s T* 
in the series. "■ v,,t *" ,U 

This collection is valuable chiefly as an indication 
of the new fashion at hand. As poetry, judged by 
itself, it has little claim on immortality. It is of 
the quality of the poorer miscellany poems, though 
the manner is that of a trained rhetorician. The 
similarity to the miscellany verse appears also in 
fantastic tricks of style, as in the anagram-lyric, in 
which the first letters form the quotation, Amor 
me pungit et urit. 1 There is also an echo-sonnet, in 
which the final phrase of each sentence is repeated : — 

Author. " In all this world I thinke none love's but I. 
Echo. None love's but I. Author. Thou foolish tattling 

in this thou telst a lie. Echo. Thou telst a lie," 

etc. 2 

One song is constructed upon the rhetorical prin- 
ciple called by the commentator reduplicatio, accord- 
ing to which every clause begins with some word 
or phrase in the end of the preceding clause. 8 This 
method remains a favorite device of style with the 
sonneteers. Watson's most absurd exhibition of 
scholasticism, however, is the Pasquine Filler erected 
in the Despite of Love, 4 a lyric printed in the shape 
of a column, to be read only with the greatest diffi- 
culty, but as a compensation, following out a mathe- 
matical order in the words, upon which the author 
evidently prided himself. Such technical curiosi- 

iJWd.,p.88. «i6id.,p.61. « I&id., p. 77. * iMd., p. 117. 



ties are most familiar to the reader of English 
literature in the works of the seventeenth century 
fantastic school, of whom, in this one respect, Wat- 
son should be considered a forerunner. 

The general structure of this song-series, it should 
be remembered, was not that of continuous sub- 
ject-matter ; its only unity consisted in the general 
theme of love, and in the single verse-form em- 
ployed. The same criticism is'true of the first real 
sonnet-series, Henry Constable's Spiritual Sonnettes 
te the Honour of God and Hys Sayntes, 1 1591. 
These seventeen sonnets, To God the Father, To the 
Blessed Sacrament, To Our Blessed Lady, etc., have 
no other connection but the general theological 
tone of the subjects. It was the fashion to write 
religious occasional poems, and to pretend to think 
more of such performances than of secular verses, 
but these sonnets are not the most important of 
Constable's work. They are chiefly remarkable for 
the employment throughout of the Petrarchan form, 
and fqr using that form for other themes than 
those of love. 

This modest little* collection is completely over- 
shadowed by Astrophel and Stella, 2 published the 
same year, a sonnet-series that is thought to have 
given the impulse and form to the numerous later 
collections. It was the most celebrated book of the 
sonnet period, and even now gives way only to 

i The Sonnets and Other Poems of Henry Constable, W. C. 
Hazlitt, 1859, p. 49 sq. 2 Arber's English Garner, i. 


Shakspere's. The sonnets fall into two groups, Q 
those having an autobiographical intention , and" 7 
those dealing with conventional themes, more or 
less linked with the other class, such as the sonnet / 
to the moon, or the one to sleep. From the auto- 
biographical group, a slight sequence of action can 
be arranged, which fits well with the known facts 
of Sidney's love affairs. The first eighty-fiv e son- , 
nets deal with the wooing of Stella, who is married ; 
the rest tell how the poet left her from a sense of 
honor, although she loved him, and how he ovej> 
came his passion for her. The basis in fact for 
this seems to be that Stella, the Lady Penelope 
Devereux, was at some time proposed as a bride 
for Sidney, but was married by her friends, against 
her will, to Lord Rich. She was very unhappy in - 
her marriage, and finally, after Sidney's death, 
obtained a divorce. Sidney does not appear to ' 
have cared much for her until after she was mar- 
ried ; then, when it was too late, he came to appre- 
ciate her charms, and addressed the sonnets to her. 
That she loved him is made probable by the cruel 
treatment she received from her husband, and by 
the fact that after Sidney's death she was addressed 
by complimentary poets as his love — a liberty they 
could hardly have taken had it displeased her. 1 

1 For general discussions of this subject, cf. Arber's Eng- 
lish Garner , i. p. 467 sq. ; Hubert Hall's Society in the Eliza- 
bethan Age, pp. 90-91 ; and Dr. Grosart's Introduction, Poems 
of Sidney, 1877. 



Perhaps because Sidney did not intend to publish 
the sonnets, they are more intimate in tone and 
appear more genuine than those of Petrarch or his 
French imitators ; to Sidney's contemporaries, As- 
trophel and Stella seemed a revelation of the poet's 
soul. He puts forth his claim to sincerity in the 
famous phrase of the first sonnet, " look in thy 
heart and write," 1 and recurs to it several times. 2 
As the series progresses, however, the claim relapses 
into the conventional compliment that he writes 
not for fame, but because her beauty moves the 
pen — a theme that had helped on many a French 

Next to this theme of the source of his inspira- 
tion, Sidney takes up the conflict between love and 
virtue. In view of the persistence with which it 
haunts him, 3 this motive can be explained only by 
the theory that Lady Penelope was already married. 
Fourteen sonnets are devoted entirely to this theme, 
and it appears at times in others. According to 
the sonnets, Stella encouraged her lover to be true 
to his nobler self, and would pardon not even the 
one kiss he stole when she was asleep. 4 

In the first part of the series, there are several' 
descriptions of Stella, from which it would appear 
that she had black eyes. 5 The other details of her 
beauty, fair hair, white cheeks, red lips, are not 

1 English Garner, i. p. 503. 4 No. lxxiii. 

2 Cf . Nos. iii, xv, liv, xc, etc. 6 No. vii. 
8 Cf . Nos. iv, v, x, xiv, xviii, xxi, etc. 


distinctive. These latter charms were familiar 
through the Italian and French lyrics; after 
Sidney, however, the English sonneteers were par- 
tial to the black eyes. 

Besides the several disagreeable sonnets satiriz- 
ing Lord Eich, 1 the most important lyrics in the first 
part of the series are those built on images from 
the profession of arms. The tournament, 2 the 
siege, 8 skill with the quarter-staff, 4 and horseman- 
ship, 5 all are vividly pictured. Probably the most 
charming of this class, and the best known, is the 
sonnet to the roadway that leads to Stella : — 

" Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be." • 

The last part of the series, in which Astrophel 
leaves Stella at her request, though she loves 
him — 

" Stella ! while now, by honour's cruel might, 
I am from you," 7 

has not the interest of the first part, especially as 
the series first was printed. With the addition of 
the sonnets recovered from the manuscripts, above 
all the noble sonnet that now ends the series in 
some editions, — 

" Leave me, O love ! which readiest but to dust," 

the poet's final state of mind is made clearer and 
more satisfactory. 

1 Nos. xxiv, xxxviii, etc. 

* No. liii. 

• No. lxxxiv. 

* No. xli. 

* No. xlix. 

* No. xci. 

• No. xii. 


Among the non-biographical sonnets, the address 
e moon x and the prayer to sleep 2 are the best 
knJJBfc. Introduced merely for their own sake, and 
usualxjktranslated or borrowed from French son- 
nets, this*decorative class of lyrics is nevertheless 
bound into* th.© series both by the turns of love- 
compliments introduced at the end, and by Sidney's 
personality, which is as discernible in these as it is 
in the biographical sonnets. The full scope of 
Sidney's art is not grasped until we realize with 
what precision he has made these decorative poems 
fit the mood of the lover at the stage of the sequence 
in which they are introduced. It is by this dra- 
matic arrangement of his themes that he secures the 
most subtle unity of the lyrics, and in this success 
he seems to be a pioneer. It will be profitable to 
note how far his English successors aim for this 
structural skill, or attain to it. 

At intervals among the sonnets of Astrophel and 
Stella Sidney interpolated eleven songs. In general 
these lyrics are considered inferior to the sonnets, 
with two notable exceptions. If we are to trust 
the autobiographical interpretation of the series, 
the eighth song gives explicitly the reasons why 
Stella rejects her suitor, and the high ideal of honor 
she points out for him. The meter, as well as the 
subject, deserves attention*. It is the first important 
example of the trochaic tetrapody catalectic, though 
occasional glimpses of it have already been noted: — 
i No. xxxi. 2 No. xxxix. 


*' If to secret of my heart, 

I do any wish impart, 

Where thou art not foremost placed, 

Be both wish and I defaced. 

" Trust me, while I thee deny, 

In myself the smart I try. 

Tyrant Honour doth thus use thee. 

Stella's self might not refuse thee ! " 2 

The other song, remembered, for its literary- 
beauty alone, is the first: — 

44 Doubt you to whom my Muse these notes intendeth ; 
Which now my breast o'ercharged with music lendeth ? 
To you ! to you ! all song of praise is due : 
Only in you, my song begins and endeth. 

44 Who hath the eyes which marry State with Pleasure ? 
Who keeps the key of Nature's chief est treasure ? 
To you ! to you ! all song of praise is due : 
Only for you, the heaven forgot all measure." 2 

This is a fair illustration of those Elizabethan 
lyrics which, employing conscious effects of art, 
still keep some quality of spontaneous song. It is 
purely an art-lyric ; the verbal music is sufficient 
of itself. It recalls the old miscellany poetry only 
in the device of questions and answers, which was 
noticed in Grimald, and is here used for every 
stanza. Sidney's fondness for refrains, whifth in- 
jIap^ h« *hara* with moat, nf his fiontft mnoraries. 

appears h ere in tb ^ nT^igna.1 internal T^fcnJTi /vP +*»«* 

tnird line. This line is really composed of two 
i English Corner, i. p. 574, * j^., p . 553. 


short staves, riming together. If they be taken as 
a single line, the stanza then has the effect of Fitz- 
gerald's Omar quatrain. Finally, Sidney's careful 
workmanship is seen in the exact distribution of 
masculine and feminine rimes. 

The importance of Astraphel and Stella lay in 
its intensely personal quality . This had two re- 
sults : it gave Sidney's own sonnets an effect of 
unity, by relating them all to his passion, thus set- 
ting a standard of such unity for the sonnets that 
were to come ; and it revived for this decade'the 
practice of sincere self-r everlation^ the subjective 
lyric quality, which in the Petrarchan imitators 
had become almost confessedly a mask. 

In the next year, 1592, appeared Samuel Daniel's 
Delia, 1 which to the literary student must always 
suggest the two great sequences. It recalls Astro- 
phel and Stella, because. Delia is almost certainly 
Sidney's sister Mary, Countess of Pembroke ; it is 
associated with Shalrapere because it illustrates the 
first extended use of his sonnet-form. It is at first 
surprising that these sonnets show so little of Sid- 
ney's influence, but it is not hard to find the ex- 
planation. The Countess of Pembroke was Daniel's 
patroness, and out of gratitude he wished to cele- 
brate her in his art. His love, to say the least, was 
disinterested, and never quite distinguishable from 
respectful friendship. Five sonnets of the first 
edition, the third, eighth, tenth, twelfth, and six- 
1 Elizabethan Sonnet-Cycles, Martha F. Crow, ii. 


teenth, he afterward omitted, apparently because 
they were vehement in their declaration of passion. 
With the intention, then, of " eternizing " his lady 
in this distant manner, he could hardly use the 
burning art of Sidney; he could but imitate the 
most chivalrous phases of Petrarch's worship of 
Laura. Of course this meant simply to ignore 
the sincere note of Astrophel, and to return to the 
French models or to the subjective quality of 
Wyatt's love-plaints. This low temperature of the 
lyric passion is accompanied by a revival of old 
themes; for example, that of the ladv's cruelty, 
Petrarch's familiar motive, on which fully half of 
the Delia sonnets are written. Sidney had escaped 
from the conventionality of this theme through 
the circumstances of his love, where honor dictated 
that he should not love at all ; Stella thereby came 
almost to symbolize virtue, and Astrophel's love, 
in his own eyes, was terribly like desire, so that 
the repulses and final dismissal were not acts of 
cruelty, but triumphs of spiritual love. To offset 
this, however, the very conditions of Daniel's ad- 
miration for the Countess of Pembroke would per- 
suade him to dwell on her intellectual and spiritual 
beauty rather than on physical charms, as Sidney 
had done. In one sonnet, the sixth, we might feel 
a suggestion of Platonic emphasis on the soul, often 
the motive of Spenser's love-poetry : — 

" A modest maid, decked with a blush of honor, 
Whose feet do tread green paths of youth and love ; 


The wonder of all eyes that look upon her, 
Sacred on earth, designed a saint above." 1 

There is no narrative element in Delia, nor any 
progression in the lover's moods . The poet sings 
praises of his lady, or laments her cruelty, or intro- 
duces decorative themes — perhaps after Sidney's 
example, but more probably in direct imitation of 
French poets. The best of these incidental themes, 
and the most familiar sonnet, is the one on 
sleep : — 

" Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable night" * 

It has been pointed out that this is one of the 

favorite decorative themes of all the sonnet-series ; 

evidently Sidney's sonnet is followed here.* The 

famous image of the rose 'from canto sixteen of 

the Gerusalemme Liberate, afterwards entering our 

literature once for all in bk. iv, canto xii of the 

Faerie Queene, here serves a decorative purpose as 

translated in the thirty-sixth sonnet : — 

"Look, Delia, how w' esteem the half-blown rose, 
The image of thy blush, and summer's honor." 4 

j)aniel introduces from Italian poetry the " eter- 
nizing " theme — t he promise to ' make his love 
immortal by his verse . The idea of the deathless 
quality of poetry has been seen in the Anglo- 
Saxon song Widsith, where praise is rendered to 
the patron "free in gifts, who would be raised 

1 Elizabethan Sonnet-Cycles, ii. p. 21. 2 Ibid., p. 66. 

8 See Mod. Lang. Notes, iv. 8, 229, and v. 1, 11. 
4 Elizabethan Sonnet-Cycles, ii. p. 51. 

v.] THE SONHET-SfiRtES 137 

among his friends to fame"; it is found also in 
Homer ; but its most persistent expression is in the 
sonnet-sequences that follow Daniel. The fact that 
he introduced this theme, a favorite one later with 
Shakspere, is another link to bind him with the 
great poet. 

The main reason for considering the two names 
together is that Daniel uses largely the English 
sonnet of three quatrains and a couplet. Critics 
have objected that the form was in use long before 
Delia was written, and that the knowledge of it 
was general. But Daniel first discovered its proper 
development, to which Shak|pere added nothing^ 
the gradual rise of emotion and thought to an. 
epigrammatic climax in the last two lines, instead 
of the swell and fall of the Petrarchan stanza. 
In the ninth sonnet Daniel anticipates the very- 
cadence of much of Shakfepere, where he begins 
each quatrain and the couplet with a subordinate 
clause, and completes the sense in the last lines : — 

" If this be love, to draw a weary breath, 
To paint on floods till the shore cry to th' air ; 

If this be love, to war against my soul, 
Lie down to wail, rise up to sigh and grieve, 

If this be love, to clothe me with dark thoughts, 
Haunting untrodden paths to wail apart, 

If this be love, to live a living death, 
Then do I love and draw this weary breath.*' * 

ii6u*., p. 24. 


Daniel, like Shakspere, frequently gives different 
versions of one theme. In that case he binds the 
sonnets together, either by making them gram- 
matically dependent, as are sonnets six and seven, 
or more usually, by making the last line of each 
sonnet the first line of the next. A series on one 
theme thus bound together are sonnets thirty-six, 
thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine, and forty. 
This method of concatenation has been observed 
already in the English lyric in the stanzas of 
Minot's poems, and perhaps should be referred 
ultimately to a similar stylistic device in Welsh 

In several minor points Daniel recalls the lyrics 
of the miscellanies ; as, to take an external trait, 
where he prefaces one sonnet by a title-intro- 
duction, which is necessary for understanding the 
poem : Alluding to the Sparrow pursued by A Hawk, 
that flew into the Bosom of Zenocrates. 1 In another 
sonnet he repeats the old thought — with more 
sincerity, no doubt, than most love-poets could — 
that his passion finds ample satisfaction in having 
aimed high. 

" The mounting venture for a high delight 
Did make the honor of the fall the more. 


And therefore, Delia, 'tis to me no blot 

To have attempted though attained thee not." a 

Finally, two sonnets on going to Italy 8 recall 

1 No. xxviii, p. 43. 8 Nos. xlix, p. 64, 1, p. 65. 

2 No. xxxii, p. 47. 


the old lyric theme of travel. The resemblance is 
strengthened by the patriotic apostrophe to Albion, 
in which, by the way, such a small thing as absence 
from Delia is quite forgotten in the more keenly 
felt absence from English shores. 
In the fifty-fourth sonnet, — 

" Like as the lute delights or else dislikes 
As is his art that plays upon the same," 1 

a musical instrument appears in the sonnets for 
the first time as an image of love and its moods. 
The habit persists into Shakspere's series, with 
the familiar picture in his hundred and twenty- 
eighth sonnet, of virginal-playing. It has been 
customary for scholars to collect such passages as 
this from Daniel, to prove an Elizabethan's famil- 
iarity with the music of his time ; and as the lute ' 
is most often mentioned, the deduction is made 
that the instrument was in every one's hands. It 
'may not be out of place, however, to notice that 
this and similar references to the lute are probably 
literary, in the same spirit in which sculptors 
carve Homer always with his lyre. The lute sur- 
vives even in modern lyrics, perhaps because of 
its very melodious name, and possibly because 
our minds refuse to associate the poet's art with 
a familiar musical instrument, like the piano, for 
example, or the guitar. The difficulty was as 
great to the Elizabethans, who could not picture 

1 Ibid., p. 69. 


their poets seated at the virginal; the fact that 
they do imagine them with a lute in their hands, 
would seem to argue that the lute already was be- 
coming a literary convention, and superseded as 
a practical instrument. It is a proof of Shak- 
spere's power to find his image near at hand, that 
he uses the virginal, instead of the lute; but it is 
his mistress who plays, not the poet. 

In the same year, 1592, appeared Henry Con- 
stable's Diana, 1 on which, rather than on his sacred 
sonnets already mentioned, his fame rests. Of 
the twenty-eight sonnets in this collection, two 
are devoted to Lady Rich, and in one of them the 
name is used for a pun, though of course with no 
such ill intention as Sidney's. This reminder 
that we are among Astrophel's contemporaries is 
the only direct evidence of Sidney's influence on 
Constable. Diana has not the mark of a real 
woman, nor are even the conventional themes 
exhausted in her praise. The poet is unsuccessful 
and gives up his wooing, according to the twenty- 
sixth sonnet ; yet the lady's cruelty is but slightly 
touched on, and the poet never seems really dis- 
turbed by his fate. The passion of Sidney's lyrics 
so far declines here, that the lover bids his mis- 
tress to command him to love in vain ; his ill suc- 
cess will then be easy to bear, he says, for all her 
commands are joy. 2 The fact is, Constable is 
simply exercising himself in the latest literary 

1 Sonnets and other Poems, Hazlitt, 1859. * Ibid., p. 6. 


form ; he has only a lay-figure to sing to. and lacks 
the dramatic imagination to feign enthusiasm. 
As literary exercises, his sonnets are admirable, 
smoother than Daniel's though not so sweet, and 
more regular in form. He recalls us to the mis- 
cellanies by the use of titles, some of which show 
the old lack of humor, and revire the narrative 
element ; e.g. To his Ladies Hand : upon occasion 
of her Glove, which in her Absence he kissed. 1 The 
concluding lines of this sonnet illustrate the gen- 
eral temper of Constable's lyric passion, as well 
as his very respectable literary skill: — 

** The bow that shot these shafts a relique is, 
I meane the hand — which is the reason why 
So many for devotion thee would kisse : 
And I thy glove kisse, as a thing divine — 
Thy arrowes quiver, and thy reliques shrine. " 

One sonnet, in praise of Diana, suggests a theme 
which reappeared in other sequences, notably Shak- 
spere's. It excuses the poet of the charge of flat- 
tery, which, he says, would indeed be his crime if 
he were describing any one but Diana. The idea 
is not far from — 

" Who will believe my verse in time to come, 
If it were filled with your most high deserts ? " 

Constable's quiet book was followed in 1593 by 
the most elaborate of the purely "literary" se- 
quences, Barnabe Barnes's Parthenophil and Par- 
ihenophe. 2 Not only sonnets, but odes, elegies, 

* Ibid., p. 13. 2 Grosart, Occarional tosw t 1. 


madrigals, canzons, and sestinas are used to express 
the lover's emotion. So far as the subject-matter 
is concerned there is no discrimination between the 
forms; an idea introduced in a sonnet may be 
carried on in a madrigal. 1 The number of literary 
forms employed shows the bent of Barnes's genius ; 
he is more interested in metrical experiments than 
in ideas. As a result, his series is extremely hard 
to read, and none of his sonnets are remembered by 
any but students of literature. His range pf themes 
is very narrow, and his lyric emotion is slight. He 
sings the cruelty of his mistress in a few sonnets, 
notably in the twenty-eighth, 2 which is one of the 
few examples of lyric manner : — 

" So be my labours endlesse in their turnes, 
Turne, turne Parthenophe turne and relent, 
Hard is thine harte and never will repent ; 
See how this heart within my body burns," etc. 

Barnes also has the inevitable description of his 
lady, but his terms are very conventional ; he refers 
to " golden wyers " for her hair ; to pearls set in 
rubies, when he means her teeth; to diamonds 
for her eyes, and to ivory for her skin. 3 This in- 
ventory of ruby, crystal, ivory, pearl, and gold was 
perfectly familiar to earlier English poets ; it is 
remarkable only that Barnes and his sonnet com- 
rades should return to it in such a barefaced 
manner after Sidney had set an example of poetic 

i Sonnet xiii and madr. iv, p. 10. 8 No. 48. 

a Ibid., p. 18. 


sincerity. It remained for Shakspere to depart 
from such trite and far-fetched images. 

The first nine sonnets are purely narrative, telling 
how ParthenophiPs heart left Laya, his first love, 
for Parthenophe. A narrative rather than a lyric 
tendency is observable throughout the sequence. 
Besides the two general themes mentioned, Barnes 
has nothing but rather fantastic ideas, which would 
link him with the later metanhvsical poets, had he 
any of their enthusiasm. Twice he compares his 
love to a clock, working out a parallel for all parts 
of the mechanism l ; and as is usual with such writ- 
ing, the mind is diverted from the idea to the 
image. Bather less pleasant are the several poems 
involving sensuous physical images. What is bear- 
able in Sidney or Spenser only on account of the 
elevation of mood that accompanies it, is treated by 
Barnes with the utmost cold-blooded frankness, 
and seems nothing short of brutal. The sixty- 
third sonnet 2 is especially unpleasant when it is 
remembered that Barnes is describing the woman 
whom he is supposed to love. How little his 
interest was in his pretended passion, and how 
far afield he went for queer ideas, is illustrated by 
the thirty-second 8 and the ten following sonnets, 
which find their inspiration in the signs of the 
Zodiac. The eighty-ninth 4 sonnet is an echo-song, 
the last syllable of each line being repeated. The 

i Nos. 18 and 64. « Ibid. , p. 21. 

9 Occasional Issues, i. p. 43. 4 Ibid., p. 57. 


lyric impulse is at its lowest, perhaps, in the thirty- 
first sonnet, in which each line is made up of 
phrases and their inversions: — 

"I burne yet am I cold, I am a cold yet burne, 
In pleasing discontent, in discontentment pleased," etc.* 

The so-called madrigals, odes, and elegies scat- 
tered through the series are nothing but irregular 
rime-forms, and cannot be generalized. The term 
madrigal is evidently used to imply song-quality, 
since to the Elizabethan mind a madrigal was 
essentially a musical form. Barnes, however, is 
unsuccessful in achieving any special melody in 
this class of his lyrics ; they are no more like songs 
than his sonnets. The sestina, whose only interest 
is its form, will be considered later. 

In this same year, 1593, appeared Thomas 
Watson's second sequence, the Teares of Fancie. 
Of the original twenty-eight sonnets, eight have 
been lost. This also is a conventional love-sequence, 
and the lady counts for as little as did Parthenophe. 
Watson resembles Barnes further in giving his 
sonnets a narrative character. The first eight tell 
how the poet quarrelled with Cupid, and how, after 
many unsuccessful attempts at revenge, the god 
finally caught him with his mistress' eyes. With the 
love-story thus elaborately begun, the sonnets immedi- 
ately relapse into the inevitable theme of the lady's 
extreme cruelty, with one brief hint at her beauty.* 

i Occasional Issues, i. p. 20. 

2 Watson's Poems, Arber Reprint, p. 189. 


This sequence is too short to be compared with 
Sidney's or Barnes's. It shows even more techni- 
cal proficiency than the Hekatompathia, but is just 
as lacking in inspiration and importance. It is a 
good illustration, however, of the Italian influence 
upon scholarly minds, appearing here in such small 
but significant points as the attempt to reproduce 
the feminine rimes of that literature. 

To the same year belongs the elder Giles Fletcher's 
Licia, 1 avowedly a collection of literary exercises. 
In the preface he says, "This kinde of poetrie 
wherein I wrote, I did it onlie to trie my humour." * 
Most of the sonnets are imitated, and the origi- 
nals have been carefully noted by the editor, Dr. 
Grosart. 8 But the fact that the poet's insincerity/ 
is frankly confessed does not lessen the very con- 
siderable charm of this sequence. Not only is 
the verse itself more melodious, if less vigorous, 
than Sidney's, but the subjects are all drawn from 
an imaginary world of great beauty. Most of the 
sonnets are little idyls, after the Alexandrian 
manner, full of cupids, and describing dainty 
dramas in which Venus and the poet's mistress 
play prominent parts. In tone the whole sequence 
accords with the nineteenth idyl of Theocritus — 
the story of Love stung by the bee, and laughed at 
by Aphrodite. An illustrative parallel in Fletcher 
is the ninth sonnet : — 

1 Grosart, Occasional Issues, ii. * Ibid., p. 101. 

* Ibid., p. 7. 



" Love was layd downe, all wearie fast asleepe, 
Whereas my love his armour tooke away," etc. 1 

The sequence gives the impression of an exqui- 
sitely delicate poetic spirit, but of little strength. 
None of the sonnets show fervor ; all of them be- 
speak a keen delight in intellectual and literary 
beauty. The element of sensuous physical charm is 
very small, but the feeling for painting, such as was 
found in Lodge's Rosalind, reappears frequently, 
with most effect in the sonnet in which Licia is 
brought face to face with her own portrait. 2 The 
only deep note is struck in the sonnet suggestive 
of Shakspere, in which the poet meditates how 
time will destroy all things save beauty, virtue, and 
friendship : — 

" In tyme the strong and stately turrets fall, 
In tyme the rose and silver Lillies die, 
In tyme the monarchs captives are and thrall, 
In tyme the sea and rivers are made drie ; 
The hardest flint in tyme doth melt asunder, 
Still living fame, in tyme doth fade away, 
The mountains proud we see in tyme come under, 
And earth for age we see in tyme decay : 

* * * * * * 

Thus all (sweet faire) in tyme must have an end, 
Except thy beautie, virtues, and thy friend." 8 

Like Barnes and the other followers of Sidney, 
Fletcher supposes his mistress to fall ill, and has a 
sonnet on her sickness. 4 This situation seems to 
have been an admirable one for suggesting queer 

1 Occasional Issues, ii. p. 20. 8 Ibid., p. 39. 

a/tod.,p. 17. *J6id.,p. 35. 


poetic ideas ; here Licia is visited by Death, whom 
she confounds by her beauty. Another familiar 
theme is the musical image of love, in this case, 
like Daniel's sonnet, introducing the lute : — 
" Whenas my lute is tuned to her voyce," etc. 1 

In this year also appeared Lodge's Phillis, a col- 
lection of sonnets and songs. 2 How much Lodge 
owes to the example of the sonneteers just men- 
tioned is not known, for in 1591 he left Eng- 
land with Cavendish for Brazil and did not return 
until 1593. It is most likely that he wrote his 
sonnets before he left, and was acquainted with 
Sidney's Astrophel. Not only is this likely from 
the promptness with which the poems appeared 
after his return, but in the descriptions of the sea, 
which they contain, there is no realism whatever, 
such as might be expected from an observing Eliza- 
bethan fresh from a voyage. 

Lodge evidently wrote while the pastoral mood 
was fashionable, for his sequence, more than any 
other, makes use of Arcadian backgrounds and 
images. Most of the ideas are expressed figura- 
tively in flowers or plants, as in the sonnet devoted 
to Phillis' sickness : — 

" How languisheth the primrose of love's garden ! " etc. 8 

The usual love-plaint, describing the hard heart 

of the lady, uses a similar image of a broken 

flower : — 

* Ibid., p. 42. • Ibid., p. 20. 

8 Elizabethan Sonnet-Cycles, Crow, i. 


u Ah, pale and dying infant of the spring, 
How rightly now do I resemble thee I " 1 

In one lyric the poet describes the physical 
beauty of his mistress; 2 in this of course he is 
following the sonnet convention. He seems more 
sincere, however, as he is certainly more noble, in 
the sonnet in which he exalts her spiritual charms; 8 
some praise the looks of their fair queens, he says, 
but Phillis excels in eloquence, wisdom, modesty, 
and faith. 

At intervals throughout the collection, and es- 
pecially toward the end, occur interpolated lyrics. 
None of them show any particular importance 
in external form, for though Lodge has often the 
effect of variety, he rarely attempts innovations. 
Some of his lyrics he calls "odes" ; others he calls 
" songs." There is no distinction, however, between 
the two classes. Of the odes, the best is, "Now 
I find thy looks were feigned." 4 Of the songs, the 
best known are probably "My Phillis hath the 
morning sun," 5 and "Love gilds the roses of thy 
lips." 6 

Phillis differs from the other sequences in being 
evidently completed by the poet ; there is no such 
unfinished feeling as is got from the Astrophel. 
Lodge's concluding sonnet is significant in that it 
commends the series not only to the lady but also 

1 Elizabethan Sonnet-Cycles, i. p. 18. 4 Ibid., p. 71. 

* Ibid., p. 52. « Ibid., p. 28. 

*Ibid., p. 33. «I6id.,p.26. 


to the reader ; the poet evidently drops his lover's 

Michael Drayton's Idea, 1594, 1 needs little com- 
ment either for form or for substance. Whatever 
his merits may be in other forms of poetry, Drayton 
here reveals a scholastic mind without much evi- 
dence of lyric power. Conjecture has found a real 
woman for the subject of these sonnets, but there 
is no supporting evidence, and the theory weakens 
with every reading of the sequence. After a few 
sonnets dealing directly with the love-story through 
the conventional themes of the awakening of pas- 
sion and the lady's hard-heartedness, the poet 
turns for inspiration to such subjects as the Soul* 
and the Celestial Numbers. 3 These are indeed con- 
nected with the main theme of love, but the inter- 
est of the poet and of the reader is felt to lie chiefly 
in the academic conceit. 

How far Drayton is removed from the normal 

inspiration of love-poetry is shown by the two 

sonnets in which, under the titles of Lunacy 4 and 

FoUy, 5 he studies his passion as a type of mental 

disease : — 

" With fools and children good discretion beares, 
Then honest people beare with love and me." 

The lady, from all appearances, is forgotten — if 
indeed Drayton ever thought of one. 

i Poems, Oliver Elton, The Spencer Society, 1888, pt. ii. 
aj&id., p. 382. * Ibid., p. 381. 

• Ibid., p. 886. * Ibid., p. 388. 


In the same year appeared William Percy's 
Coelia. 1 This slight sequence of twenty sonnets 
shows even more than Drayton's what unlyrical 
material was dragged into the vortex of the sonnet 
fashion. Percy was an intimate friend of Barnabe 
Barnes, and perhaps from admiration of Parihewo- 
phil, which he mentions in a so-called madrigal, 2 he 
was led to compose a sequence of his own. The 
now familiar themes are copied laboriously. When 
Percy meets Coelia, Cupid wounds him at once. 
Coelia, of course, fails to reciprocate, so that her 
lover reproaches her for cruelty. These remon- 
strances show an amusing preponderance of com- 
mon sense over poetry, as in the lines : — 

" Dearest cruell the cause I see dislikes thee, 
On us thy brows thou bende so direfully ; 
Enjoine me peunaunce whatsoever likes thee, 
Whate're it be He take it thankefully. 
Yet since for love it is I am thy bondman, 
Good Coelia use me like a Gentleman." * 

The uncertain prosody of this quotation, espe- 
cially the riming of the last two lines, is typical 
of Percy's art in general ; he profits by none of the 
advances made since Wyatt's time. 

Among his incidental or decorative themes, Percy 
introduces the usual musical image in an address 
to his lute : — 

" Strike up, my lute, and ease my heavie cares." * 

1 Grosart, Occasional Issues, iv. 8 Ibid., p. 11. 

*Ibid., p. 25. * Ibid., p. 12. 


An old technical trick is repeated, in the "echo " 
sonnet. 1 Instead of the more usual linking of his 
love's beauty with Venus, through the fable that 
Cupid mistook the lady for his mother, Percy likens 
Coelia to Polyxena, and on the theory of the rein- 
carnation of souls, defends his position stoutly. 2 
In the interpolation of realistic incidents he is not 
so happy ; a good illustration is his account of how 
his lady accidentally stepped on his foot. 8 

In 1594 also appeared the anonymous series 
Zepheria, 4 composed of forty English sonnets, more 
or less regular, called canzone. The author of this 
sequence seems to have been a diligent reader of 
French poetry; many passages in their language 
also suggest Chaucer, e.g. : — 

" When from the tower whence I derive love's heaven, 
Mine eyes (quick pursuivants !) the sight attached 
Of thee, all splendent ! I, as out of sweaven, 
Myself 'gan rouse, like one from sleep awaked." * 

The author of these poems, like Percy, follows 
the uncertain prosody of Wyatt's time. In femi- 
nine rimes, for example, he evidently thinks it 
sufficient that the last syllables should correspond, 
as in the quotation, " attached," "awaked." He 
returns to the earlier poetry in a deeper sense, 
however, by reviving the mood of the old mis- 
cellany love-plaints. The sonnets generally inter- 

1 Ibid., p. 19. 4 Arber's English Garner, v. p. 66 8q. 

* Ibid., p. 15. * Ibid., p. 66. 

•Ibid., p. 7. 


est us in the isolated moods of the lover rather 
than in the lady or in the progression of the story. 
Beyond the general theme of the hard-heartedness 
of his mistress, the poet does not characterize her 
at all. The series is of no importance either in 
spirit or in form. It is chiefly remembered because ' 
its frequent use of legal terms 1 was parodied by 
Sir John Davies, whom we shall consider later. 

In January, 1595, Richard Barnfield published 
his twenty sonnets to Ganymede.* This sequence 
is mainly remarkable for its subject — that passion- 
ate friendship of one man for another which is the 
first motive in Shakspere's series. In treating this 
subject Barnfield has but two lyrical themes, — 
Ganymede's beauty and the poet's love. There is 
no narrative or dramatic element in the sequence. 
Ganymede's beauty is expressed by mythological 
comparisons : — 

u Cherry-lipt Adonis in his snowie shape, 
Might not compare with his pure Ivorie white." 8 

The poet's love for his friend is put in equally 

literary terms, drawn from classical thought : — 

"The Stoics thinke (and they come neare the truth,) 
That virtue is the chief est good of all. 
My chief est good, my chief e felicity, 
Is to be gazing on my love's faire eie." 4 

It is suspected that Barnfield imitates Shakspere, 
or that Shakspere imitates him. Certainly, be- 

1 Cf. Nos. ii, v, vi, xiii, xx, etc. 8 No. 17. 

2 Poems, Grosart, The Roxburghe Club, 1876. < No. 3. 


sides the common use of the theme of friendship, 
there is a resemblance between them in the smooth- 
ness and sweetness of their verses. 


• Next to Shakspere's and Sidney's, the sonnet- 
sequence that would attract most attention by the 
name of its author is Spenser's, published in 1595, 
under the title Amoretti. 1 From a poet of his rank 
we should expect all that the form was capable of ; 
and from Spenser, in particular, the scholarly poet, 
we should look for a combination of the good points 
of preceding sequences. To make a general criti- 
cism in advance, we should say that the individual 
sonnets have not the merit of the series as a whole. 
None of them stand out boldly, as do many of Sid- 
ney's and Shakspere's. A partial explanation may 
lie in the rime-scheme, which is attributed else- 
where to the example of Clement Marot. 2 This 
has neither the rise and fall of the Petrarchan 
strophe, nor the graduated climax of the English 
quatrains; the ear becomes dull with mere 

But taking the sonnets as a whole, the critic 
must find in them the truest sequence of this 
decade. There is a progression in the story and in 
the poet's moods, from the beginning to the end, 
and each sonnet has its inevitable place. The 
series is really but one poem in which each sonnet 

1 Work*, B. Morris, p. 572 sq. * See below, Chap. ix. p. 294. 


is a stanza, and each stanza, as in the Epitha- 
lamium, a lyric unit. The form was in accord 
with Spenser's idyllic genius. 

The series or single poem, if it be considered 
such, is divided with apparent forethought into 
two parts, of sixty-one and twenty-two sonnets 
respectively. The first section deals with the 
unsuccessful wooing of the poet; in the second 
the lady accepts him, and the days of their be- 
trothal are described. The poet skilfully indi- 
cates the length of time which is supposed to 
elapse. The series begins in the early spring, as 
is seen from the fourth sonnet : — 

" New Yeare, forth looking out of Janus gate, 
Doth seeme to promise hope of new delight." * 

In the sixty-second sonnet, the turning-point in the 
love story, another new year is announced, so that 
the period of the poet's unrequited love is one year. 
As the Epithalamium, which is supposed to end 
the series, pictures midsummer as the time of the 
wedding, the time of the second part of the son- 
nets would appear to be about six months. As a 
matter of fact, it was one year, for Spenser was 
married June 11, 1594, a year after the lady 
accepted him. 2 

The first part of the sequence, then, would nat- 
urally deal with more sombre, more troubled moods 
than the second. In the first year the poet notices 
the Lenten season as it comes round : — 

1 Spenser's Works, p. 573. 2 Cf . Introduction, ibid., p. xi. 


" This holy season, fit to fast and pray, 
Men to devotion ought to be inclynd: 
Therefore, I lykewise, on so holy day, 
For my sweet Saynt some service fit will find." 1 

In the second year, however, it is Easter-day that 

accords with his happier mood : — 

" Most -glorious Lord of lyfe ! that, on this day, 
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin." 2 

The same difference in mood, exquisitely matched 
with the change in the lover's fortunes, appears in 
the two sonnets on spring. In the first part, the 
nineteenth sonnet 8 warns all lovers to " way t upon 
their king" — the old motive of spring in love- 
poetry. In the second part the seventieth sonnet, 4 
bidding the betrothed to hasten the wedding-day, 
uses the Eenascence argument of the shortness of 
life and the brief springtime of beauty : — 

"Make hast, therefore, sweet love, whilest it is prime ; 
For none can call againe the passed time." 

The most unexpected opposition between the two 
parts of the series is in the description of the lady's 
beauty. Spenser selects one detail as significant 
of each phase of his love-experience. During his 
period of doubt, his mistress' eyes are constantly 
described in various aspects ; sometimes as almost 
baleful beauty, as in the seventh sonnet, 5 or as 
beneficent, as in the eighth, 6 or as indices of her 
changing moods, as in the twelfth. 7 In the second 

1 Ibid., p. 576. * Ibid., p. 583. « Ibid., p. 574. 

» Ibid., p. 583. 6 Ibid., p. 573. 7 ma., p. 574. 

• Ibid., p. 575. 


part of the sequence, the poet dwells upon his 

lady's smile, which is indeed mentioned in the 

earlier section, but which receives its most notable 

expression in the eighty-first sonnet. 1 

" Fay re is my love, when her fay re golden heares 
With the loose wynd ye waving chance to marke ; 
Fayre, when the rose in her red cheekes appears ; 
Or in her eyes the fyre of love does sparke. 
Fayre, when her hrest, lyke a rich laden barke, 
With pretious merchandize she forth doth lay ; 
Fayre, when that cloud of pryde, which oft doth dark 
Her goodly light, with smiles she drives away. 
But fayrest she, when so she doth display 
The gate with pearles and rubies richly dight ; 
Throgh which her words so wise do make their way 
To beare the message of her gentle spright. 
The rest be works of natures wonderment : 
But this the worke of harts astonishment." 

In the general description of beauty, Spenser's 
Platonic bent naturally marks off his sequence 
from the others. Though as a child of the Renas- 
cence, he is keenly sensible of physical charm, 
yet he places the emphasis on beauty of soul. The 
two worlds, spiritual and physical, derived in a 
literary sense from Plato on the one hand and 
from Italy on the other, are to him not antithetical 
but complementary. The illustrative sonnet is the 
fifteenth, 2 in which the lady's eyes, lips, hands, and 
hair are described in superlative terms, with the 
final lines : — 

u But that which fayrest is, but few behold, 
Her mind adornd with vertues manifold." 

i Spenser's Works, p. 586. 2 Ibid., p. 575. 


It is typical also of Spenser that instead of liken- 
ing his mistress to a goddess, as had been the 
honored custom of sonneteers, he refers to her 
always as his saint; the very term indicates the 
spiritual rather than physical excellence that he 

It is in keeping with this point of view that he 
describes his meeting with his mistress in terms 
of almost mystical devotion. When he sees her, 
according to the third sonnet, 1 instead of feeling 
at once the barbed dart of Cupid, — the fate of the 
other sonneteers, — he is first struck dumb and blind 
by her beauty. It is not the immediate power of 
love that overcomes him) as it would be in Dante's 
case, but the unexpected vision of incarnate virtue. 
This humility the poet retains throughout. It 
takes final expression toward the end of the series 
in the more conventional sixty-sixth sonnet : 2 — 

4 * To all those happy blessings, which ye have 
With plenteous hand by heaven upon you thrown ; 
This one disparagement they to you gave, 
That ye your love lent to so meane a one." 

The Platonic and Italian strains in Spenser's 
nature find interesting expression in the seventy- 
second sonnet, on the conflict of spiritual and sen- 
sual desires. This theme enters into all sonnet-series 
more or less ; perhaps it has a natural place in any 
philosophy of human love. Only Sidney, Spenser. 
and Shakspere, however, have presented the conflict 
i JWd., p. 573. * rtirf., p . 5g2. 



in their sonnets with distinction. With Sidney the 
problem was a specific one, and entered unavoid- 
ably into his story; the dramatic element in his 
sonnets comes, as has been seen, from the conflict 
of his sinful love with Stella, the embodiment of 
his nobler ideals. With Shakspere throughout and 
notably in the strong hundred and twenty-ninth 
sonnet, the poet's nature seems in revolt against 
the ugliness of sinful desires. Spenser, however, is 
unconscious of sin in the problem; he expresses 
simply the conflict between desires of the heart and 
of the soul, both pure in themselves — Hellenism 
and Hebraism, in Arnold's phrase. Whatever 
advantage the other two poets may have in the 
strength of their treatment of the problem, Spenser 
certainly has expressed it for the normal reader : — 

u Oft, when my spirit doth spred her bolder winges, 
In mind to mount up to the purest sky ; 
It down is weighd with thoght of earthly things, 
And clogd with burden of mortality ; 
Where, when that soverayne beauty it doth spy, 
Resembling heavens glory in her light, 
Drawne with sweet pleasures bayt, it back doth fly 
And unto heaven forgets her former flight." 1 

In this year, 1595, appeared Barnes's Divine Cen- 
tune of Spiritual Sonnets. It is usual to connect 
this and other collections of sacred lyrics in the 
sonnet-form, with similar sequences written a few 
years earlier in France. Barnes's sonnets are said 
to be imitations of the Sonnets Spirituels, published 
i Spenser's Works, p. 683. 


in 1573 and in 1575 by the Abbe* Jacques de Billy. 
But whatever the ultimate source of the sequence, it 
represents, like Constable's Spiritual Sonnets, a real 
or pretended reaction against the love-sonnet con- 
vention. Barnes exhorts his muse in the first poem 
to leave singing of earthly passion and mount to 
heavenly themes. The series adds no new facts 
of interest, and has never counted for much in 
Barnes's reputation. 

Emaricdulfe, a sequence of forty sonnets by " E. 
C, Esq.," appeared in 1595. 1 It embraces few of 
the conventional themes. Most of the sonnets are 
in praise of the lady's beauty. They are bound 
together by no narrative vein, and, strangely enough, 
the lady is not reproached for hard-heartedness. 
This latter omission, however, is explained by the 
author's dedication, in which he confesses the whole 
series to be a literary pastime. 

The theme mentioned last in the criticism of 
Spenser is here treated in the thirty-second sonnet, 
in which the poet, with something of Shakspere's 
vehemence (perhaps in imitation), rails against im- 
pure love. The theme may be used as a touch- 
stone, whereby the poorness of E. C.'s art and taste 
is made painfully clear. 

In this same year appeared Sir John Davies' 
Gulling Sonnets, nine quatorzains in ridicule of the 
more affected styles of popular sonneteers. 2 The 

1 A Lamport Garland, Chas. Edmonds, The Roxburghe Club, 
1881. ' Complete Poems, A. B. Grosart, ii, p. 51 sq. 


eighth sonnet has been identified as a parody of 
the affectation of legal knowledge in Zepheria, but 
the others are easily recognized, at least in the spirit 
of their parody. The method of all of them is to 
develop a trite theme laboriously through twelve 
lines, and then in the concluding couplet, where 
normally the climax should be, to descend deliber- 
ately into bathos. A good illustration is the 
ninth : — 

" To Love my God I doe knightes service owe 
And therefore now he hath my witt in warde, 
But while it is in his tuition soe, 
Methinks he doth intreat it passinge hard ; 
For thoughe he hathe it marryed longe agoe 
To Vanytie, a wenche of no regarde, 
And now to full and perfect age doth growe, 
Yet nowe of freedome it is most debarde. 
But why should love after minoritye 
When I am past my one and twentieth yeare 
Perclude my witt of his sweet libertye, 
And make it still the yoake of wardshippe beare. 
I feare he hath an other title gott 
And holds my witt now for an Ideott." 1 

In 1596 appeared Richard Linche's Diella, a series 
of thirty-nine English sonnets. 2 Only a word of 
comment is needed. The sequence is thoroughly 
conventional, but fairly well done. There is an 
interesting return to a theme of the first miscel- 
lanies, in the tenth sonnet, where the poet tells how 
with the springtime all things revive save the 

1 Complete Poems, ii. p 62. 

a Grosart's Occasional Issues, iv. 



grieving heart of the lover. 1 The musical instru- 
ment reappears in the sixteenth sonnet : — 

" But thou my dear sweet-sounding lute be still." a W 

A theme which becomes more important, as the J* 
Bonnet fashion draws near its climax in Shakspere, 
is what might be called the night-thoughts of the 
Hover. As expressed here in the nineteenth sonnet, 
it is a mood of disappointment, which comes on the 
lover when he wakes from dreaming of his lady. 8 
Among the descriptions of Diella's beauty should 
be noticed the usual comparison to a classic god- 
dess ; 4 here the compliment is framed into an epi- 
sode, in which Cupid falls in love with her, and 
Venus is jealous lest she should win the affection 
of Mars. 

At times the conventionality of the sequence is 
interrupted by an odd allusion or a queer trick of 
style. A good example of the first is the reference 
to the American Indian in 'the eighth sonnet: — 

"Thyne eyes (those semynaries of my grief e) 
Have been more gladsome to my tyre'd spright, 
Than naked savages receive reliefe 
By comfort-bringing warmth of Phoebus' light." 6 

A conscious and very old method, by which a small 
idea is stretched out to cover the fourteen lines, is 
the antithetical use of images, as in the fourteenth 
sonnet. 6 When rivers run uphill, and sheep devour 

i Ibid., p. 16. 8 Ibid., p. 26. * Ibid., p. 14. 

a Ibid., p. 23. * Ibid., p. 11. « Ibid. % p. 21. 


wolves, and fish climb mountains, and bears swim, 
then the poet will cease to love. But rivers cannot 
run uphill, nor sheep devour wolves, nor fish come 
on land, nor bears swim ; therefore the poet will 
not cease to love. 

Of a finer inspiration is the sonnet in which Time 
is bidden to turn back and consider how beautiful 
Diella is. 1 The Eenascence note of sadness is 
absent from this contemplation of swift-passing 
beauty, but the images are exactly those which 
Shakspere uses for the same theme, and the effect 
somewhat recalls his fine apostrophe. 

In the same year appeared Bartholomew Griffin's 
Fidessa, a sequence of sixty-two English sonnets. 2 
The technic of these sonnets is excellent, but the 
subject-matter is echoed from previous series. The 
most flagrant plagiarism is the sonnet on sleep, in 
which the phrases of Daniel's fine poem are simply 
rearranged. 3 

Griffin's ability for attaining verbal effects with- 
out any particular sense in the words is illustrated 
by the opening lines of the sonnet describing his 
lady : — 

" Fair is my love that feeds among the lilies, 
The lilies growing in that pleasant garden 
Where Cupid's Mount, that well-beloved hill is, 
And where that little god, himself is Warden. 
See where my Love sits in the beds of spices 1 
Beset all round with camphor, myrrh and roses, 

1 Occasional Issues, iv. p. 9. 

3 Arber's English Garner, v. p. 589 sq. 8 Ibid., p. 598. 



And interlaced with curious devices 

Which her from all the world apart incloses." l 

Griffin's only contributions to technical form 
are two sonnets in which every line ends in the 
same word. To the conventional music-theme, 
however, he adds a new point of view, bringing 
it nearer to Shakspere. He introduces the lute, in 
the seventeenth sonnet, 2 but the lady plays it: — 

" The lute itself is sweetest when she plays." 

The instrument ceases to be the badge of the 
poet's art, and becomes a detail in a realistic 

To this same year belongs Chloris, a collection 
of forty-eight sonnets by William Smith. 8 This 
sequence is very plainly an imitation of contem- 
porary sonnets, written from an honest ambition 
to be in the fashion. In the third sonnet 4 and in 
the epilogue, 5 the poet makes his frank apologies 
to the other sonneteers for not following them 
with a surer foot. The two opening sonnets 8 and 
the last, 7 all in praise of Spenser, are more spirited, 
and at least they do credit to Smith's critical 
judgment. ^ 

The series is pastoral in tone. The thirteenth 
sonnet tells an incident from Tasso's Aminta and 
the fourteenth refers to that poem and to that poet 

1 Ibid. , p. 609. 6 Ibid. , p. 29. 

*Ibid. t p. 599. «i&id.,p. 3. 

• Grosart's Occasional Issues, iv. T Ibid., p. 28. 


by name; no doubt the influence extended over 
the rest of the sequence. The fauns and the syl- 
vans are called upon to plead with the obdurate 
Chloris; even the pine-trees, under whose shade 
she rests, are bidden help persuade her. This is 
the most decided expression of Chloris' cruelty; 
for the most part the poet is very humble, and 
seems to ascribe to his own unworthiness his small 
success in love. 

The only technical experiment is a revival of 
the old echo song in the form of sonnet, in which 
the echoes, read together, constitute a new poem : — 

" O fairest faire to thee I make my plaint, 
To thee from whom my cause of grief doth spring 
Attentive be unto the grones sweete Saint 
Which unto thee in doleful tunes I sing. 
My mournful muse doth alwaies speak of thee, 
My love is pure O do it not disdaine, 
With bitter sorrow still oppress not me 
But mildly looke upon me which complaine. 
Kill not my true-affecting thoughts, but give 
'' v Such pretious balm of comfort to my heart, 
But casting off despaire in hope to live, 
I may find helpe at length to ease my smart. 
So shall you adde such courage to my love, 
That fortune false my faith shall not remove." 1 

In 1598 appeared Robert Tofte's Alba, 2 a series 
of love songs, in form like Watson's Hekatompathia, 
but with four quatrains instead of three. The 
year before, the same poet published a similar 

1 Occasional Issues, iv. p. 12. 2 Occasional Issues, xii. 


series entitled Laura. So slight is the merit of 
both performances, that Alba is considered more 
important on account of a reference to Love's 
Labour's Lost. 1 

In the same year a set of fifteen elegiac sonnets 
was published by Thomas Rogers on the death of 
Lady Frances, Countess of Hertford. 2 They show 
the influence of the sonnet-publishing fashion on 
conventional subject-matter; ten years before it 
would have taken the form of epitaphs such as are 
found in the miscellanies. 

Perhaps in this record of the sonnet-sequences /Jhh 
should be included Sir John Davies' Astroea, 1599. , \J 
This is a series of twenty-six acrostics in honor of 
the Queen. The initial letters of each song form 
the motto "Elisabetha Regina." In this artificial 
form the poet attains great freedom and grace, and 
the subjects are fresher, more English, and more 
song-like than in most of the sonnet-series. Per- 
haps because of the dainty stanza and the lightly 
turned compliment, these lyrics often have the 
quality of society verse. A good example is the 
sixth, To the Nightingale: — 

** Every night from even till morn, 
Love's chorister amid the thorn, 
Is now so sweetc a singer ! 
So sweet, as for her song, I scorn 
Apollo's voice and finger. 

i Ibid., p. 105. 

3 Included in the Lamport Garland, Chas. Edmonds, The 
Roxburghe Club, 1881. 


But, Nightingale I sith you delight 
Ever to waich the starry night, 
Tell all the stars of heaven ! 
Heaven never had a star so bright 
As now to earth is given ! 
Royal Astrsea makes our day 
Eternal, with her beams 1 nor may 
Gross darkness overcome her ! 
I now perceive why some do write, 
( No country hath so short a night 
As England hath in summer.' " 1 

The sonnet vogue, however, was nearing its end. 
The last two sequences were not published until 
the beginning of the next century, although they 
were probably written in this decade. Sir William 
Alexander's Aurora, 2 a series of a hundred and six 
sonnets, not to mention madrigals, so called, ses- 
tinas, elegies, and songs, was published in 1604. 
The sonnets, which followed the Petrarchan model, 
were devoted to strictly conventional subjects. In 
the other lyrics, however, the author recalls Barnes 
by his continual experiments in external verse-form. 
In all the elegies which are merely love-plaints, the 
"poulter's measure" is revived — possibly because 
the poet thought it resembled the classical elegiac 
meter. The madrigals are irregular lyrics, not at 
all resembling the Italian form of that name. In 
the fourth song all the stanzas, which are seven 
lines long, rime together on the same words. 3 This 
is a variation of the sestina, without the progressive 

1 Arber's English Garner, v. p. 566. 

2 Poetical Works, 3 vols., Glasgow, 1870. 8 Ibid., i. p. 42. 


change in the order of the rimes. A still more 
interesting experiment is the fifth song, 1 in which 
all the rimes are perfect; that is, they have the 
same form and sound, with a different meaning. 
The first stanza will be sufficient for illustration : — 

" Alongst the borders of a pleasant plaine, 
The sad Alexis did his garments teare, 
And though alone, yet fearing to be plaine, 
Did maime his words with many a sigh and teare : 
For whilst he leaned him downe upon a grene, 
His wounds began againe for to grow grene." 

The last and greatest sonnet-sequence of this 
period, Shakspere's Sonnets, was published surrep- 
titiously in 1609. 2 It has been thought, however, 
that most of the series was composed before 1594, 
and was known to many readers in manuscript. 8 
The great interest in these sonnets has usually 
centred in the striking narrative of friendship and 
love that forms the structure of the series. The 
poet begins with singing the praises of his friend, 
a young man; then a woman appears by whom both 
are fascinated, and the young friend apparently 
defeats the poet in the contest for the lady's favor. 
On this framework it was long customary to build 
an elaborate study of Shakspere's misfortunes in 
love. It is now the fashion to hold rather that 
Shakspere, like the other sonneteers, was merely 

i Ibid., p. 64. 

2 Works, Cambridge edition, Wm. Aldis Wright, 1893, ix. 
p. 281 sq. 

• Sidney Lee, Life of Shakspere, pp. 88, 89. 


using conventional subject-matter in a conven- 
tional way. 1 However that may be, the passion- 
ate friendship of man for man, as intense in its 
expression as love of a woman, was not rare in 
Elizabethan literature, and had already been cele- 
brated in the sonnet-form by Barnfield. The love 
of a woman who was bound to some one else was 
of course the chief motive of Astrophel. Shakspere 
may have seen the dramatic effect of combining 
the two themes. As the sonnets stand, however, 
the themes are slightly mixed; we can only 
guess in what order the poet would have arranged 
them had they been printed under his care. But 
whatever their order, for the purposes of this study 
it is sufficient to notice how they include all the 
best themes of preceding sonnets, and how those 
themes are modified by the great poet's genius. 

The first twenty-six sonnets, devoted to the 
poet's friend, have three main themes — advice to 
the youth to marry, the " eternizing " theme, and 
praise of the friend's beauty. The advice to marry 
takes the place of the reproach of hard-heartedness 
in the earlier series. The " eternizing " theme, the 
promise to make his friend immortal in verse, was 
also familiar to Shakspere from its use by his con- 
temporaries, but his statement of it is by far the 
most powerful and most persistent of the period. 
It is hard not to believe that this conventional^ 
theme has found a sincere echo in the heart of an 
1 Life of Shakspere, p. 109 sq. 


ambitious man. The third theme is presented in 
the plea that should the poet faithfully portray 
his friend, no one would believe the picture — a 
formula of compliment that we have already met 
with. The three themes are stated together in the 
seventeenth sonnet : — 

"MI could write the beauty of your eyes, 
And in fresh numbers number all your graces, 
The age to come would say, 4 This poet lies ; 
Such heavenly touches ne'er touched earthly faces.' 
So should my papers, yellowed with their age, 
Be scorned, like old men of less truth than tongue, 
And your true rights be termed a poet's rage 
And stretched meter of an antique song : 
But were some child of yours alive that time, 
You should live twice, in it and in my rhyme.? * 

In this first part of the series, especially in the 
admonition of his friend to marry, Shakspere uses 
the Renascence plea of the flight of time and the 
shortness of beauty's spring. But it is character- 
istic of these sonnets that the emphasis is always 
upon the approaching decay, rather than upon the 
departing bloom. The images are drawn from 
autumn and winter, not from spring: — 

u When I do count the clock that tells the time, 
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night ; 
When I behold the violet past prime. 

Then of thy beauty do I question make, 
That thou among the wastes of time must go," etc. 3 

On the other hand, in describing the beauty of 
i Works, ix. p. 290. a Ibid., p. 287. 


his friend, Shakspere adds much to the usual son- 
neteer's conception by making beauty the evolution 
of an ideal — the dream of past ages come true: — 

" Thus all their praises are but prophesies, * 

Of this our time, all you prefiguring.' * 1 

This is quite different from the usual comparison 
with Helen or Venus, or other beauties of the old 
world, though Shakspere has also an example of 
that. 2 

In addition to these descriptions of his friend, 
Shakspere has, in the latter part of the sequence, 
a description of the woman, which, on account of 
its dominant color, has made its subject famous in 
literary tradition as the "Dark Lady." 8 This 
description, which seems at first sight a realist's 
revolt against the formulas of golden hair, red 
lips, and lily hands, coincides with a conventional 
portrait, familiar to the Elizabethans from Sidney's 
picture of the dark-eyed Stella. It is as old in 
lyric poetry as the song of Theocritus: "They 
all call thee a gypsy, gracious Bombyca, and lean, 
and sunburnt ; 'tis only I that call thee honey-pale. 
Yea, and the violet is swart, and swart the lettered 
hyacinth, but yet these flowers are chosen the first 
in garlands." 4 

Somewhat akin to the gloomy tone of the descrip- 
tion of beauty, mentioned above, is the sixty-ninth 
sonnet, in strong contrast with Spenser's descrip- 

i Wot ks, ix. p. 3t3. 2 No. liii, p. 311. 8 No. cxxvii, p. 355. 
4 Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, Andrew Lang, p. 57. 


tion of his mistress' soul. Referring to the evil 
life which has soiled his friend's reputation, the 
poet tells how the world allows physical beauty to 
"the youth, but judges his soul by his actions and 
finds it base : — 

44 They look into the beauty of thy mind, 
And that, in guess, they measure by thy deeds ; 
Then, churls, their thoughts, although their eyes were kind, 
To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds." * 

It is hard to say how much Shakspere gained 
from Spenser, but there are many points of simi- 
larity, such as the sonnet of the "two loves, of 
comfort and despair." 2 This is but a different 
poetic statement of Spenser's sonnet, mentioned 
before, 8 on the conflict of earthly and spiritual love. 

The familiar music-image of the earlier sonnets 
is here represented by the sonnet on his lady play- 
ing the virginal. 4 What was before a literary con- 
vention, Shakspere makes a realistic picture. Those 
critics who argue from such passages as this that 
the poet had any specific musical knowledge, quite 
overlook the fact that all he needed to find such an 
image was observation. The picture is natural, 
as is that earlier one of his friend listening to 
music : — 

" Music to hear, why hearest thou music sadly ? " 6 

Among the minor points of similarity with pre- 
ceding sonneteers, should be mentioned the punning 

i Works, ix. p. 321. * Ibid., p. 144. • See above, p. 158. 
« Works, p. 128. * No. viii, p. 286. 


sonnets on the nam e " Will ," * and the occasional use 
of le gal term s. 2 The punning sonnets, as we have 
seen, were the fashion of the age, continuations of 
the custom set by Sidney. The use of legal terms 
had been widely practised, especially in Zepheria, 
and had been parodied by Davies. 

The familiar theme of the absent mistress present 
in the dreams of the lover reaches probably its most 
important expression in the forty-third sonnet : — 
" When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see." 8 

Though here it is the conventional theme, yet there 
is a suggestion also of the older idea, made promi- 
nent by Chaucer, that the true lover had his love's 
image in his heart, and could visualize it with his 
eyes closed. 

A remarkable sonnet is the ninety-ninth, which 
has fifteen lines. The first line — 

** The forward violet thus did I chide." * 

is not an organic part of the sonnet, but is abso- 
lutely necessary to the understanding of the image 
employed. It contains the lyric impulse. In this 
respect it resembles the narrative titles of many 
love-plaints in the miscellanies, which serve the 
same purpose of introducing the lyric stimulus. 

This is enough to show Shakspere's general rela- 
tion to the earlier sonnet-series. The originality 
of his genius appears in the treatment of the ele- 

1 Nos. cxxxv and cxxxvi, p. 360. 8 Works, p. 3(X>. 

a No. cxxxiv, p. 359. * Ibid., p. 338. 


mental passions of life, such as friendship and love. 
These themes he considers for their own sake, some- 
times not even caring to relate them closely to the 
series. Perhaps because they are motives of the 
broadest human significance, they are the best 
known. The typical sonnet on friendship is the 
twenty-ninth : — 

44 When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes." 1 

The lark image in the last quatrain, so closely asso- 
ciated with Shakspere's lyric mood, here adds a 
new theme to the sonnet tradition. The typical 

Sof love is the hundred and sixteenth. Asf^~) 
se of abstract loveyits only rival in Eliza- / 
song is Spenser's Platonic hymn; but in ' 
vigor of expression and in lyric force, the sonnet 
stands alone : — 

44 Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come, 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
If this be error, and upon me proved, 
I never writ, nor rib man ever loved." 2 

In the treatment of his themes Shakspere shows 
two interesting habits. The first is the use of very 
simple and realistic images to express conventional 
and usually ornate ideas. It is as if the dramatist 
carried over into sonneteering the homely devices 
and matter-of-fact formulas of the stage. Such a 
use is illustrated by the thirty-fourth sonnet : — 

i Ibid.; p. 207. a Ibid., p. 348. 


" Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day, 
And make me travel forth without my cloak, 
To let base clouds o'ertake me in my way ? " 1 

or by the seventy-third : — 

44 That time of year thou mayst in me behold 
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang 
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold." 2 

The second of Shakspere's habits is his constant 
experimenting with one theme. After once stating 
his idea, he frequently recasts it in one or more 
following sonnets. This has been noticed in earlier 
sonneteers, but with Shakspere the trick is very 
barefaced. It is one of the best reasons adduced 
for thinking that the whole series is more or less a 
literary exercise. 

The one quality which marks this sequence as 
the culmination of the sonnet period is the perfec- 
tion of lyric form in the case of half a dozen son- 
nets. In the whole period there are hardly a score 
that have perfect unity, and Shakspere achieved it 
more often than any other sonneteer. A good ex- 
ample of such lyric form is the hundred and fourth 
sonnet. 3 The stimulus, which is an idea rather than 
an image, is presented in the first line : — 

44 To me, fair friend, you never can be old." 

In the next seven lines this motive is developed 
by giving the reasons for the poet's confidence. The 
images used, all drawn from the decay of nature, 

i No. cxxxiv, p. 300. « Ibid., p. 323. » Ibid., p. 341. 


suggest almost unconsciously that the eternal beauty 
of the " fair friend " must be an exception : — 

44 For as you were when first your eye I eyed, 
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold 
Have from the forests shook three summers' pride, 
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned 
In process of the seasons have I seen, 
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burned, 
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green." 

In the sextet, Shakspere keeps the English form, 
but adopts the cadence of the Petrarchan sonnet. 
This cadence permits the proper lyric development ; 
the suggestion of Nature's decay makes the poet 
fear lest his affection has deceived him; perhaps 
his friend's beauty is changing. The mood of con- 
fidence changes gradually to one of regret, and so 
ends : — 

u Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand, 
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived ; 
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand, 
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived : 
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred ; 
Ere you were born was beauty's summer dead." 



The lyric poetry of the last decade of the six- 
teenth century was dominated by Sidney and 
Spenser. Sidney's influence was upon the son- 
net-sequences, as has been noticed; Spenser's was 
upon the lyric in other forms, published separately. 
In 1591 appeared his Daphnaida, 1 an elegy on the 
death of Douglas Howard, daughter of Henry, 
Lord Howard. This poem continues the pastoral 
tradition in so far as it is an eclogue, in which the 
dirge proper is introduced. The dirge is in seven 
sections, each of seven stanzas seven lines long. 
The last line of each section is a refrain: — 

" Weepe, Shepheard ! weepe, to make my undersong." 

The dirge is not a strict elegy according to the 
Greek model, such as the elegy in the Shepheards 
Calender. The order of the themes is apparently 
haphazard, and there is no note of consolation 
whatever. Several of the typical elegiac motives 
are present, however, as in the first section, where 
the protest against untimely death is stated thus : — 

1 Works, p. 542 sq. 


chap.yi.J OTHER LYRISTS . 177 

" She fell away in her first ages spring, 
Whilst yet her leafe was greene, and fresh her rinde, 
And whilst her braunch faire blossomes f oorth did bring, 
She fell away against all course of kinde. 
For age to dye is right, but youth is wrong ; 
She fell away like fruit blowne downe with winde. . (A 

Weepe, Shepheard I weepe, to make my undersong." l "**'•{; 

The quotation illustrates the stanza employed 

i . & 

throughout the poem — a variation of the rime * V 
royal. Perhaps Spenser wished to avoid the epi- 
grammatic final couplet of Chaucer's stanza. 

The only other theme that is distinctly reminis- 
cent of the Greek model is the complaint that the 
good are taken and the less worthy spared. As 
Spenser here states it, however, it is rather a fatal- 
istic doctrine than a complaint : — 

" The good and righteous he away doth take, 
To plague th' unrighteous which alive remaine ; 
But the ungodly ones he doth forsake, 
By living long to inultiplie their paine." a 

In the same year Spenser's Complaints* were 
published. The first of these poems, the Buines of 
Time, is an elegy on Sidney. The elegy proper is 
framed in an allegory, but its quality is lyrical. 
The grief expressed is at first general; the poet 
mourns the passing of greatness from the earth. 
Then Sidney, the type of spiritual greatness, is 
mourned in a tone of sincere personal sorrow. The 
consolation, the third division of the Greek elegy, 
is here found in the contemplation of Sidney's 

1 Ibid., p. 546. * Ibid., p. 646. « Ibid., p. 487 sq. 





spirit in eternal bliss, and more especially, in the 
immortality which song will bring him. Spenser 
takes the opportunity of paying an exalted tribute 
to the " eternizing " power of poetry : — 

" Provide therefore (ye Princes) whilst ye live. 
That of the Muses ye may friended bee, 
Which unto men eternitie do give ; 
For they be daughters of Dame Memorie 
And Jove, the father of eternitie, 
And do those men in golden thrones repose, 
Whose merits they to glorify do chose. 

The sevenfold yron gate of grislie Hell, 

And horrid house of sad Proserpina, 

They able are with power of mightie spell 

To breake, and thence the soules to bring awaie 

Out of dread darknesse to eternall day, 

And them immortall make, which els would die 

In foule forge tfulnesse, and nameles lie." i 

The other lyrical poems in the volume were 
the Teares of the Muses, Bellay's Buines of Borne 
translated, the Visions of the Worlds Vanitie, the 
Visions of Bellay, and the Visions of Petrarch. 
The first is a long poem on the decay of learning 
and art. Spenser would seem here to be quite 
unconscious of the great poetic age already dawn- 
ing. Each of the Muses is introduced in turn and 
makes her complaint of neglect. Though Spenser 
attains a certain dignity of utterance in these 
speeches, lyrical emotion is in a large measure 
absent from them, and they have little lyric devel- 

i Works, p. 493. 


opment. Perhaps the cause is the preponderance 
of thought and philosophy in the subject ; as in his . 
Platonic hymns, Spenser's lyric gifts are hidden by 
the exposition of doctrine. In one or two passages, 
however, this exposition almost attains the exalted 
mood of song, as in these words of Urania : — 

" Through knowledge we behold the worlds creation, 
How in his cradle first he fostred was ; 
And judge of Natures cunning operation, 
How things she formed of a formelesse mas : 
By knowledge wee do learne ourselves to knowe 
And what to man, and what to God, wee owe. 

From hence wee mount aloft unto the skie, 

And looke into the Christall firmament : 

There we behold the heavens great Hierarchie, 

The Starres pure light, the Spheres swift movement, 

The Spirits and Intelligences fayre, 

And Angels waighting on th' Almighties chayre. 

And there, with humble minde and high insight, 
Th' Eternall Maker's majestie wee viewe, 
His love, his truth, his glorie, and his might, 
And mercie more than mortall man can vew. 
O soveraigne Lord ! O soveraigne happinesse, 
To see thee, and thy mercie measurelesse ! " * 

The translations of Bellay's Buines of Rome, like 
the remaining lyrical poems in the volume, are de- 
voted to the contemplation of the transitoriness of 
human greatness. The poem is a succession of 
English sonnets, related only by the theme common 
to all — the praise of Rome in its power, and the 
picture of it in decay. The twenty-third sonnet 
l I&iU, p. 502. 


introduces a moral note by laying the blame of 
Rome's fall on luxurious living. The next sonnet 
continues this mood by asking what old sin was it 
that needed such atoning in the city's perpetual 
wars. The series ends with an envoy, a compli- 
ment to Bellay's art: — 

" Needes must he all eternitie survive, 
That can to other give eternall dayes." * 

The Visions of the Worlds Vanitie is an imitation 
of the following poems, Bellay's Visions and Pe- 
trarch's; it may therefore be taken as typical of 
them. It is a series of sonnets in each of which 
is presented a fable illustrating the occasional 
success of the weak over the strong. In the 
fifth sonnet, for example, the poet sees a whale 
slain by a swordfish, and learns therefore not to 
despise — 

44 Whatever thing seems small in common eyes." 2 

The eleven other sonnets all teach the^same prin- 
ciples of life. In the Visions of Bellay the truth 
illustrated is that there is no stability in earthly 
greatness. The poet sees a palace of crystal stand- 
ing one moment, and wrecked by an* earth quake the 
next. In the Visions of Petrarch the motive is the 

With the exception of the Teares of the Muses, 
these poems are, as has been seen, translations and 
paraphrases. It is hardly by accident that they all 
i Works, p. 531. 2 ibid., p. 537. 


express the moral side of the Renascence. The re- 
volt against the conventional amorous subjects of 
the sonnets, indicated by Constable's and Barnes's 
spiritual sequences, was but one manifestation of 
the new and deeper vein of thought, which, perhaps 
inspired by the combination of the Renascence and 
the Reformation, certainly ennobled by Spenser's 
Platonic genius, was to culminate in Milton. 
Within the limits of this study, it will be seen to 
run parallel with the lighter, courtlier lyric motives 
such as characterize especially the song-books. It 
should be noted that this rather gloomy moralizing 
does not become a literary fashion as do the son- 
neteering and the song-writing; it is found in the 
separate publications of individual poets. 

In this same year, 1591, was published Michael 
Drayton's Harmony of the Church, 1 a series of lyrics 
founded on Biblical stories or paraphrased from 
songs in the Bible. The Song of Solomon and the 
Song of Difiorah are typical of the subjects. The 
volume is a sacred miscellany, taking its general 
form from the popular methods of publishing, and 
deriving its subject-matter from that moral and 
religious thought-movement which has just been no- 
ticed. The trend which the book illustrates is more 
important than the lyrics it contains ; they are not in 
Drayton's best manner. In fact, all that the poet 
accomplishes by his paraphrasing is to destroy the 

1 Complete Works, the Rev. Richard Hooper, 3 vols., Lon- 
don, 1876. 


u wA B.UM ' 

rhythm of the Biblical prose. A fair example is 

this stanza from the Song of Miriam : — 

u The Lord Jehovah is a man of war ; 
Pharaoh, his chariots, and his mighty host, 
Were by His Hand, in the wild waters lost, 
His captains drowned in the Bed Sea so far." 1 

Drayton, who, next to Spenser, is the prominent 
lyrist of this decade, published in 1593 an imita- 
tion of the ShepJieards Calender, called the Shep- 
heards Garland. 2 The volume consists of nine 
eclogues, in which occur several lyrics. The first 
eclogue is a love-plaint of a familiar type; the poet 
beholds the return of spring, and grieves the more 
over his unhappy passion. The second eclogue has 
for its subject the vanity of life. It contains one 
fine lyric in praise of love which is Platonic in 
motive ; love is addressed as the power that ele- 
vates the human mind in the pursuit of beauty — 
a familiar theme with Spenser also, especially in 
the Amoretti. Drayton's brief passage of three 
stanzas has hardly sufficient length for proper 
lyric development, but its emotional quality is 
strong : — 

" O divine love, which so aloft canst raise, 
And lift the mind out of this earthly mire, 
And dost inspire the pen with so hie prayse, 
As with the heavens doth equal man's desire," etc.* 

The third eclogue is a conventional praise of a 
shepherdess, Beta. Only the meter of the poem 

1 Complete Works, iii. p. 244. 8 Ibid., p. 9. 

2 Reprinted hy Collier. 


vi.] OTHER I^RISTS 183 

need be mentioned. The stanza is composed of six 
lines; an alexandrine and a septenary, a couplet 
in tetrapody verse, and a couplet of septenaries. 
The sharp variation in the speed of the lines is not 
altogether pleasant: — 

44 O thou faire silver Thames : O cleerest chrystal flood, 
Beta alone the Phenix is, of all thy watery brood, 
The Queene of virgins only she : 
And thou the Queene of floods shalt be : 
Let all thy nymphs be joyful then, to see this happy day, 
Thy Beta now alone shall be the subject of my lay." l 

The fourth eclogue is perhaps best known because 
it contains an elegy on Sidney. It is not a Greek 
elegy, but a personal song of the miscellany type. 
The fifth eclogue, a pictorial description of the 
poet's mistress ; the sixth, in praise of the " Muse 
of Brittanye"; the eighth, a ballad in the meter 
and manner of Chaucer's Sir Thopas, and the ninth, 
a love-plaint — all are too obvious to need further 
mention. The seventh, however, in reproof of 
love, is a remarkable example of the extent to 
which the Elizabethan metrists practised syn- 
copation. In some lines of this tetrapody move- 
ment every word bears the accent, an effect that 
has been noted already in Spenser, Drayton's 

44 Oh spightfull wayward wretched love, 
Woe to Venus which did nurse thee, 
Heavens and earth thy plagues do prove, 
Gods and men have cause to curse thee. 

Ubid., p. 50, 


Thought's grief, heart's woe, 
Hope's paine, bodies languish, 
Envies rage, sleepes foe, 
Fancies fraud, soules anguish," etc. 1 

In 1595 appeared Bobert Southwell's St Peter's 
Complaint, a book of sacred verse, containing be- 
sides the title poem a number of short lyrics. 8 
The title poem is a very long lament by St. Peter 
over his denial of Christ. Without possessing 
lyric form, it has the same dramatic lyrical quality 
that is seen in the Anglo-Saxon poem of the 
Wanderer. The power of emotional expression 
is very strong. A better example, however, of 
Southwell's genius and method is the second 
piece in the book, Mary Magdalen's Blushe. Mary 
speaks : — 

** The signes of shame that stayne my blushing face, 
Rise from the feelinge of my raving fittes ! " etc. 8 

She makes the blush, which is the lyric stimulus 
of the poem, a symbol of the conflict in her soul 
between " sense " and " grace," to use Southwell's 
terms. This mystical allegorizing is the first 
characteristic of his work. The manner in which 
he accomplishes it is sometimes hard; otherwise 
it would be easy to connect him with the seven- 
teenth-century "metaphysicians" like Vaughan. 
The same method reappears in another form in 

1 Complete Works, iii. p. 50. 

2 Complete Poems, A. B. Grosart, Fuller Worthies Library, 
1872. 8 Ibid., p. 59. 


the third lyric, Mary Magdalen's Complaint at 
Chris? s Death, The purpose of this poem, instead 
of reflecting Mary's soul in a physical symbol, is 
to typify by her grief the proper doctrinal attitude 
toward Christ The method here is very subtle, 
a mere play on words; the first three stanzas 
repeat the formula that since life has departed 
from life, death should take away whatever life 
remains : — 

44 Sith my life from life is parted, 
Death come take thy portion ; 
Who survives when life is raurdred, 
Lives by mere extortion," etc. 1 

The literary merits of Southwell's lyrics are 
intellectual rather than emotional. No matter 
how earnest he is in his subject-matter, the ex- 
pression usually is attractive for its cleverness. 
For example, he finds a new and effective use for 
a title in the poem, A ChUde My CJioyce. 2 It is the 
familiar hymn of praise to Christ, but a certain 
surprise is secured to the subject by the misleading 
title, which is more apt to suggest human affection. 

Southwell's most frequent manner, and most 
unattractive, is in the gnomic or proverbial vein 
already familiar in the moral poems of the miscel- 
lanies. It is recognizable in such titles as Losse 
in Delaye. In these lyrics, if he sometimes be- 
comes imaginative, it is noteworthy that the image 
also is proverbial, as in this very poem : — 
i Ibid,, p. 62. a Ibid., p. 70. 


"Tyme weares all his lockes before, 
Take thy hold upon his forehead ; 
When he flies he turaes no more, 
And behind his scalpe is naked." 1 

When Southwell attempts a subject at once con- 
ventional and yet capable of emotional treatment, 
he is at his best; such a subject he finds in the 
birth of Christ. The poem, New Prince, New 
Pompe, echoes the Middle English theme of the 
Saviour born to poverty ; Southwell comforts 
himself with the old doctrine of humility: — 

" This stable is a Prince's courte, 
This cribb His chair of State." 2 

The best lyric, however, and the best known of 
all Southwell's poems, is the Burning Babe} Per- 
haps it is prized the more because Ben Jonson 
admired it. It has Southwell's characteristic meta- 
physical bent, and his gnomic faculty appears in 
the details of the allegory. But in intensity of 
feeling it is almost unique among his lyrics, and 
in metrical form it represents probably the finest 
use of the septenary in the whole Elizabethan 

The given quotations serve to illustrate South- 
well's lyrical quality and his metrical acquire- 
ments. As has been indicated, he is a new figure 
among Elizabethan lyrists. His poetic gifts are 
few; he might just as well have written all his 
works in prose. But since verse was the medium 

i Complete Poems, p. 76. 2 Ibid., p. 108. 8 Ibid., p. 109. 


in which he chose to express his intense religious 
emotion and his fine intellect, those undoubted 
qualities of heart and mind, even when their 
expression is inadequate, may be accepted for 

In the same year, 1595, appeared Astrophel, a 
collection of elegies by Spenser and others, on Sir 
Philip Sidney. 1 The title poem, which is linked 
with the two following lyrics by narrative sections, 
attempts to raise Sidney's story to the level of a 
myth. The general tone of this narrative-lyric is 
Greek and suggests the Homeric Hymns. Astro- 
phePs genius and accomplishments are described; 
then his popularity among all men, and especially 
the love between him and Stella ; all his songs were 
for her, and all his brave deeds ; while fighting in 
her honor he was killed ; she died of grief ; the gods 
turned them into flowers — Penthia or Starlight, 
and Astrophel. 

The second lyric, supposed to have been written 
by the Countess of Pembroke, is nearer to the 
normal Greek elegy. The woods and sylvan deities 
are invoked to assist in lamentations for Astrophel. 
Then the motive of untimely death is introduced: — 

" What cruell hand of cursed foe unknowne, 
Hath cropt the stalke which bore so faire a flowre ? 
Untimely cropt, before it well were growne, 
And cleane defaced in untimely houre." 2 

Then the elegy returns for a moment to the con- 

i Spenser's Works, p. 669. * Ibid., p. 662. 


templation of Sidney's loss ; who now can sing such 

songs ? Let no one longer rejoice in this life, now 

he is gone. The religious and Platonic tendencies 

of this decade show themselves in an inquiry after 

the dead poet's soul : — 

u But that immortall spirit, which was dekt 
With all the dowries of celestiall grace, 
By soveraine choyce from th' hevenly quires select, 
And lineally derived from Angels race, 
O ! what is now of it become aread. 
Ay me ! can so divine a thing be dead ! 

Ah ! no ; it is not dead, ne can it die 
But lives for aie, in blissful Paradise." l 

The elegy ends with the contemplation of the 
soul receiving its merited reward. 

The third poem, supposed to have been written 
by Lodowick Bryskett, 2 is very ornate in style, but 
its structure is simple. It is divided into four sec- 
tions. In the first, the nymphs are invoked to 
mourn the death of Sidney, taken away like an 
untimely flower. In the second part, Sidney's 
deathbed is described, in which scene several classi- 
cal deities appear ; in the third section is described 
Stella's mourning, and in the fourth, the poet con- 
soles himself with the thought of Sidney's happiness 
in Paradise and of his fame on earth. 3 

The fourth poem, a Pastorall JEglogue* contains 

1 Spenser's Works, p. 562. 2 Ibid., p. 663. 

8 This elegy has acquired a certain position in literature from 
the theory that Milton was influenced by it in writing Lycidas. 
Cf. Guest, English Rhythms, W. W. Skeat, p. 265. 

* Spenser's Works, p. 566. 


a lyrical passage in which the alternate strophes 
are sung by two shepherds. This funeral song 
has but slight lyric development. The first three 
strophes are devoted to the praise of Sidney and 
of Stella, and to pastoral expressions of grief at 
his death. The last strophe finds the same religious 
consolation as the preceding elegies. The remain- 
ing poems in the collection, one by Matthew Royden, 
one by Sir Walter Raleigh, the elegy that we have 
mentioned before, 1 and one by an unknown writer, 
are entirely of the same kind as these examples, 
and need no further discussion. 

In the same year the Amoretti were published, 
with their crowning love-song, the EpithcUamium. 2 
This isplendid poem is considered by many critics 
the foremost of Elizabethan lyrics. It illustrates 
the many-sided tastes of the pastoral lyrists. It is 
idyllic in method ; the emotion is advanced through 
a series of lyric units, each inspired by a separate 
picture. Strictly speaking, each stanza, with its 
own inspiration, is a song in itself, and the com- 
plete poem is a series rather than an organic whole. 
But the lyrical emotion aroused by all the motives 
is the same in every case, so that, in the broad 
sense, it would be difficult to deny unity to the 
poem. In the subject-matter, as well as in the 
emotion, unity is secured by describing the events 
of one day in order from daybreak to midnight. 

Out of the idyllic method come the chief orna- 
1 See above, p. 89. * Works, p. 587. 


ments of the lyric — the many exquisite pictures. 
The poet in his delight turns rapidly from one 
vision to another, and paints what he sees in an 
exclamation. Elaborate in detail as many stanzas 
are, they seem to render their meaning all at once, 
almost in a word ; there is no evidence of labored 
preparation. Perhaps the most charming picture 
is that of the bride before the altar. It is the 
triumph of lyric description; the poet inspires in 
the reader through the picture the very emotion 
that it inspired in him : — 

" Behold, whiles she before the altar stands, 
Hearing the holy priest that to her speakes, 
And blesseth her with his two happy hands, 
How the red roses flush up in her cheekes, 
And the pure snow, with goodly vermill stayne 
Like crimsin dyde in grayne." 1 

The mass of curious erudition in this lyric is 
characteristic of Spenser and his times. The 
wonder is that the singing quality of the lines is 
so little regarded by it. To Spenser the muses 
were indeed " ye learned sisters." He uses astron- 
omy in Chaucer's elaborate fashion to fix the date 
of the wedding-day. He expounds in one winged 
stanza half a dozen points of folk-lore. On classi- 
cal mythology he has ever a ready word ; twenty- 
four deities are mentioned, and their functions 
described; the poet can even stop to enlarge on 
an unfamiliar legend of Diana. 

i Spenser's Works, p. 589. 


This pagan background is made to accord, 
strangely enough, with the thoroughly Christian 
elements in the poem. To mingle the two systems 
was not indeed unusual with Renascence poets, but 
Spenser justifies the use by making the pagan deities 
represent the mystery of nature, and confining the 
Christian system to the expression of the soul ; so 
that there is no conflict. He realizes this pagan 
sense of the mysterious personality in nature best 
in the lovely prayer to the rising moon : — 

" Who is the same, which at my window peepes ; 
Or whose is that f aire face that shines so bright ? 
Is it not Cinthia, she that never sleepes, 
But walkes about high heaven al the night ? 
O ! fayrest goddesse, do thou not envy 
My love with me to spy ; 
For thou likewise didst love," etc. 1 

If each motive in the Epithctiamium be considered 
by itself, it will appear that Spenser has used 
entirely conventional material. The effect of the 
whole, however, is spontaneous. The explanation 
is that the poet has designed situations out of 
which the old motives seem naturally to rise. For 
example, as the poem is the culmination of his 
sonnets, and as a favorite theme in the sonnet- 
series is, as we have seen, the physical description 
of the lady, it is but natural that Spenser should 
have such a description here. He puts new life 
into the theme, however, by describing his mistress 

i Ibid., p. 591. 


at the moment when, after long and impatient wait- 
ing, he catches the first sight of her, dressed for 
her bridal. The extravagant terms of the sonnets, 
"ivory forehead," "cherry lips," and "eyes like 
saphyres," here seem not only excusable but natu- 
ral, because we already understand the poet's love- 
delirium. The elevation of tone is sustained here 
also by the added description of the lady's spiritual 
and mental virtues — the Platonic touch. 

The external form of the Epithalamium is that 
of a rather irregular canzone} Not all the stanzas 
have the same number of lines, but they approxi- 
mate a common form, and the envoy to the bride is 
quite in the spirit of a commiato. In the average 
stanza the only irregularity is an extra short line 
in the second piede; the other parts are quatrains, 
with two lines forming the concatenazione between 
the fronte and the sirima. A good example is the 
eleventh stanza : — 

" But if ye saw that which no eyes can see, 
The inward beauty of her lively spright, 
Garnisht with heavenly guifts of high 

Much more then would ye wonder at that 


And stand astonisht lyke to those which red 

Medusaes mazeful bed. 

There dwels sweet love, and constant 

Unspotted fayth, and comely womanhood, 
Regard of honour, and mild modesty ; 

*Cf. th :iccount of the canzone form, chapter ix. p. 295- 









' There vertue raynes as Queene in royal 

, And giveth lawes alone, 

The which the base affections do obay, 
And yeeld theyr services unto her will ; 
Ne thought of thing uncomely ever may 
Thereto approch to tempt her mind to ill. 

Had ye once seene these her celestial 

And unrevealed pleasures, 
Then would ye wonder, and her praises sing, 
That al the woods should answer, and your 

echo ring." 1 

In 1596 appeared Spenser's Fowre Hymnes and the 
Prothctiamium* The hymns are chiefly important 
for their subject-matter, and belong properly to a 
study of Platonism rather than to a history of the 
lyric. In manner they are narrative or didactic; 
yet their great melody and their personal emotion 
and rapture give them, if not lyric form, at least 
very high lyrical quality. In the Hymne in Honour 
of Love, love is explained to be the principle that 
brought chaos into order, and cradled the world. 
Man, partaking of § heavenly nature, desires the 
heavenly object of love, which is beauty. Love, 
then, the tyrant god, delights in piercing human 
hearts with his arrow, and makes beauty coy, that 
so he may try the loyalty of his servants. The 
poem ends with a description of the paradise to 
which Love admits those of his servants who prove 

* Spenser's Works, p. 588. * Ibid., p. 592. 



The Hymne in Honour of Beautie x is devoted to 
the praise of this Platonic conception of the ob- 
ject of love. In fashioning the world, the Creator 
had before him a pattern, an ideal. Wherever 
that ideal appears, it is what we call beauty. It 
is to beauty in this sense that true love dedicates 
itself; the attraction of earthy color and charm, 
fair lips and bright eyes, is too transitory to hold 
the eternal affections of the soul. The souls that 
have most divine beauty acquire outward beauty in 
their bodies : — 

" For of the soule the bodie forme doth take ; 
For soule is forme, and doth the bodie make." fl 

The two exceptions to this law are recognized; 
sometimes a fair soul inhabits a deformed body, 
and sometimes a fair body is abused in sin. It 
follows that all true lovers should be faithful to 
the original pattern or ideal. For each lover a 
companion is foreordained: — 

44 For Love is a celestiall harmonie 
Of likely harts composed of starres consent, 
Which joyne together in sweete sympathie, 
To worke ech others joy and true content, 
Which they have harbourd since their first descent 
Out of the heavenly bowres where they did see 
And know each other here beloved to bee." 8 

The poem ends with a prayer to Love and Venus, 
to assist the poet in winning her whose " conquer- 
ing beautie " has taken captive his heart. 

1 Spenser's Works, p. 596. 2 Ibid., p. 597. » Ibid., p. 598. 


In the Hymne of Heavenly Love 1 the poet applies 
the same poetic method and the same Platonic 
theories to spiritual love, as before he had applied 
to human passion. He tells how, in the beginning, 
God, enamored of His own beauty, begot the 
other persons of the Trinity; then, of the same 
love, He created the angels; after they rebelled, 
He created man to fill their place; then, after 
man too had fallen, He redeemed him with the 
sacrifice of Christ. The poet then exhorts men 
to follow this example of unselfish love. 

The Hymne of Heavenly Beautie 2 is the least suc- 
cessful of the four lyrics. Its object is too sub- 
lime even for Spenser's lofty mood, and in the 
attempt to indicate his fine conceptions, he takes 
all but trained scholastic minds out of their depth. 
The poem is more intellectual and less lyrical in 
quality than the other three. The firmament is 
taken as the first type of divine beauty ; then, in 
the next grade, the sun and moon are contemplated ; 
then the unseen stars, and the borders of that 
heaven wherein dwells the First Cause; then the 
habitation of human souls in bliss ; then the region 
of ideas, in the Platonic sense, and of pure intelli- 
gence; then through still higher conceptions of 
beauty the poet contemplates the image of God 

The Prothalamium,* published the same year, 
was written in honor of the double wedding of the 
i Ibid., p. 599. « Ibid., p. 602. * Ibid., p. 606. 


Earl of Worcester's daughters, Lady Elizabeth and 
Lady Katherine. This song, from the nature of its 
subject, suggests comparison with the Epithala- 
mium. It is written in a similar stanza, approxi- 
mating the Italian canzone, though lacking the 
cOmmiato. It is complimentary rather than passion- 
ate in tone, having none of the spontaneity with 
which the poet greeted his own marriage day. The 
pictures, in the same idyllic manner, are carefully 
elaborated, and the carefulness is perceptible. The 
structure of the poem is narrative rather than lyric. 
The poet, standing on the banks of the Thames, 
sees a group of nymphs gathering posies. While 
he watches them, two swans of marvellous white- 
ness come down the river. The nymphs greet the 
birds with delight, strewing their flowers on the 
water, and crowning the swans with garlands. One 
of the nymphs greets them with a wedding-song — 
the poet's device for a direct complimentary ad- 
dress. Then the birds prdbeed to the Earl of Som- 
erset's castle on the Thames, where they are met 
and wedded by the bridegrooms. There is a re- 
markable blending of imagery and realistic scenery 
in the quick transition from the nymphs and the 
allegorical swans to the minute account of the 
London water-front. 

In 1598 appeared Barnfield's Encomium of Lady 
Pecunia, a humorous praise of money. 1 The slight- 
ness of the subject removes the lyric from serious 
i Illustrations of Old Eng. Lit., J. Payne Collier, 1866. 


consideration, but the technic in all its details is 
beautiful. The punning style used throughout is 
well illustrated by the third stanza : — 

"You, you alone can make my muse to speake, 
And tell a golden tale, with silver tongue ; 
You only can my pleasing silence break, 

And add some music to a merry songue ; 
Bat amongst all the five, in music's art, 
I worst can brook the counter tenor's part." 

There is the customary compliment to the Queen; 
if Pecunia is " queen of harts/' Eliza is queen of 
diamonds. In the second edition of the poem, in 
1605, this passage is converted into a praise of the 
new king. The one serious note in the poem is an 
echo of the Reformation ; in the thirteenth stanza 
sarcastic reference is made to the sale of pardons 
by the Pope. 

In 1599 William Jaggard, a noted pirate pub- 
lisher, printed a volume of twenty poems under 
the title, The Passionate Pilgrim, by W. Shakespeare. 1 
Only five of the poems, however, were by the great 
poet, and those were published without his consent. 
He was " much offended " with Jaggard, and prob- 
ably expressed himself to some purpose, for his 
name was removed from a few copies. 2 The book 
is really a miscellany, but it has its proper place in 
this chapter because its subject-matter is character- 
istic of the sonnet-period. Shakspere's contributions 
include three poems from Love's Labour's Lost and 

i Works , Cambridge Edition, Wm. Alois Wright, ix. p. 396. 
* Sidney Lee, p. 182. 


two sonnets. The most important of the five is the 
sonnet now numbered one hundred and forty four 
— "Two loves I have of comfort and despair." 
Barnfield is represented by two selections, of which 
the sonnet on Dowland and Spenser was long 
thought to be by Stiakspere: — 

44 If music and sweet poetry agree, 
As they most needs, the sister and the brother, 
Then must the love be great 'twixt thee and me, 
Because thou lov'st the one and I the other. 
Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch 
Upon the lute doth ravish human sense ; 
Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such, 
As, passing all conceit, needs no defense," etc. 

Barnfield's other lyric, " As it fell upon a day," 1 
is a charming variation of an old song-convention. 
Instead of overhearing a lover bemoaning his fate, 
the poet hearkens to the nightingale, who teaches 
him how a true friend may be told from a false. 
The theme recalls the moral poems .of the miscel- 
lanies. The test of friendship^ is a reverse of 
fortune : — 

" But if Fortune once do frown, 
Then farewell his great renown ; 
They that fawned on him before, 
Use his company no more. 
He that is thy friend indeed, 
He will help thee in thy need." 

Bartholomew Griffin is represented by a garbled 
version of a sonnet from Fidessa, on the subject of 

1 Shakspere's Works, ix. p. 412. 


Venus and Adonis. This theme reappears in some 
of the anonymous poems of the volume. 

Undoubtedly the best lyric in the Passionate 
Pilgrim is Marlowe's " Come live with me." * It is 
a perfect example of Elizabethan song. It has its 
literary sources in the pastoral period soon coming 
to a close, and its distinction is that it expresses 
faithfully a sincere mood through the most unreal 
images of this unreal convention. Within its short 
compass it includes all the furniture of the Italian- 
ate Elizabethan idyl — mountains and valleys in a 
theatrical " set piece," immovable shepherds feed- 
ing their motionless flocks by the arrested fall of 
the river. The poet promises this landscape to his 
love, and gifts — a bed of roses, a wreath of flowers, 
a gown clasped with amber and coral. No gift so 
rich had that earlier shepherd for Amaryllis — 
"Lo, ten apples I bring thee, plucked from that 
very place where thou didst bid me pluck them, 
and others to-morrow I will bring thee." 2 Marlowe's 
conception of the pastoral is as remote as possible 
from Theocritus's realism. But, perhaps because 
the convention is so frankly accepted, it does not 
detract from the fundamental sincerity of the poem. 

1 Ibid., p. 411. This famous lyric conies to us with an 
interesting history. In the Passionate Pilgrim it lacks the 
fourth and sixth stanzas, and is anonymous. It appears com- 
plete and signed " C. Marlowe" in England's Helicon, which 
also contains the famous reply to it by Sir Walter Raleigh. 
The second edition of the Complete Angler quotes it with an 
additional stanza. 

2 Theocritus, Idyll iii, Lang, p. 20. 


None of Shakspere's spring-songs, in spite of their 
English realism, are fresher, brighter, or happier in 
mood. In one respect the song suggests Herrick 
and the Greek Anthology ; it achieves a beauty of 
mere expression that is durable — aere perennius; 
the language into which the pastoral mood is 
crystallized seems proof against time's changes of 
thought and taste. 

Francis Thynne's Emblems and Epigrammes, 1600, 
contains, among a mass of poor writing, one inter- 
esting poem, which suggests in tone later minor 
poets such as Marvell. The affection of a recluse 
for literature, and the personal appreciation of it, is 
remarkable for so early a poem. It is called The Ivy. 

" Thow Bacchus plant, which alwaies greene dost springe, 
Poets reward, and glorie of their penn, 
The touchstone of wyne which to the sprite doth bringe 
A quickening force to rouse the will of menn, 
Why dost thow clime my house so spreadingly, 
And yield thy sacred budds so frutefullie ? 

In vaine thow doest ascend these rurall tyles 
Which profound Virgill never yet behelde, 
Nor wanton Ovid, whose rare poem compyles 
Strange changed shapes which abstruse science yeald, 
Nor wittie Flaccus did hange his harpe here, 
Nor doth Tibullus gold in this appere. 

For in this cottage rurall muse doth reste ; 

Here dwelleth Cherill, and Topas the knighte ; 

Pore oten ryine is onlie here exprest, 

Nor helicon verse or muse of rare delight ; 

But since thou hast this misticke wall adorned, 

Doe flourish longe, all though ray verse be scorned." * 

i Early Eng. Text Soc, lxiv. p. 82. 


In 1602 appeared Thomas Campion's Observations 
in tJie Art of English Poesy, 1 the famous pamphlet in 
which this graceful Elizabethan rimer advocated a 
return to classical quantitative verse. He illus- 
trated his proposed rhythms with original experi- 
ments, which in all but one case are no less 
unhappy than most quantitative poems in English. 
The one exception, however, illustrating a trochaic 
strophe, deserves to be quoted here as an example, 
not only of graceful melody, but of perfect lyrical 
form. The motive — Laura's beauty — is intro- 
duced in the first words, developed through an 
Elizabethan " conceit " of human beauty in general, 
and closed with a philosophic contemplation of 
perfect beauty in the abstract : — 

" Rose-cheeked Laura, come ; 
Sing thou smoothly with thy beauty's 
Silent music, either other 

Sweetly gracing. 

Lovely forms do flow 
From concent divinely framed ; 
Heaven is music, and thy beauty's 
Birth is heavenly. 

These dull notes we sing 

Discords need for helps to grace them, 

Only beauty purely loving 

Knows no discord, 

But still moves delight, 
Like clear springs renewed by flowing, 
Ever perfect, ever in them- 
selves eternal.* 12 

i Works, A. H. Bullen. » Ibid., p. 25*. 


About the year 1605 appeared Drayton's Poemes 

Lyriek and PastoraM, 1 containing the splendid ode 

on the battle of Agincourt. This poem, like the 

Battle of Bnmanburh, and like some of Minot's 

songs, is remarkable for its choric quality; the 

voice of the whole people is heard in it. In 

modern English literature it has hardly a parallel 

as a national song, with the possible exception of 

some of Campbell's odes, and Tennyson's Charge 

of the Light Brigade. Tennyson may have been 

influenced by Drayton. Their two battle-songs 

have almost the same narrative method, almost the 

same rhythm, and exactly the same cadence at the 

end : — 

" On happy Crispin day 
Fought was this noble fray, 
Which fame did not delay 

To England to carry ; 
O when shall Englishmen, 
With such acts fill a pen ? 
Or England breed again 

Such a King Harry ? " 

To the year 1612 belongs George Chapman's 
Hymn to Hymen, a wedding-song in honor of the 
Princess Elizabeth. The poem was published along 
with Nat. Field's A Woman is a Weathercock. 2 Like 
all of Chapman's lyrics, it is rather conventional. 
It has no sense of such lyric form as we have found 
in Spenser's Epithalamium, nor has it any real 

1 The Spenser Society Publications, new series, iv. 1891, p. 32. 

2 Chapman's Works, Chatto & Windus, 1875, p. 176. 


motive other than the desire to compliment the 
princess. It praises in formal terms the sacred 
institution of marriage, and then adds good wishes 
for the prosperity of the bridal couple. The same 
general criticism applies to Chapman's JEpicedium, 
of the same year, 1 — a funeral-song on the death of 
Prince Henry. This rather elaborate lyric is over- 
weighted by allegory and narrative; there is no 
direct expression of grief at all. It must always 
remain a puzzle that Chapman, writing so late, and 
doubtless acquainted with good models, both classi- 
cal and contemporary, should in these lyrics, or in 
his other work, adopt the worn-out literary methods 
of the preceding century. There is no more lyrical 
ability shown in this funeral-song than in the ordi- 
nary epitaphs of the miscellanies. 2 

In 1613 appeared the first part of William 
Browne's Britannia's Pastorals. 9 This is an imita- 
tion of the Shepheards Calender, a series of eclogues 
containing occasional lyrics. With all allowance 
for Browne's inferior gifts, a comparison of this 

l Ibid., p. 163. 

a The deaths of Sir Philip Sidney, Queen Elizabeth, and 
Prince Henry called forth a profusion of funeral poems. The 
quality of these effusions was very poor indeed. Mr. Churton 
Collins, in his edition of Cyril Tourneur's Plays and Poems 
(p. xxviii), mentions a number of elegies inspired by Prince 
Henry's death. The author has been furnished with a list of 
some twenty more, and if the poems on Sidney and Elizabeth 
were added, the total would be most formidable. But the 
entire mass contains no lyric of merit, and there is no excuse 
here for their further mention. 

• Poems, Gordon Goodwin, The Muses Library, 1894. 


book with its Spenserian model, or with Drayton's 
SJiepheards Garland, will show that the strict pas- 
toral convention is already out of date. The mood 
seems antiquated. The lyrics express old themes; 
they have little emotional force, and the skill shown 
in their technic is small. In the first eclogue there 
is a song on the uncertainty of life. It represents 
that familiar moral strain, characteristic of Renas- 
cence poetry and peculiarly dear to the English 
temperament, which we have already noticed in the 
miscellanies: — 

" What's that, compact of earth, infused with air ; 
A certain made full with uncertainties ; 
Swayed by the motion of each several sphere ; 
Who's fed with nought but infelicities ; " etc. 1 

The third eclogue has a lyric in which one shepherd 
questions another, who is in love. This old dia- 
logue theme dates back to the beginning of pastoral 
verse ; it is the motive of the tenth idyl of Theocri- 
tus. In Browne's version the situation is handled 
rather listlessly, as if it were too familiar to exer- 
cise spontaneous charm : — 

" A. Fie, Shepherd's swain, why sit'st thou all alone, 

Whilst other lads are sporting on the leys? 

B. Joy may have company, but grief hath none ; 

Where pleasures never came, sports cannot please," etc. 2 

The fifth eclogue has a dirge for Prince Henry. 
The poem is in no formal sense an elegy ; it lacks 
the Greek development of theme, and it expresses 

i Poems, i. p. 53. » Ibid., i. p. 90. 


few of the typical elegiac motives. It is conven- 
tionally respectful in its attitude of sorrow, and 
when it becomes imaginative, the image is usually 
fantastic, as in the statement that " Hope lay bed- 
rid, and all pleasures dying." x 

Browne's other writings that come within the 
date selected as the limit of this study, may as well 
be considered here. In 1614 he published his 
Shepherd? 8 Pipe, a collection of eclogues similar to 
his better known pastorals. The lyrics contained 
in it are of very mediocre quality. Only one, an 
elegy on the poet's friend, Thomas Manwood, needs 
passing notice. The elegiac consolation is reli- 
gious ; the friend has outstripped his comrades and 
reached the harbor of bliss early, because he was 
best fitted for the voyage of life. 2 

In 1616 the second part of Britannia? 8 Pastorals 
was published. It contains but one lyric of any 
importance. In the second eclogue is a graceful 
rendering of the myth of Adonis. The theme 
takes us back to the poets of the sixteenth century, 
but the lightness of execution is more suggestive 
of the new song-writers, like Campion : — 

" Venus by Adonis 1 side 
Crying kissed and kissing cried, 
Wrung her hands and tore her hair 
For Adonis dying there," etc. 8 

In the third eclogue of the first part of the pas- 
torals is a song on the carpe diem theme, of that 
i Ibid., i. p. 142. * Ibid., ii. p. 139. • Ibid., i. p. 232. 



thoughtful Kenascence mood that Spenser intro- 
duced into his Bower of Bliss. It is considered last 
because it illustrates the most typical transition of 
the period. From Spenser's song to the even more 
famous " Gather ye roses/' of Herrick, the theme 
undergoes a significant change of tone. In Tasso 
and in Spenser, his imitator in this song, the mood 
is contemplative and sad; the poet is thinking of 
the shortness of life, of the roses that have per- 
ished, rather than of the present flowers that he 
bids gather ; in Spenser's words : — 

" So passeth, in the passing of a day, 
Of mortall life, the leafe, the bud, the flowre ; 
Ne more doth florish after first decay, 
That earst was sought to deck both bed and bowre 
Of many a lady, and many a Paramoure. 
Gather therefore the Rose," etc. 1 

In Herrick's familiar song this deep mood has 
disappeared. The pathos of life is not felt, and 
the theme passes out of its brooding into a 
light-hearted summons to enjoy the passing hour. 
Browne's version stands in between, with some- 
thing of the early thoughtfulness, and yet with the 
lighter manner that was becoming fashionable : — 

u Gentle nymphs, be not refusing, 
Love's neglect is time's abusing, 

They and beauty are but lent you. 
Take the one and keep the other ; 
Love keeps fresh what age doth smother ; 
Beauty gone you will repent you." 2 

1 Spenser's Works, p. 153. a Browne's Poems, i. p. 98. 



The last and most characteristic phase of lyric 
composition in the Elizabethan period was the 
large body of songs for music, published under the 
titles of madrigals and airs. The term "Eliza- 
bethan," applied to lyrics, suggests to most people 
the qualities of these songs — shortness, and per- 
haps, as a consequence, emotional instead of narra- 
tive treatment, and great verbal melody. This 
" singing " quality has often been attributed to 
the musical atmosphere in which the songs were 
composed ; the historians of literature usually state 
that the original close relation between the tunes 
and the words is the cause of the musical sugges- 
tion which the words undoubtedly possess. This 
explanation is founded on a misunderstanding of 
the condition of Elizabethan music, which had little 
of those qualities of rhythm and lightness that 
the critics try to explain. It is true, however, 
that this large number of songs for music was 
called out by a musical fashion. Though one of 
the slowest arts to develop, music had its share 
of the impulse of the Renascence and the Eef ormar 


From John Morley's Madrigals to Four Voices, 1594. 
Reprinted in full in Hawkins's History of Music, iii. p. 350. 

Be - sides a foun 


be- sides a foun - taine of 




Be - sides a foun - taine, 

be- sides a foun - 





sides a foun - taine, be- sides a 

Be - sides a foun - taine, 




taine of sweet brier and ro- ses, heard I two lov-ers 

gE»E |^=£= feEB 3 


foun - taine of sweet brier and ro 

'| ^=g^ 

ses, heard I two 

heard I two lovers 


z*-t— 1~. 

lov - ers talk in sweet and wan - - ton glo 

talk in sweet and wan - ton glo 

=gz =zg :=rps I ^ > \^^-= =r- 

— I 1 Fh- <s> -- f* — t=L ~ 


objlt. vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 209 

tion, and in England its flowering happened to 
coincide with a period of great literary activity. 
The people wished to sing the new madrigal music 
from Italy ; the majority of them, however, were 
not entirely at home with the Italian words; it 
was but natural that ready lyrists should fit Eng- 
lish words to the new music. This was exactly 
the origin of the first madrigal book, Musica Trans- 
alpina, 1588, by Nicholas Younge. It contained 
fifty-seven Italian madrigals with English para- 
phrases. If any further proof were needed that 
the development of music and of poetry is not 
identical, it might be noted that in Italy, where 
the madrigal music was first developed, its use 
produced no such lyrics as in England. 

We have already used the term " madrigal." It 
has frequently led literary critics astray, because 
of its use in music as well as in literature. It is 
most familiar as the name of a strict Italian stanza- 
form, which will be considered later. To the Eliza- 
bethans, however, the madrigal was a musical form, 
a particular kind of part-song. When the critic, 
therefore, looking over a short, irregular lyric 
labelled " madrigal," says that the term is loosely 
applied, he does not consider that the music to 
which that lyric was set was a strict madrigal. 

The history of this musical form, which domi- 
nates the first part of the song-book period, is 
bound up with the Kenascence and with the Kefor- 
mation. The music of culture was the music of 


the church; the secularization that accompanied 
these adventurous times, was in this art at first 
satisfied with setting the strict church music to 
secular words. The result of this first step out 
of the religious province was the madrigal. The 
music was of the kind illustrated to most people 
by the works of Palestrina. It was polyphonic; 
that is, instead of having one melody, harmonized 
by other voice-parts, all the parts were of equal 
importance, and, following the rules of counter- 
point and fugue-writing, took up the theme in turn. 
The effect of such music is very smooth and sus- 
tained, but it lacks the regular shocks of rhythm 
and the melodic definiteness to which a modern 
ear is accustomed. The enjoyment of it is intel- 
lectual rather than emotional. It was to such 
music that the dainty and joyous lyrics of the 
first song-books were set. In the words of the 
latest musical historian : " Genuine madrigals were 
written on the same polyphonic principles as church 
music, and many of them were as serious in style. A 
self-respecting composer would hardly venture fur- 
ther in the direction of secular style than a little 
relaxation of the rigid observance of the rules of 
the modes and the high grammatical orthodoxies, 
and a little gaiety and definiteness in melodious 
and lively passages. No doubt madrigals became 
contaminated before the end of the sixteenth cen- 
tury, for secularity was in the air. But the system 
upon which they were based, and the subtleties of 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 211 

art which were the pride of their composers, were 
not capable of being applied in real, undisguised 
secular music." * 

The madrigal was written for at least two 
voices, usually for four or five. It never contained 
more than one musical movement, and therefore 
had shortness and unity of form. These last 
qualities had great influence upon the lyric; for 
in order to set words to such music, the English 
poet had to achieve a terseness and brevity of 
expression which was in direct contrast with the 
diffuse pastoral school. The Italian musicians had 
ready to their hand two literary forms admirably 
adapted to their purpose — the literary madrigal 
and the rispetto. The madrigal was a very short 
idyl, a picture poem, from six to ten lines long. 
In its shortest form it consisted of two triplets; 
to these might be added one or two couplets. A 
good illustration may be taken from Musica Trans- 
alpina, published in 1597: — 

"Nel piu fiorit' Aprile, 

All hor che i vaghi augelli, 
Di sopra gl' arboscelli : 
Cantano in vario suon dolce e gentile. 
A gara ancor con lor cantava Clori, 
Di lei e del suo Elpin i dolci amori." a 

In the song-book the English rendering shows a 

1 The Oxford History of Music, iii ; the Music of the Seven- 
teenth Century, C. Hubert H. Parry, 1902, p. 6. 

2 Musa Madrigalesca, Thomas Oliphant, London, 1837, 
p. 56. 


faithful imitation of every syllable, in order not to 
disturb the phrases of the music : — 
" In flower of April springing, 

When pleasant birds to sport them, 
Among the woods consort them ; 
Warbling with cheerful notes and sweetly singing, 
For joy Clora the fair her song was chaunting, 
Of her, and her Elpine, the sweet loves vaunting." * 

The rispetto was a literary development of a pop- 
ular form. 2 Its subject was some phase of love. 
In form it was less variable than the madrigal, 
having six lines on two alternate rimes, followed 
by a final couplet. A typical example is from 
Musica Transalpine!,, Book I., 1588 : — 

44 Chi salira per me, Madonn' in Cielo, 

A riportarm' il mio perdut' ingegno ? 
Che poi ch' usci di bei vostr' occh' il telo, 

Ch' il cor mi fisse ognor perdendo vegno ; 
Ne di tanta jattura mi querelo 

Pur che non cresca, ma stia a questra segno, 
Ch' io dubito se piu se va scemando, 
Che stolto me n'andrb pe '1 mond' errando." 8 

The translation in the song-book is more faith- 
ful, but hardly more felicitous, than the paraphrase 
of the madrigal: — 

44 Who will ascend to Heav'n and there obtain me 
My wits forlorn and silly sense decayed ? 
For since I took my wound that sore did pain me 
From your fair eyes, my spirits are all dismayed, 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 66. 

2 Translations of a number of rispetti may be found in Popu- 
lar Songs of Tuscany, an essay by J. A. Symonds, in his 
Sketches and Studies in Southern Europe, 1880, i. p. 228. 

8 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 43. 

yh.] THE SONG-BOOKS 213 

Nor of so great a loss do I complain me, 
If it increase not but in bounds be stayed ; 
Tet if I still grow worse, I shall be lotted 
To wander thro 9 the world, fond and assorted." 1 

With such forms as these forced upon them as 
models by the demands of the music, it is but 
natural that the English poets should have pro- 
duced a new kind of lyric. This fresh fashion of 
song can best be appreciated by a chronological 
survey of the song-books themselves. 

Among the first was William Byrd's Psalmes, 
Sonnets and Songs of Sadness and Pietie, 1588. 2 
Byrd was a well-known church musician and 
brought to the writing of these madrigals not only 
the methods of church music, but a fondness for 
serious and moral lyrics. In the choice of words 
for his songs he showed excellent literary taste; 
many of them reappeared as poems in England 1 s 
Helicon. The madrigals, which were thirty-five in 
number, and written for five voices, had the charac- 
teristic shortness of their form. Some of the poems 
fitted to them, however, are rather long. Byrd 
makes the best of the matter by using half the 
poem for one madrigal and half for another. A 
poem so treated is Sir Edward Dyer's "My mind 
to me a kingdom is." 8 This lyric, together with the 
praise of a quiet life already noticed in England's 
Helicon, "What pleasures have great princes/' 4 is 

i Ibid., p. 42. 8 Ibid., p. 6. 

*IMd.,p.3. *i&id.,p.8. 


typical of the subject-matter which Byrd chose 
for his songs. His literary ideals were always 
those of the miscellanies; his last publication in 
1611 shows little influence of the more cheerful 
kind of lyric then fashionable. In one song, 
" Farewell, false love ! the oracle of lies ! " 1 he 
uses the work of Thomas Deloney, the most cele- 
brated popular street-ballad writer of the period. 
But most curious of all, as showing the utter 
independence of meter and musical rhythm in 
these madrigals, is the setting of eight lines of 
Ovid's epistle from Penelope to Ulysses, translated 
with terrible literalness into English hexameters. 

In the same year that Byrd published this book 
of madrigals, set to themes already somewhat old- 
fashioned, Nicholas Younge published the first 
part of his Musica Transalpina. 2 This was a 
collection of fifty-seven popular Italian madrigals, 
Composed for four, five, or six voices, and set to 
English paraphrases of the original words.* In the 
dedicatory epistle, Younge explains that many of 
his friends who delighted in the new Italian music 
were nevertheless hindered in its use by the Italian 
poems to which they were set. One ingenious 
musician, however, paraphrased some of the songs 
with such symmetry that the English version 
answered syllable for syllable to the original; so 
that the performance of the music — evidently the 
translator's only concern — was not disturbed. 
1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 12. 2 ibid., p. 38. 

vii.] THE SONG^-BOOKS 215 

Younge saw the practical value of such literary 
tinkering, and published this first collection. The 
name of the translator or paraphraser has not been 

The literary quality of these songs is wretched. 
In the attempt to preserve the original meter, and 
especially the Italian feminine rhymes, the trans- 
lator turned out one monstrosity after another. 
One song opens in the original with the verses : — 

" lo morirb d' am ore ; 
S' al mio scampo non vien sdegno e furore." 

This movement reappears in English : — 

" I will go die of pure love ; 
Except rage and disdain come to recure love ; " l 

The value of the book, however, is that it familiar- 
ized musicians and poets alike with the advantages 
of the short Italian songs for this kind of music. 
The literary value of the Italian originals was but/ 
slight, tad the English lyrists needed but acquaint- 
ance with the model in order to surpass it. 

In 1589 Byrd published his second book, Songs 
of Sundry Natures. 2 This was a collection of forty- 
seven madrigals, for three, four, five, or six parts. 
In his address to the reader, the composer bears 
witness to the sudden popularity of madrigal 
music: "Finding that my last impression of 
Musicke (most gentle reader) through thy courtesie 
and favour, hath had good passage and utterance ; 

l Ibid., p. 46. a Ibid., p. 20. 


and that since the publishing thereof, the exer- 
cise and love of that art hath exceedingly increased ; 
I have been encouraged thereby," etc. 1 

The lyrics in this book are of the same general 
moral tendency as in Byrd's first publication. The 
number of love-songs, however, is on the increase. 
Perhaps the change is due to the influence of such- 
subjects in Musica Transalpine!,, of the year before. 
Byrd is still embarrassed by the length of his 
poems. In one case he uses but the first quatrain 
of a sonnet, 2 of which the remainder was afterward 
set by Thomas Bateson. The one lyric in the 
volume that has taken a .high place among the 
songs of this period is the pastoral dialogue be- 
tween a shepherd and his friend : — 

44 A. Who made thee, Hob, forsake the plough 
And fall in love ? 
B. Sweet beauty, which hath power to bow 
The Gods above, etc." 8 

In 1590 Thomas Watson, the author of the Heka- 
tompathia, published a volume of Italian madrigals 
with English translations. The same fidelity to the 
music rather than to the words, which has been 
noticed in Musica Transalpina, is here announced 
in the title, Italian Madrigals Englished, not to the 
sense of the original ditty, but after the affection of the 
note} This was a small collection of only twenty- 
eight madrigals. Besides the paraphrases from the 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 21. 8 Ibid., p. 29. 

* Ibid., p. 24. *Ibid., p. 58. 

til] THE SONG-BOOKS 217 

Italian, it contained several adaptations of English 
words to the music. The paraphrases are very- 
poor ; their only interest is in the short madrigal 
form which they are forced by the music to adopt. 
The original English adaptations are a little better, 
But they are strangely inferior in technic to Wat- 
son's sonnets. Perhaps the demands of the music 
hampered* him. The only interest of these original 
pieces is in their occasional reference to contempo- 
rary events, as in the verse on the death of Sir 
Francis Walsingham, Sidney's father-in-law : — 

" The Fates, alas ! too cruel, 
Have slain before his day Diana's chiefest jewel. 
But worthy Melibceus in a moment, 
With Astrophel is placed above the firmament. 
Oh 1 they both live in pleasure 
Where joys exceed all measure." * 

In 1593 appeared Thomas Morley's Canzonets, or 
Little Short Songs to Three Voices. This is a small 
collection of twenty madrigals. Morley was a pupil 
of Byrd, and enjoyed a wide reputation as a schol- 
arly musician. With his own profession he is best 
known for a treatise on music. The lyrics in his 
first song-book are generally short, of the madrigal 
type. They are very interesting as illustrating two 
directions in which the literary madrigal was devel- 
oped by the English poets. On the one hand it 
lent itself to idyllic treatment ; it tended to express 
a single exquisite picture, finished like a cameo, 

ij&ic*.,p. 62: 


whose subject, originally a pastoral incident, in 
time was taken from any region of life. In Mor- 
ley's book the transition to this form is well illus- 
trated by the madrigal : — 

" See, see, mine own sweet Jewell, 
What I have for my darling ; 
A robin redbreast and a starling ; 
Both these I give in hope to move thee t 
And yet thou say est, I do not love thee ! " * 

The other tendency of the madrigal was toward 
epigram. Perhaps because of Wyatt's example in 
TotteVs Miscellany, short lyrics in the Elizabethan 
period were often touched with the epigrammatic 
quality. The madrigal, ending like the English 
sonnet, in a couplet, offered every temptation to 
this intellectual mannerism. An example from 
Morley shows this tendency in its beginning: — 

" Do you not know how Love first lost his seeing ; 

Because with me once gazing 
On those feir eyes, where all powers have their being ; 

She with her beauty blazing, 
Which death might have revived, 
Him of his sight, me of my heart deprived.' ' 2 

In 1594 Morley published his second book, Mad- 
rigals to Four Voices. This collection, also, contained 
twenty madrigals. The epigrammatic development 
of the form is illustrated by several examples, but 
the book as a whole is interesting for two other 
kinds of song. The first is an imitation of the old 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 65. 2 Ibid., p. 68. 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 219 

French romances, short pastorals enclosing a lyric. 
A fair example would be : — 

" In dew of roses steeping 
Her lovely cheeks, Lycoris sat a weeping. 
Ah Doris false 1 thou hast my heart bereft me, 
And now unkind hast left me. 
Hear me, alas 1 cannot my beauty move thee ? 
Pity me then, because I love thee. 
Ah me! thou scorn'st, the more I pray thee; 
And this thou doest all to slay me ; 
Kill me then, cruel, kill and vaunt thee, 
But my dreary ghost shall haunt thee." 1 

Several lyrics of this class in England's Helicon 
are quoted from Morley's book. It is fairly plain 
that the pastoral element in the illustration is de- 
rived from the decorative, elaborate conventions 
of romances like the Arcadia. The very name of 
the shepherdess becomes characteristic of these 
highly conventional idyls, as it already was of the 
prose pastoral. 

The other class of lyrics in this volume that 
have the interest of novelty are the descriptions of 
dances. They are not properly lyrics, either in 
quality or in form ; their purpose is to portray a 
dancing scene. Some examples are purely conven- . 
tional — pastoral backgrounds with shepherds and 
shepherdesses treading graceful measures. But 
there are also realistic pictures, as in the curious 
description of the Morris dance : — 

i Ibid., p. 74. 


" Ho ! who comes there with bagpiping and drumming? 
0, 'tis, I see, the Morris dance a coming. 

Soft, not away so fast ; dost see they melt them ; 
Out there, stand out ; you come too far (I say) in, 
And give the hobby-horse more room to play in." x 

This song of the dance brings us naturally to 
Morley's third book, published in 1595, Ballets to 
Five Voices. The twenty-one madrigals here col- 
lected have Italian words with English translations 
and paraphrases. Almost all have a dance refrain, 
" Fa la, la," and their themes deal largely with the 
season of spring and the joy of life. Many of 
them, such as the familiar, — 

" Now is the month of Maying, 
When merry lads are playing, 1 ' 2 

have a far higher literary value than the lyrics of 

the preceding books. The best poem is Lodge's 

graceful song, noticed before: — , 

" My bonny lass, thine eye 
So sly, 
Hath made me sorrow so. " 8 

Most of these dance-songs, however, have a narra- 
tive introduction; no matter how short they are, 
they incline to be idyls with an inserted lyric. 
They have the intaglio quality of the idyllic madri- 
gal, a reminder of the clear beauty found in the 
poems of the Greek Anthology. A good example 
is the song : — 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 79. 2 Ibid., p. 86. 

s English Madrigals, F. A. Cox, 1899, p. 98. 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 221 

44 Singing alone sat my sweet Amaryllis, 
The satyrs danced all with joy surprised ; 
Was never yet such dainty sport devised. 

Fa la, la. 

Come, love, again, sang she, to thy beloved ; 
Alas ! what fear'st thou? Will I not persfiver? 
Yes, thou art mine, and I am thine forever. 

Fa la, la." i 

Morley's Canzonets to Two Voices, published 1595, 
contains but twelve songs, and they are too 
^•poor in quality to deserve comment. The words 
are paraphrases from the Italian, and Oliphant 
accused Morley of plagiarizing the music. 2 His 
Canzonets, or Little Short Aers, two years later, are 
much better. The lyrics consist of epigrammatic 
madrigals and of ornate love-pastorals. In one 
case the humorous epigram appears; the illustra- 
tion has no literary value, but it marks a new and 
important treatment of the madrigal : — 

44 Love's folk in green arraying, 
At Barley-break were playing, 
Laura in Hell was caught, 
Then O how Dorus laught ! 
And said, good mistress, sith you 
Will needs thither, have with you." 8 

The other songs illustrate decorative treatment 
of the madrigal; in one, the old motive of the 
lover's sorrow in springtime is presented with 
great luxury of phrase. 

In the same year, 1597, George Kirbye published 
* Musa Madrigalesca, p. 88. * Ibid., p. 93. « ma., p. 98. 


a set of twenty-four madrigals. This collection is 
of rather ordinary literary merit, but it contains a 
setting of two stanzas of the dirge in Spenser's 
Eleventh Eclogue. 1 The character of the words 
seems to have been more or less unimportant to 
the madrigal composer, so long as they were of the 
right length. From this time on quotations from 
successful poems are frequently used as substitutes 
for the true madrigal form. Of course, where the 
quotation is from a long lyric, as in this case, and 
where each stanza is set as a separate madrigal, 
all sense of lyric form is lost. The other songs in 
this volume are of the short epigrammatic type. 

In this year appeared the second part of Musica 
Transalpina, edited by Nicholas Younge. This col- 
lection of twenty-four madrigals has some very 
interesting songs. The best is probably the de- 
scription of a " dark lady," which in its choice of 
complexions follows Shakspere and the sonneteers. 
It is very close to the example already quoted 
from Theocritus: — 

44 Brown is my love, but graceful ; 
And each renowned whiteness 

Matched with her lovely brown, loseth its brightness. 
Fair is my love, but scornful ; 
Yet have I seen despised 
Dainty white lilies, and sad flowers well prized." 2 

The other madrigals are of the same ornate Italian 
style. The translations from the original versions 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 310. 2 Ibid., p. 54. 

vn.] THE SONG-BOOKS 223 

show considerable sympathy with this pseudo- 
pastoral mood if not with the literal themes. The 
song, "So saith my fair and beautiful Lycoris," 1 
illustrates them all. One madrigal, however, a 
drinking-song, seems to be an originat^lSnglish ['-?' 
composition. As one of the first examples of the 
theme, it claims a moment's attention. It is the 
personal expression of one man's love of drink, 
instead of the choral bacchanalian lyric found in 
the drama. The singer tells how his eyes have 
become affected from much liquor. The doctor 
has evidently prescribed total abstinence, but the 
patient is firm : — 

"Mine eyes shall not be my commanders, 
For I maintain and ever shall ; 
Better the windows bide the dangers, 
Than to spoil the house and all." 2 

In 1597 also appeared the first book of one of 
the greatest madrigal composers, Thomas Weelkes. 
This collection contained the song, " My flocks feed 
not," republished in the Passionate Pilgrim and 
attributed to Shakspere. Each of the three stanzas 
was set as a separate madrigal. Two other mad- 
rigals contain descriptions of the Morris dance, 
such as we have noticed before; the rest are on 
moral themes, or continue the ornate development 
of the madrigal form. In one example Cupid is 
overcome at sight of the matchless Ghloris; in 

liWd.,p.W. *Ibid. 9 p. 55. 

: 'J<*. * t 


another the lily cheeks of Phillis are blamed for 
the poet's love misery. 

The most important song-book of the year was 
John Dowland's First Book of Songs or Airs. 
This contained twenty-one songs for four voices, 
with an optional accompaniment for the lute. The 
significance of the book in the history of Eliza- 
bethan song-writing is very great, but it can hardly 
be appreciated without some knowledge of its musi- 
cal importance. As has been noticed, the madrigal- 
form marked the first step in the secularization of 
church music. With the secular words, the strict 
.rules of ecclesiastical composition at first re- 
mained in force. But two strong influences were 
at work during this madrigal period, tending to 
substitute for the contrapuntal movement a clear- 
cut rhythm. The first of these influences was the 
English popular song. 1 In its uncultivated state, 
illustrated by the tunes mentioned in the miscella- 
nies, this native music was a simple melody, un- 
accompanied, principally characterized by strong 
rhythm. The people who cared for such tunes 
probably would not appreciate the scholastic music 
of the madrigal, and undoubtedly the educated 
musicians scorned the common melodies. Both 
classes, however, would hear just such tunes when- 
ever a song was rendered at the theatre ; for as we 
shall see, in the matter of lyrics the Elizabethan 
stage appealed directly to the native English genius. 
1 Oxford History of Music, iii. p. 12. 

vn.] THE SONG-BOOKS 225 

As the great dramatic period advanced, the popular 
music under its patronage came to be a powerful 

At the other end of society, among the cultivated 
musicians themselves, a similar effect was achieved 
by the favorite musical instrument, the lute. 1 Pas- 
sages of contrapuntal nature, calling for several 
voices, could not be rendered on a lute; its per- 
formances were limited to melodies and chords — 
the material of modern music. So long as the 
madrigal was strictly written, it had to be sung 
unaccompanied. Meanwhile the lute-music became 
more and more free from the rules, as the lutanists 
came to realize the needs of their instrument. 
Dowland was the greatest lutanist of his day ; it was 
but natural that he should write his songs with 
reference to lute accompaniment, and therefore 
with disregard of the madrigal form. The result 
was a melody clearly defined, with the other voices 
subordinated, and with an accompaniment of rhyth- 
mic chords on the lute. Sometimes, as in this first 
volume of Dowland's, the songs were so written 
that the principal part or melody might be sung as 
a solo. In that case the other voices were supplied 
by a lute or by some combination of string instru- 
ments. These departures from the strict madrigal 
form were received with favor by the general pub- 
lic, but for a long time the scholarly musicians 
spoke of them with little respect. To distinguish 
i Ibid., p. 16. 


them from the classic forms, even when written 
for four or five voices, they called them Ayres. 
When we reach Kossiter's book of 1601, we shall 
find many significant phrases in the preface. The 
author, probably Campion, admits, as a good musi- 
cian should, the superiority of madrigal music ; " as 
in poesy we give the preeminence to the Heroical 
poem ; so in music, we yield the chief place to the 
grave and well-invented Motet." Yet an appeal 
has been made just before, not to the scholars, but 
to the people : " For the note and tableture, if they 
satisfy the most, we have our desire; let expert 
masters please themselves with better." x 

This preface begins with a significant definition 
of airs: "What epigrams are in poetry, the 
same are airs in music ; then in their chief perfec- 
tion when they are short and well seasoned." This 
epigrammatic briefness in the new music wrought 
an important change in the words. It has been 
noticed already that the madrigal, because of con- 
stant repetition of the musical phrases, called for 
only a short lyric. Much of such contrapuntal 
effect, however, was now discarded in the airs, 
and there was nothing left but the melody. This 
was often too short for use if sung only once, so the 
composer arranged to repeat it to the other stanzas 
of the lyric. This repetition, contrary to the mad- 
rigal in effect, immediately encouraged the com- 
position of songs three or four stanzas in length. 
1 Works of Thomas Campion, A. H. Bullen, 1889, p. 5. 

til] THE SONG-BOOKS 227 

With this lengthening of the songs came the typical 
and famous lyric-writing of the period. For its 
proper development the lyric needed more room than 
could be found in the ten-line madrigal or the eight- 
line rispetto. But the typical length of the airs, 
twenty or thirty lines, answered exactly to the genius 
of the best song-writers, like Campion ; and later it 
furnished a literary, though no longer a musical, 
model for Herrick. 

The lyrics in Dowland's first book are interesting 
as bearing out these general statements. The part- 
ing-song, "Now, now I needs must part," * contains 
seven quatrains, and the other pieces are long in 
proportion. Peele's famous song from Polyhymnia, 
"His golden locks time hath to silver turned," 2 is 
set to music entire. There are also three lyrics by 
Fulke Greville, Sidney's friend. The new style of 
part-song permitted all these lyrics to be set without 
curtailment. The best of Greville's contributions 
is probably the song : — 

" Away with these self -loving lads 

Whom Cupid's arrow never glads ! 

Away, poor souls, that sigh and weep, 

In love of those that lie asleep ; 
For Cupid is a meadow god 
And forceth none to kiss the rod." * 

In 1598 Thomas Weelkes published his second 

book, Ballets and Madrigals to Five Voices. His 

collection consists of dance-songs, all written on 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 152. * Ibid., p. 157. 

«/6ul.,p. 160. 


the same model. A simple stanza, usually a 
quatrain, is followed by a refrain of monosyllables, 
such as "Fa la, la." The themes expressed are 
but imitations of the perennial dance-motives, — 
youth, springtime, and love. There is the usual 
invitation to the dance, 1 and the familiar parting- 
song, when the pleasure is over. 2 In one song the 
despairing poet bids unkind Phillis enjoy herself 
at the dance ; he meanwhile will mourn his broken 
heart. 3 The deepest note struck is the praise of 
youth, where the joy of life is usually contrasted, 
in true Renascence mood, with the dark approach 
of age: — 

u For youth it well beseemeth, 
That pleasure he esteemeth ; 
And sullen age is hated, 
That mirth would have abated." 4 

In the same year appeared John Wilbye's Madri- 
gals. Wilbye was one of the best-known masters 
of the older, severe style of writing, and his book 
illustrates in music and words the strict form of 
the madrigal. Probably the best example is the 
familiar " Lady, when I behold the roses sprouting," 
a translation from the Italian. 5 Most of the songs, 
perhaps because of the strong Italian influence, 
retain the artificial mood of the ornate pastoral. 
Chloris and Amaryllis and roses and lilies are still 
the rimester's stock in trade. But the song-books 

1 Musa Madrigalesca, p. 122. 4 Ibid., p. 120. 

2 Ibid., p. 127. 6 Ibid., p. 177. 
» Ibid., p. 122. 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 229 

are by this time made up to please all the tastes of 
the public, and some of the public seem to have 
liked moral themes, or at least a touch of contem- 
plative melancholy. The taste is mildly repre- 
sented here in a song that serves as a link in the 
long chain between carpe diem and "Gather ye 
roses " : — 

44 Thou art but young, thou say'st, 
And love's delight thou weigh'st not ; 
Oh t take time while thou may 'at, 
Lest when thou would'st, thou may'st not." 1 

In 1600 Weelkes and Dowland each published a 
volume of songs, the general character of which 
is not different from other works of these com- 
posers. Dowland, however, had the distinction 
of presenting here one of the famous pedler-songs 
of Elizabethan poetry : — 

u Fine knacks for ladies ; cheap, choice, nice, and new. 

Good pennyworths, but money cannot move ; 
I keep a fair but for the fair to view ; 

A beggar may be liberal of love. 
Though all my wares be trash, my heart is true."* 

The great antiquity of mercers' songs in England 
has already been noticed in the second chapter. 
The character of the roving pedler, especially if 
he were wittily impudent, seems to have appealed 
strongly to the Elizabethan imagination. In its 
normal presentation, Shakspere's Autolycus sums 
up the type. Dowland's pedler, however, is ideal- 
ized into a second-hand philosopher ; every line of 
i Ibid., p. 182. a Ibid., p. 165. 


Ms speech, in phrase and thought, is a burlesque 
echo of the moral verses in the miscellanies. 

Weelkes's book also contains one song that is 
significant, in that it represents the epigrammatic 
development of the madrigal, which was to pro- 
duce one of the seventeenth-century types of lyric. 
This particular song has the restraint and pre- 
cision usually associated with HerricL Like many 
of his shorter pieces, it has little of the Greek lyri- 
cal quality ; it is better read than sung. Its merits, 
intellectual rather than emotional, are those of clear 
thought and exact expression : — 

44 Three times a day my prayer is, 
To gaze my fill on Thoralis ; 
And three times thrice I daily pray, 
Not to offend that sacred May. 
But all the year my suit must be 
That I may please, and she love me." 1 

In the preceding song-books, approximately from 
1588 to 1600, the madrigal form dominated both 
music and words. The transition from the old 
style to the new has been noticed in connection 
with Dowland. From the beginning of the century 
the new music and the lighter forms of lyrics are 
in the ascendency, and the madrigal is superseded 
largely by the airs. This second period of the 
song-books is for the literary student most impor- 
tant, because it includes the work of the greatest 
Elizabethan song-writer, Thomas Campion. In 

1 Musa Madrlgalesca, p. 133. 

vn.] THE SONG-BOOKS 231 

1601 he collaborated with Philip Rossiter in the 
Booke of Ayres already noticed. Himself a musi- 
cian as well as a poet, he composed half the music, 
and is supposed to have written all the words. 
From the musical standpoint the book is remark- 
able because the songs are for solo voices, with an 
accompaniment of lute, orpharian (a large kind of 
lute), and bass viol. From the literary standpoint, 
no other song-book can compare with this for the 
exquisite perfection of its lyrics. It is largely on 
Campion's verses that the general high opinion of 
Elizabethan song is founded, and it is largely from 
the dainty lilt of his poems that the age gets its 
reputation for light-hearted music. But no song 
writer is more independent of musical accompani- 
ment than Campion; his lyrics have a sweetness 
of word-melody that could not be improved by any 

The songs in the first book of airs class them- 
selves easily under several heads. To consider 
the least important characteristics first, we should 
begin with the classical influence. It will be re- 
membered that Campion's Art of English Poesy, 
advocating unrimed verse, appeared one year later, 
in 1602, and already he was evidently experi- 
menting. Besides the Sapphic measure, 1 he has 
several poems in an irregular rhythm, partly un- 
rimed, which scans badly to English ears. In 
the following strophe the free line binding the two 
i Works, A. H. Bullen, p. 23. 


couplets • should be noticed; it is characteristic of 
Campion's art : — 

" Shall I come, if I swim ? wide are the waves, you see ; 
Shall I come, if I fly, my dear Love, to thee ? 
Streams Venus will appease ; Cupid gives me wings ; 
All the powers assist my desire 
Save you alone, that set my woful heart on fire ! " * 

Campion's classical interest is seen also in trans- 
lations and paraphrases from the Latin. The best of 
these is undoubtedly the version of Catullus' s Viva- 
mus, mea Lesbia. 2 The ease of phrase and the 
song-quality of the words show Campion's art to 
advantage. More characteristic of his classical 
mood, however, are the Horatian lines, suggestive 
of Integer Vitae : — 

44 The man of life upright, 
Whose guiltless heart is free 
From all dishonest deeds, 
Or thought of vanity," etc. 8 

Whenever Campion moralizes, he is likely to 
take this tone, and his theme is almost sure to be 
praise of the golden mean. This motive had ap- 
peared, as we have seen, in the miscellanies, and 
Campion at times merely carries on the miscellany 
mood at a higher poetic level. In the song, " Let 
him that will be free," 4 he advocates the quiet life : 
put the care of the world away, he says, and 
learn the art of content. In the preceding poem, 

i Works, p. 34. * Ibid., p. 20. 

2 Ibid., p. 7. « Ibid., p. 30. 

to.] THE SONG-BOOKS 233 

he contrasts the trouble of a guilty conscience with 
the happiness of innocence. 1 

These, however, are not the lyrics that make 
Campion's fame, nor are they a large part of his 
work. The best examples of his genius are the 
love-songs, which have the general traits of light 
rhythm and joyous spirit. A fair illustration is 
the song in praise of a humble mistress. As 
Campion treats it, the theme echoes the old con- 
trast between a courtly and a rural life: — 

" I care Dot for these ladies 

That must be wooed and prayed ; 

Give me kind Amarillis, 
The wanton country maid. 

Nature art disdaineth, 

Her beauty is her own. 
Her when we court and kiss, 
She cries, * Forsooth, let go ! ' 
But when we come where comfort is, 
She never will say 4 no ! * " a 

Though this is a good example of Campion's 
lightness of touch, and of his art within the single 
stanza, yet the song as a whole is not one of his 
best. Its three strophes, each dealing with a 
separate phase of a maiden's charms, have each 
a distinct lyric motive; so that there is no emo- 
tional continuity between them, and the poem lacks 
lyric unity. This is the same fault, on a smaller 
scale, that was found with Spenser's Epithdlamium. 
Campion develops this idyllic method into a dis- 

ilbid., p. 29. 3JftuZ.,p.8. 


tinct kind of song, of which the best illustration 
is Carew's "Ask me no more." He takes some 
one theme, announces it in the first lines, and then 
restates it in the succeeding stanzas, each time in 
a different image. Unity is secured by the treat- 
ment of one theme, but the organic form is 
wanting ; the order of the stanzas is of no conse- 
quence and their number is optional. In one 
poem Campion describes his mistress's face as a 
garden, a morning, a meadow, as heaven, death, 
youth, and spring : — 

" And would you see my mistress's face ? 
It is a flowery garden place, 
Where knots of beauties have such grace 
That all is work and nowhere space. 

It is a sweet delicious morn, 
Where day is breeding, never born ; 
It is a meadow, yet unshorn, 
Which thousand flowers do adorn. 

It is the heaven's bright reflex," etc. 1 

The same method is employed in two other lyrics in 
this book, " And would you fain the reason know,"* 
and " Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow ! " 8 

A better example of lyric form, though not a 
perfect one, is the description of Corinna singing 
to her lute. The theme is equivalent to the use 
of musical images in the sonnets — as Corinna 
sings, the lute-strings sound in sympathy with her 
voice; so does her lover's heart. A note of arti- 

i Works, p. 27. * Ibid., p. 31. • loid., p. 9. 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 235 

ficiality might have been avoided by making the 
lute respond to her fingers rather than to her 
voice. In external form the song breaks into two 
parts — the presentation of the lute image, and its 
parallel, the poet's heart. Many of Campion's 
songs have this twofold arrangement; perhaps 
here is felt the influence of octave and sextet in 
sonnet-writing. The charm of such a division is 
that it presents the idea, not through an emotional 
development, but through an emotional contrast. 
There is, however, no emotional cadence at the 
close ; the end of the lyric is recognized intellectu- 
ally when the parallel is completed. The last half 
of the song in question is illustrative : — 

" And as her lute doth live or die, 
Led by her passion, so must I ! 
For when of pleasure she doth sing, 
My thoughts enjoy a sudden spring ; 
But if she doth of sorrow speak, 
E'en from my heart the strings do break." 1 

In this book of songs, Campion addresses many 
different mistresses, Corinna, Lesbia, Amaryllis, 
Laura, etc. The habit is Horatian, and no doubt 
Campion owed it to his knowledge of the Roman 
poet, but his audience had become familiar with it 
through the ornate madrigals of preceding song- 
books. The names and the formula both reappear 
in Herrick. 

Campion's work so dominates this period, that 

i Ibid., p. 11. 


it is an advantage to consider it all at once. 
About 1613 he published his Two Books o/Ayres. 
The first book was devoted to " divine and moral 
songs"; the second to "light conceits of lovers." 
Campion was the author of both words and music. 
One or two sentences in his preface throw interest- 
ing light on the musical progress of song-writing. 
ILe has a rebuke for those who still prefer the 
strict Italian madrigal : " Some there are who admit 
only French and Italian airs ; as if every country 
had not his proper air, which the people thereof 
naturally usurp in their music." 1 His own music, 
following the new fashion, was intended for a solo 
voice with instrumental accompaniment: "These 
airs were for the most part framed at first for one 
voice with the lute or viol ; but upon occasion they 
have since been filled with more parts, which 
whoso please may use, who like not may leave." 2 
Campion, then, represents in this book practically 
modern song-writing; from the opposite point of 
view, he represents the close of the strictly Eliza- 
bethan lyric period. 

In the "divine and moral songs," the imitation 
of Integer Vitae, " The man of life upright," is re- 
printed, setting the tone for its companion lyrics. 
The religious songs, with one exception, are con- 
ventional and indefinite ; whatever emotion there is 
falls short of the fervid imagination of a Vaughan 
or a Crashaw, and finds sufficient outlet in well- 

1 Works, p. 45. * Ibid., p. 44. 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 237 

worn phrases. The exception to this criticism is 
the poem : — 

" View me, Lord, a work of Thine ; 
Shall I then lie drowned in night? 
Might thy grace in me but shine, 
I should seem made all of light.' 1 ' 1 

This lyric motive is carefully developed; the poet's 
soul is darkened with sin ; if once it may see God, 
it will dwell in light. The lyric ends in the con- 
templation of this heavenly light. 

At the end of these sober poems is printed a 
realistic idyl of low life, " Jack and Joan they think 
no ill." 2 The daily cares and jjoys of the farmer and 
his wife are told with minute details : — 

" Well can they judge of nappy ale, 
And tell at large a winter tale ; 
Climb up to the apple loft, 
And turn the crabs till they are soft." 

The last stanza is a kind of envoy, addressed to 
" courtly dames and knights." The poet asks them 
what they enjoy more valuable than the security 
and peace of this simple couple. The lyric con- 
sciously ranks itself with the familiar praises of 
country life. 

Among the " light conceits of lovers " there are 
many successful lyrics. In their epigrammatic light- 
ness, some of them anticipate the cavalier songs, 
which followed them half a century later. The 
poem, "There is none, none but you," 8 illustrates 

il&uf., p. 60. */&**., p. 61. » Ibid., p. 76. 


this new manner as applied to an old theme. The 
poet sings that nothing keeps him from sight of 
his mistress but she herself; she is cruel to hide 
from him ; had he but sufficient opportunity to see 
her, he would make her immortal in his songs. 
The "eternizing" motive is here worded with a 
prettiness that seems a generation away from 
Shakspere's passionate mood: — 

" Sweet, afford me then your sight, 

That, surveying all your looks, 
* Endless volumes I might write 

And nil the world with envied books : 

Which when after-ages view, 
All shall wonder and despair, 
Woman to find man so true, 
And man a woman half so fair." 

Probably the best lyric in the book is the poem 
" Give beauty all her right." Not only does it answer 
the requirements of strict lyric-form, but it has an 
additional interest on account of its intellectual 
motive. These songs usually find their stimulus 
in a situation or a picture; here the stimulus is 
the proposition that beauty has no absolute stand- 
ard. The method of the poet is to narrow his 
theme gradually until it points a compliment to 
his mistress. The first step is to illustrate the 
general proposition by the varieties of woman's 
beauty : — 

u Helen, I grant, might pleasing be ; 
And Rosamond was as sweet as she. 1 " 

i Works, p. 71. 


vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 239 

Differences in features are not important; some 
men like a bright eye, some like a pale face ; many 
a plain flower is plucked with the rose. Then, as 
a last step, the poet sings that differences of coun- 
try or of times are not important, and through 
the conception of eternal beauty he comes to his 
point: — 

" Free beauty is not bound 
To one unmoved clime ; 
She visits every ground, 
And favors every time. 
Let the old loves with mine compare, 
My Soverign is as sweet and fair. 1 ' 1 

Campion's Third and Fourth Booke of Ayres 
was published about 1617. Its contents sustain the 
general level of his art, and need here but an illus- 
tration or two. The cavalier mood is represented 
by several poems, all slight in theme but graceful 
and epigrammatic. A good example is the lyric 
beginning : — 

" * Maids are simple,* some men say, 
* They, forsooth, will trust no men.' 
But should they men's wills obey, 
Maids were very simple then." 2 

The poet continues by exposing the lack of truth 
in lovers. This song, like many others in this 
last book of Campion's, is little more than a string 
of epigrams, each stanza ending with a snap. One 
reason for it may be the general epigrammatic 
tendency of the Elizabethan period, from Wyatt on. 
i Ibid., p. 71. aj&M*.,p.9L 


A special explanation may be the form in which 
the songs were rendered. The music was repeated 
with each stanza, and as the end of the tune 
naturally called for a climax, the poet was tempted 
to make the effect by his wit. The result is a cer- 
tain intellectual charm in every stanza, but the 
fundamental emotional unity of the lyric is lacking. 
This book of airs contains what is perhaps 
Campion's most charming song: — 

" There is a garden in her face, 
Where roses and white lilies grow ; 1 

The unity of the poem is secured by the refrain 
describing her lips — " Cherry ripe." Each stanza 
pictures some feature of the lady's beauty, but 
always in relation to her lips. In some respects 
the song represents the highest skill of the madri- 
gal writers ; its theme is extremely slight, but its 
effect is one of richness without superfluity and of 
sweetness without lack of force : — 

u Her eyes like angels watch them still ; 
Her brows like bended bows do stand, 
Threatening with piercing frowns to kill 
All that attempt, with eye or hand, 
Those sacred cherries to come nigh 
Till * Cherry ripe ' themselves descry." 

Keturning to a chronological review of the other 
important song-books, we should mention the Tri- 
umphs of Oriana, 2 edited by Thomas Morley in 
1601. This was a series of madrigals by different 

1 Works, p. 117. a Musa Madrigalesca, p. 106. 


composers in honor of some woman. There is little 
doubt that this woman was Queen Elizabeth, and 
the collection resolves itself into another such 
piece of flattery as Sir John Davies's Astraza. The 
publication was important in the musical history 
of the madrigal, but its literary value is small. 
The songs were so constructed that each ended in 
the refrain, " Long live fair Oriana." The themes 
were various, but always related to the ornate 
pastoral mood. 

In 1604 Michael Este published a set of part- 
songs. It contained one of the best known Eliza- 
bethan lyrics, Nicholas Breton's "In the merry 
month of May." * In form this poem corresponds ex- 
actly to the old French romance. The poet, strolling 
in the fields, overhears a dispute between the shep- 
herd and his love. She doubts the truth of his 
passion, and he pleads for her favor; then, after 
making him pledge his love in sacred oaths, she 
accepts his kisses, and is made Lady of the May. 
The song was written before 1591, and is said to 
have been a favorite with Queen Elizabeth. 

In 1608 appeared Weelkes's last book, Ayres or 
Phantasticke Spirites, a collection of humorous and 
satiric songs. In its subject-matter it marked a 
new fashion, which continued for the next three or 
four years. The best lyric in the book is the 
extremely vigorous satire on insincerity and flat- 
tery: — 

1 Z&id., p. 203. 


" Ha ha ha ha ! This world doth pass 
Most merrily, I'll be sworn ; 
For many an honest Indian ass 
Goes for an Unicorn. 
Farra diddle dino ; 
This is idle fino. 

Ty hye, ty hye ! O sweet delight! 

He tickles this age that can 
Call Tullia's ape a Marmasyte, 

And Leda's goose a swan, etc." 1 

In 1609 the tone set by Weelkes's book was em- 
phasized more strongly in Pammelia, a collection of 
catches. The most significant thing in it is the 
sub-title, " To the well-disposed to read, and to the 
merry disposed to sing." The song-books had evi- 
dently come to be recognized for their literary 
qualities. These particular lyrics, however, were 
better sung than read. The verses are short, as 
befits rounds and catches, and the themes are bac- 
chanalian ; as, for example : — 

" Banbury ale ! 
Where, where, where ? 
At the blacksmith's house : 
I would I were there." 2 

This comic tradition was continued in the publica- 
tions Deuteromelia, of this same year, and Melis- 
mata, 1611. The latter is remarkable for one 
famous song, "There were three ravens sat on a 
tree." 3 This romantic little narrative has almost 

i Musa Madrigalesca, p. 140. * Ibid., p. 253. 

* Ibid., p. 236. 

vii.] THE SONG-BOOKS 243 

an epic dignity, and it undoubtedly is very old. 
In these last publications the traditional rimes 
of the people seem to have been drawn on for 

This brief survey of the chief song-books, from 
1688 to 1616, indicates at least the two classes into 
which the songs fall — madrigals and " ayres." It 
will be seen that the length of the lyrics was 
largely determined in each period by the needs of 
the music. At the same time it will be seen that 
the artistic quality of the words and of the music 
was quite distinct ; the words maintain a lightness 
and speed, not with the help of the music, but in 
spite of it. The fact that from the recognized musi- 
cal qualities of these songs men have ascribed to 
them a setting far daintier than they really had, 
tends to prove the assertion made in the first chap- 
ter, that verse, when it attains great verbal melody, 
parts company with music, and can best be appre- 
ciated alone. 



To understand the part played by the lyric in 
the Elizabethan drama, it is necessary to go back 
to the beginnings of the drama itself. The first 
religious plays were lyrical in quality, but their 
structure was narrative ; in this respect, if we dis- 
regard the fact that they were acted, they answer 
very closely to the English popular ballad. Bat 
though the general quality of the narrative is 
lyrical, there are few lyrics. A passage here and 
there, which might be considered by itself, or a 
lyric transcribed from the Bible, such as the Nunc 
dimittis sung in the Presentation of Christ* is all 
that the early plays can show in the way of song. 
These transcriptions from Biblical lyrics are taken 
over with the narrative situation, and the passages 
that by themselves might be considered lyrics, are 
usually connected as closely with the purpose of 
the narrative. A good example is the chorus sung 
by the burgesses at Christ's entry into Jeru- 
salem : — 

1 Digby Mysteries. Shakspere Soc, series 7, p. 20. 

chap, viii.] THE LYRIC IN THE DRAMA 245 

" Hayll ! prophette, proved withouten pere, 
Hayll ! prince of pees schall evere endure, 
Hayll ! kyng comely, curteyse and clere, 
Hayll I soverayne semely to synf ull sure, 

To thee all bowes. 
Hayll ! lord lovely, oure cares may cure, 

Hayll King of Jewes." * 

Seven other stanzas follow, all beginning with the 
same word and adding epithets of praise. 

It is not remarkable that, with such a close rela- 
tion to the religious themes, the lyrics should re- 
semble recognized types of Middle English religious 
song. The acted drama gives the poet an oppor- 
tunity for realizing his conventional lyric situation. 
For example* the familiar motive of the Virgin's 
slumber-song is put, with a slight variation, into 
the Coventry play of Christ's birth. 2 In the same 
way the music of the first songs in the drama was 
church music. In the manuscripts of the York and 
the Coventry Mysteries, the music preserved is evi- 
dently that of bits of the church service, adapted 
for use on account of their familiarity. Of course 
in the fourteenth century and at the earlier, un- 
certain date, when the first of the mysteries were 
composed, the music of the church was the standard 
for that art, and it would not be remarkable, in any 
circumstances, that the songs in the plays should 
be set to it. But immediately a contrast becomes 
visible between the severe style of the music 

1 York Mystery Plays, L. Toulman Smith, 1885, p. 216. 
* Coventry Mysteries, Thomas Sharpe, 1825, p. 112. 


and the popular rhythms of the words, which 
shows how quickly the lyrical parts of the drama 
gravitated toward the people's taste. 

The second stage of the development of the 
lyric in the drama is reached when the lyrical 
parts are clearly defined and separated from the 
narrative. The song, then, however related in 
mood to the dramatic theme, is ornamental rather 
than necessary. With the first example of a lyric 
in this relation to the drama, the real history of 
Elizabethan dramatic songs begins. So long as the 
lyric was a part of the narrative, it was obliged 
to treat religious themes. But in its ornamental 
character, it had a natural place in those comic 
scenes which, portraying human character realisti- 
cally, afforded realistic motives for song. These 
comic scenes, such as the episode of Mak, the 
sheep-stealer, 1 appealed directly to the English 
nature; and the first ornamental songs, embodied 
in such scenes, appealed no less directly to the 
common taste of the people. This remains the 
characteristic of the songs in Elizabethan plays. 
No matter how Italian ate the dramatic theme 
might be, no matter with what skill the author 
adapted it to his English uses, the interpolated 
songs appealed strictly through their own merits; 
and the only lyric merits that even Shakspere's 
audience as a whole could appreciate were English 

1 The Townely Plays, in the Early English Text Soc, extra 
series lxxi, 1897, p. 122 sq. 


qualities. The result is that throughout the drama 
we look in vain for a madrigal; the groundlings 
would no more have understood this compli- 
cated form than an ode of Pindar. But what they 
could understand was the drinking-song in the 
Chester Plays, sung by Noah's wife, just before she 
entered the ark : — 

" The flude comes fleetinge in full faste, 
One every syde that spreades full farre ; 
For fear of drowninge I am agaste ; 
Good gossippes, lett us drawe nere, 
And lett us drinke or we departe 
For ofte tymes we have done soe ; 
For att a draughte thou drinkes a quarte, 
And so will I do or I go." * 

It is hardly necessary to call attention to the 
vigor and speed of these verses. They contrast 
sharply with the more complicated and less certain 
rhythms in which the rest of the play is written. 
As it has been conjectured that the comic scenes 
were sometimes borrowed from the professional 
repertory of strolling actors, so it is not difficult 
to believe that this drinking-song had long been 
heard in taverns, or was an imitation of some well- 
tried lyric. 

The vigorous rhythm here first seen reacted even 
upon the conservative religious songs. In the 
lullaby already mentioned, from the Coventry play 

i English Miracle Plays, Alfred W. Pollard, Oxford, 1890, 
p. 15. 


of Christ's birth, there is an echo of the drinking- 
song movement : — 

" O sisters too how may we do 
For to preserve this day 
This pore yonglinge for whom we do singe 

By by lully lullay. 
Herod the king in his raging 
Chargid he hath this day 
His men of might in his own sight 
All yonge children to slay.* 1 1 

The music to this song is of the severe church 
character; the words, however, already show the 
compromise with popular rhythms. It illustrates 
the dramatic law of the pressure of the audience 
upon the playwright* 

It is well to notice here another pressure on the 
playwright, which encouraged the use of songs* 
In the English troupes many of the actors doubt- 
less had musical training. A large number of 
them first made their acquaintance with the drama 
as choir-boys. It will be remembered that Lyly's 
plays were all written for the boys of St. Paul's or 
of the Chapel Royal. It is a truism of the stage 
that the playwright or the manager will find a use 
for all the accomplishments of the actor. With a 
number of singers in the company, then, there was 
a constant pressure on the dramatist or the manager 
to insert songs. 

In the early mysteries the only example of the 
Middle English love-song is in the Digby series on 
1 Coventry Mysteries, Sharpe, p. 112. 


the story of Mary Magdalene. Mary, while still un- 
redeemed from her sins, is waiting for her lovers: — 
"A! God be with my valentynes, 
My byrd swetyng, my lovys so dere 
For they be bote for a blossum of blysse ; 
Me marvellyt sore they be not here/ 1 etc. 1 

The simple, swift rhythm shows itself here also, 

where the poet might easily have taken the usual 

complicated stanza of such love-plaints. 

The chief characteristic, then, which comes to 

the Elizabethan songs from the mysteries, is the 

direct appeal to the people's tastes, shown by 

the use of popular lyric themes, as in the case of the 

drinking-song, or more often by the use of popular 

rhythms. In the next stage of the drama, the 

moralities, a new Elizabethan trait is developed. 

In these plays the devil and the vice become stock 

characters, and a disposition manifests itself to 

assign to them a conventional rhythm. The devil 

makes his entry on most occasions with a comic 

bluster and noise, and then frequently drops into a 

meter of short staccato lines. A good example is 

this passage from the Morality of Wisdom : — 

44 Out herrowe I rore, 
Ffor envy I lore 
My place to restore, 
God hath made this man. 
All come thei not thore 
Worde and thei wore, 
I shall tempt hem so sore, 
Ffor I am he that sin beganne, etc." * 

* Shakspere Soc. Publications, vii p. 76. * Ibid., p. 150. 


Short lines are frequently assigned to all supernat- 
ural beings of an evil character; in one passage, to 
Death, in Everyman, and to the allegorical figure of 
Voluptas, in the Castle of Perseverance : — 

Lord, redy ! 
Je vous pry 

Syr, I say. 
In lyckynge and lust 
He shall rust, 
Tyl dethys dust 

Do him to day." 1 

It will be interesting to compare this early habit 
with the use of short lines for witches 9 and fairies 1 
speeches through the Elizabethan drama. The 
idea of incantation seems to cling to the words of 
supernatural beings, and the mystery of the incan- 
tation seems to be helped by the brief, sometimes 
unintelligible, phrases. 

The period of transition in the drama between 
the moralities and the first plays of the university 
wits, about 1590, is a period of apparent uncertainty 
for the lyric. It is in this period that the first 
imitations of Seneca appear, introducing the classic 
chorus to comment on the action and to explain it. 
The historian of the English drama, however, here 
makes a sharp distinction between the popular or 
acted, and the academic or unacted, play. Though 
the imitations f>f the classic drama that are pre- 
served amount to a respectable number as com- 
i Pollard, p. 71. 


pared with the unliterary plays %that we know of, 
their influence on the stage was infinitely less ; one 
play publicly performed is more influential than a 
dozen kept in print, or performed only before 
academic audiences. The same distinction must be 
made by the historian of the English lyric. The 
classic chorus in England is interesting as a literary 
revival, but its appearance was limited to an aca- 
demic stage. The real English drama never for a 
moment diverged from the use of English songs. 

Ralph Roister Doister, about 1550, 1 was a college 
play, but in its dramatic quality it is thoroughly 
unacademic. It was really acted. Its songs, set 
probably to existing popular tunes, make their 
appeal to an English audience. The song of the 
maids, Margerie, Tibet, and Annot, is the most 
elaborate in structure, but it lacks a definite theme. 
Apparently it is an excuse for a stage picture. The 
maids, while at their work, sing four stanzas, and 
in between Tibet makes off-hand comments. One 
stanza is enough to illustrate the doggerel nature of 
the verses: — 

" Pipe mery Annot, etc. 
Trilla, Trilla, Trillarie, 
Worke Tibet, worke Annot, worke Margerie. 
Sewe Tibet, knitte Annot, spinne Margerie. 
Let us see who shall winne the victorie." 2 

1 Perhaps the date should be earlier, between 1534 and 1541. 
For an admirable discussion of this point, see the essay by 
Professor Ewald Fliigel, in Representative English Comedies, 
Charles Mills Gayley, New York, 1903, p. 95. 

2 Arber Reprint, 1899, p. 22. 


The second song has more vigor and better form. 
It shows its indebtedness to the mysteries and 
moralities by its stanza, a favorite rime-scheme 
with them, and it suggests, by its moralizing 
theme, the gnomic poems of the miscellanies. 
Without being at all inspired, however, it has the 
true movement of song; its theme is treated with 
perfect unity and conciseness, and the refrain of 
each stanza contributes a certain lightness and 
force. The first of the four stanzas is a fair 
illustration : — 

"A thing very fitte 
For them that have witte, 
And are f elowes knitte 
Servants in one house to bee, 
Is f aste for to sitte 
And not oft to flitte 
Nor varie a whitte, 
But lovingly to agree." 1 

The best song in the book is Ralph Roister 
Doister's jingle, "I mun be married a Sunday." 
In subject it hardly rises above the dignity of non- 
sense verse, but its rhythm and general lyric move- 
ment are contagious. Like the preceding song it 
has a refrain, but uses it with far more effect. In 
fact the refrain is here the backbone of the whole 
poem. The significance of the lyric is in its pop- 
ular quality, and in the intention to please the 
audience with which it was evidently written. Its 
early date in the development of drama songs is 

1 Arber Reprint, p. 36. 


shown by its narrative element; though purely 

decorative, it is linked in theme with the story of 

the play. Its slightly humorous quality, as well 

as its narrative flavor, is illustrated by the third 

stanza: — 

" Christian distance have I founde, 
Christian Custance have I founde, 
A Wydowe worthe a thousande pounde, 
I mun be maried a Sunday." 1 ~ 

To the year 1555 is assigned Lusty Juventus, one 
of the late moralities. The subject, the desires and 
temptations of youth, gave opportunity for two 
songs expressive of this romantic spirit. Neither 
song is to any degree coherent ; the refrain of the 
first has always been an enigma : — 

" Why should not youth fulfill his own mind, 
As the course of nature doth him bind ? 
Is not everything ordained to do his kind ? 
Report me to you, report me to you." 2 

But whatever be their qualities in detail, these 
songs breathe the very spirit of youthful joy and 
life. In the second lyric, " In an arbour green, asleep 
whereas I lay," 8 — the better known of the two, — 
this Renascence note is struck with great sweetness. 
The song stands midway between the old poetry 
and the new, and it has qualities of both. The 
mediaeval convention of a dream is used to intro- 
duce the theme; the stanza is of a pattern well 

* Ibid., p. 87. 

a Dodsley, Old Plays, HazUtt, ii., 1874, p. 88. 

•Ibid., p. 46. 


known in the mysteries and in Middle English lore- 
poetry. On the other hand, the lightness of move* 
ment and the Renascence mingling of aspiration 
with a certain tone of regret, are very notable in so 
early a lyric. Few of Wyatt's poems are more 

In 1560 Oorboduc was acted by amateurs, prob- 
ably not more than once. This tragedy contains-* 
several choruses of the classic kind already men- 
tioned, whose purpose is to explain or moralize 
upon the dramatic subject. In this moralizing is 
found their only connection with the English lyric 
of the time. In other respects these choruses ap- 
pear strange and superfluous, and contrast strongly 
with the English dramatic lyric in not being sung. 
An illustration of their general tone and skilful 
versification is the following stanza from the fourth 
act: — 

" Blood asketh blood, and death must death requite ; 
Jove by his just and everlasting dome 
Justly hath ever so requited it. 
This times before record, and times to come 
Shall find it true, and so doth present proof 
Present before our eyes for our behoof e." * 

In Bishop Still's Gammer Gurton's Needle,* 1566, 
an acted play, we find one of the best drinking- 

i Dodsley's Old Plays, i. p. 150. 

2 The authorship of this play is uncertain, and recent histori- 
ans are inclined to ascribe it to William Stevenson rather than 
to Dr. John Still. See the essay by Henry Bradley, in Repre- 
sentative English Comedies, Charles Mills Gayley, New York, 
1903, p. 199. 


songs in all literature. The vigor and effectiveness 
of the song in the Noah's Ark mystery is repeated 
in far higher degree in " Back and sides go bare." 1 
This song is so thoroughly English and popular 
that it is hardly enough to say that the dramatist 
was catering to the tastes of his audience; it is 
much more probable, as many have suggested, that 
here he borrowed a song directly from the people. 
The lyric has every appearance of such an origin. 

Few better illustrations could be found of certain 
meanings of the term lyrical. This song is lyrical 
in the sense that it suggests music, and demands 
an oral, if not a musical, expression. The strong 
rhythm and the power of the accent in the line 
create a constant tendency in the reader to recite 
it. It is rather remarkable that this musical sug- 
gestion is choral ; the poet has expressed the effect 
of many voices. In the portrayal of character the 
song is subjectively lyrical. The point of view of 
the singer and of his wife Tib, as to what human 
happiness consists of, is unmistakable. 

But what has made the song so long-lived is 
probably its happy combination of individual and 
typical human nature. The singer and his wife are 
clearly individuals, yet they stand for all the other 
ale-drinkers, whose voices we hear in the chorus. 
The details which seem at first sight true to the 
individual, such as the old toper's complaint of 

1 Bullen, Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan 
Age, London, 1901, p. 3. 


dyspepsia, are really as properly descriptive of the 
class. The domestic pictures, also, make their ap- 
peal largely because they are typical of a certain 
kind of home, where animal comfort is the stand- 
ard: — 

" I love no roast but a nutbrown roast, 
And a crab laid in the fire ; 
A little bread shall do me stead, 
Much bread I not desire. 
No frost nor snow, no wind, I trow, 
Can hurt me if I would, 
I am so wrapt and thoroughly lapt 
Of jolly good ale and old." l 

Damon and Pithias, of approximately the same 
date, belongs to the academic, unacted drama. Its 
author was Richard Edwards, the miscellany poet, 
and it is interesting as containing several lyrics of 
the miscellany type. The subject of the play was 
such as would induce the sentimental style of 
writing, and with the miscellany poet sentiment or 
pathos called for a combination of moralizing and 
tearing of hair. The result, from the lyric stand- 
point, is not important. The stage direction, how- 
ever, for one of the lyrics, throws light on the 
manner in which the songs were performed. "Here 
Pithias sings and the regals play." 2 The regals 
were a kind of organ; the actor then sang his 
part with some kind of harmonized accompani- 

1 Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, p. 4. 

2 Dodsley, Old Plays, Hazlitt, iv. p. 43. 


In the Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, 
there is a pedler's song which seems quite realis- 
tic. It answers exactly to the early Norman exam- 
ple already quoted. 1 It is not used by a pedler in 
the play, but by other characters masquerading as 
pedlers. In such a situation it would be natural 
that some familiar formulas of the trade should be 
recalled. These lines are so like the hawker's cry 
that they have not even the literary dress of rime : — 

44 What lack ye ? what lack ye ? 
What is it you will buy ? 
Any points, pins or laces ? 
Any laces, points or pins ? 
Fine gloves, fine glasses, etc." a 

The Misfortunes of Arthur, 1587, also of the 
academic. drama, returns to the use of the so-called 
chorus. After each act the chorus sums up the 
events, moralizing upon them, and points to the 
logical result in each case. In the same moral 
tone is the speech of the Nuntius or messenger 
at the beginning of each act. This dramatic prefix 
and suffix serve each the same purpose, and differ 
only in name. As the action of the tragedy pro- 
ceeds, however, the chorus becomes more lyrical, 
and its kinship with miscellany themes is revealed. 
The chorus at the end of the third act is in praise 
of the quiet life ; 8 that after the first scene of the 
fifth act is on the vicissitudes of fortune. 4 The 

* See above, chap. ii. p. 33. 8 Ibid., p. 313. 

a Dodsley, Old Plays, Hazlitt, viii. p. 161. * Ibid., p. 335. 



temper of popular literature seems incongruous in 
the foreign dress of the classic chorus. 

The transition period of the lyric from th'e mo- 
ralities to the Elizabethan drama ends with John 
Lyly's Alexander and Campaspe, 1684. Lyly's 
use of the lyric, and the style in which he wrote 
it, are almost more important than his plays. His 
writings express the Romance sense of art in all its 
ornateness and delicacy, and the first conspicuous 
trait of his lyrics is their advance in richness and 
fineness of feeling over their more English prede- 
cessors. More important, perhaps, is the feet that 
lily's plays were written for the Bevels and acted 
by' the choristers of St. Paul's or of the Chapel 
Royal ; he had no English groundlings to enter- 
tain. While adopting the English use of the orna- 
mental song, rather than the scholarly chorus, he 
was free to draw on mythology and literature for 
his themes, and to treat them with the literary 
grace of the Italian or French poets. 

The effect of this is twofold. So far as Lyly 
himself is concerned, his songs are lyrical in only 
a literary sense. They have great verbal melody 
and rhythm, but they are complete without music 
— especially without Elizabethan music. The 
vigorous pulse of popular song does not beat here ; 
the qualities of skilful structure and versification 
are such as can best be appreciated on the printed 
page. So far as the drama in general is concerned, 
however, Lyly's songs had a good influence. They 


set an example of regular versification and verbal 
delicacy such as was unknown before. To state 
it in other words, while leaving undisturbed the 
English inspiration of stage-songs, Lyly intro- 
duced a literary instead of a popular treatment 
of the themes. The drama after him supplied 
English literature, on an average, with much better 
songs than could be found in any miscellany ex- 
cept Tottel's, or in any song-books except Cam- 

One of Lyly's most successful and typical lyrics 
appeared in higf first play, Alexander and Cam- 
paspe : — i 

" Cupid and my Campaspe played 
At cards for kisses — Cupid paid, etc. " 1 

This poem illustrates the literary, non-musical 

quality of Lyly's songs. There is in it none of 

the emotion that music expresses. Lyric ecstasy 

is supplanted by a contemplative delight in pure 

beauty. The subject is idyllic, but the unity of 

the single picture is here represented by the unity 

of a single episode. When the whole picture is 

before the reader in its beauty of detail, and in 

the significance of Campaspe's victory, when she 

wins Cupid's eyes and leaves him blind — the 

poet does indeed express a personal reaction 

against this stimulus: — 

*' Love ! has she done this to thee ? 
What shall, alas ! become of me ? " 

i Bullen, Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan 
Age, p. 5. 


But the reader's interest has been awakened in the 
luxurious little scene between the lady and the 
god; the poet's emotion counts for almost nothing. 

The spring-song in the same play deserves a 
passing word, because of its use of English bird- 
images. The connection between the first blossom 
of the year and the first song of birds is obvious 
in every literature, but in Elizabethan poetry it 
received what for English literature is its charac- 
teristic expression. In this early example the 
nightingale, the lark, the robin, and the cuckoo 
- sing in chorus. 

Endymion, 1591,*contain8 a fairy song, an illus- 
tration of the short motor used for supernatural 
expression. As might be supposed beforehand, 
it is the dainty rather than the malignant side of 
fairy-lore that appeals to Lyly; in his earliest 
song of this kind we detect a conception hardly 
less fine than Shakspere's Ariel. This lyric also 
illustrates one of the earliest combinations of Eng- 
lish folk-lore with appreciative literary handling : — 

" Pinch him, pinch him, black and blue, 
Saucy mortals must not view 
What the queen of stars is doing, 
Nor pry into our fairy wooing. 
Pinch him blue — 
And pinch him black — 
Let him not lack 
Sharp nails to pinch him blue and red, 
Till sleep has rocked his addlehead." 2 

1 Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, p. 6. 

2 Ibid., p. 10. 


Midas, 1592, contains a description of a woman, 
such as the romances or the sonnet-series usually 
include. An ornate description of beauty appealed 
particularly to Lyly's genius, and this song, " My 
Daphne's hair is twisted gold," 1 represents the 
conventional love-song at its best. Not one of the 
details of Daphne's beauty but is copied from other 
literary descriptions, yet the poet makes them all 
his own by the original charm of his manner. 
Moreover, the luxury of such descriptions in the 
romances is here amply counteracted by Lyly's 
fine taste, and by the idyllic, cameo nature of his 
lyric genius. 

The bacchanalian lyric in Mother Bombie, 1594, 
is in strong contrast to the English drinking-song. 
The fact that Lyly sings the praises of wine 
instead of ale shows the literary rather than real- 
istic source of his inspiration. Under the Tudors 
ale became the favorite drink of the people. The 
importation of wines from France and from Spain 
was interrupted and curtailed by the wars with 
those countries; and the introduction simultane- 
ously of spices from the Orient, and of improved 
brewing methods from Flanders, brought ale into 
sudden and lasting popularity. 2 But aside from 
this point of realism, Lyly's song is un-English. 
He uses the machinery of the Italian drinking- 

i Ibid., p. 12. 

8 Society in the Elizabethan Age, Hubert HaU, London, 1886, 
p. 76. 

song, in which Bacchus and his followers are 
prominent images of the poet/s moods, Instead of 
representing an English scene of Conviviality in 
any real form, he simply restates the mythical 
point of view: — 

, "Io,*Bacchus! To thy table 

Thou callest every drunken rabble ; 
We already are stiff drinkers, 
Then seal us far thy jolly atdnkem 

Wine, O wine, 

O juice de vine, 
How dost thou the nowle refine I." etc. 1 

This flay contains also one of Lyly's best known 
songs, "0 Cupid! monarch over kings V* It differs 
from the other examples of his ornate lyrics in the 
satiric hit at women which concludes it. The song 
is one of the occasional revolts against the strictly 
chivalric mood, which continue though faintly the 
tradition of the Middle English satiric song. 

The songs in George Peele's dramas resemble 
the lyrics in the romances. They incline toward 

i Cf. the chorus from Poliziano's Orfeo, 1471: — 

" Ciascun sequa, O Bacco, te; 

Bacco, Bacco, oe*, o6\ 
Di corimbi e di verd' edere 
Cinto il capo abbiam cosi, 
per servirti a tuo richiedere 
festeggiando notte e di. 
Ogna beva ; Bacco e qui ; 
e lasciate beve a me ; 

Ciascun sequa, O Bacco, te," etc. 

2 Bullen, Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, 
p. 16. 


ambitious structure, yet they have always a certain 
lightness of tone. Most of them lack lyric form. 
A good example of their complicated structure is 
the duet between Paris and (Enone in the Arraign- 
merit of Paris, 1584. (Enone sings one stanza, 
then Paris sings one, then both together; this 
order is repeated for the second part of the song. 
The opening stanzas give a good idea of the lyrical 
quality of the whole : — 

Oenone. "Fair and fair, and twice so fair ; 
As fair as any maybe ; 
The fairest shepherd on our green, 
A love for any lady. 

Paris. Fair and fair, and twice so fair, 
As fair as any maybe ; 
Thy love is fair for thee alone, 
And for no other lady ! " 1 

Peele's name in lyric poetry always suggests the 
song from Polyhymnia, 1590, "His golden locks 
time hath to silver turned." 2 This lyric owes 
something of its present popularity to Thackeray's 
quotation of it in the Newcomes, but it is good 
enough to stand on its own merits. It is one of 
Peele's few songs that have lyric unity. The 
motive of time's changes introduced in the first 
line is continued throughout; it is illustrated by 
the change in the warrior's appearance from the 
beauty of youth to the decay of age; then it is 
imaged in the warrior's change of occupation, from 

* Works of George Peele, A. H. Bullen, 1888, i. p. 20. 
*Ibid. t ii.p. 302. 


war to peace, from love-songs to prayers; then 

finally, in contrast, the devotion to his. sovereign 

remains unchangeable : — 

u Though from court to cottage he depart, 
His saint is sure of his unspotted heart." 

The Old Wives' Tale, 1595, contains a harvest- 
song, one of the first examples of what seems a 
favorite type with the dramatists. Usually it is 
taken almost directly from life; by the rudeness 
of phrases and the simplicity of ideas the poet 
attempts realism. Here, however, Peele carries 
over the images into another sphere: — 

" Lo, here we come a-sowing, a-sowing, 
And sow sweet fruits of love." x 

Thomas Nashe's Summer's Last Will and Testa- 
ment, 1600, has a number of fine songs. The tradi- 
tion of the English spring-song, which we have 
seen represented in Lyly, is here carried on by 
"Spring, the sweet spring, is the year's pleasant 
king." 2 The singing of the birds is made more 
than usually important by the imitation of them 
in the refrain. Several phrases, as well as the 
general spirit of this lyric, suggest Shakspere's 
"It was a lover and his lass." The date of As You 
Like It is probably 1599, 3 almost the same year as 
Nashe's drama ; it is impossible to tell which poet 
imitated the other. 

i Works, i. p. 314. 2 Dodsley, Old Plays, Hazlitt, viii. p. 23. 

8 For convenience, the dates given for Shakspere's plays 
follow Sidney Lee's Life of Shakspere, and the disputed author- 
ship of some songs is not discussed. 


There is a harvest-song of the type referred to in 
the preceding paragraphs. It seems to be more or 
less a transcription from some rude rimes of the 
country folk : — 

" Hooky, hooky, we have shorn, 
And we have bound, 
And we have brought Harvest 
Home to town." 1 

There is, of course, no opportunity in a stanza of 
this length for lyric development. Throughout 
the Elizabethan drama occur examples of this kind 
of undeveloped lyric atom — usually in quotations 
from popular ballads or from folk-songs. 

The most remarkable lyrics in this play . are 
those which, while mourning departed summer and 
approaching winter, voice a curious note of pessi- 
mism, even pf despair. The best example is the 
lyric, "Adieu; farewell earth's bliss," 2 with its 
curious refrain taken from the Litany. In theme 
this is but a statement of the miscellany motive, 
that life is uncertain; but Nashe, by the poignancy 
of the grief expressed, raises his poem far above 
miscellany standards. The central motive is stated 
in the first lines : — 

u Adieu ; farewell earth's bliss, 
This life uncertain is." 

This truth is illustrated in the second stanza by 
the image of the rich man unable to buy health ; in 
the third stanza by the image of beauty worn down 

1 Dodsley, Old Plays, Hazlitt, viii. p. 49. * Ibid., p. 78. 

with wrinkles ; in the fourth stanza by the image 
of Hector's strength become helpless food for 
worms; and in the fifth stanza by the image of 
wit silenced by death. The lyric is full of Hie 
horror of pestilence; probably it, as well as its 
companion songs, " Autumn hath all the summer's 
fruitful treasure," 1 and "Fair summer droops, droop 
men and beasts therefore," * was inspired by the 
plague of 1592. 

Thomas Kyd's Cornelia, translated from the 
Trench poet Garnier, contains several choruses of 
the classic kind already noticed. Kyd's examples 
are almost the best that we hare met, but it is 
fairly certain that his drama was never acted. 
The chorus on fortune, a true miscellany subject, 
has considerable dignity : — 

" Fortune in power imperious 
Used o'er the world and worldlings thus 

To tyrannize ; 
When she hath heapt her gifts on us 

Away she flies," etc. 8 

Kyd is certainly not a song-writer, in the sense 
that Campion or Nashe is, but his perfectly ade- 
quate literary art makes his commonplace themes 
often very effective. As the tone he adopts is, from 
the nature of his subjects, dogmatic or gnomic, he 
has little opportunity for lyric form ; he teaches his 
lesson, whether of fortune or of human frailty, 

i Old Plays, p. 89. * Ibid., p. 20. 

« Works of Thomas Kyd, F. S. Boas, Oxford* 1901, p. 132. 


without any emotion at all, except what may be 
excited in his readers by the pleasure of his rather 
good verses. r 

Thomas Dekker, like Kyd, has something of the 
old gnomic subject-matter, but he is a truer singer. 
Two songs of his, from Patient Grissell, 1599, are 
especially beautiful, and show that if he lacked the 
harmonious strength of the great lyrists, he was at 
least master of melody. The first of these songs, 
" Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers ? " 
is an ornate praise of the simple life. It is full 
of musical cadences, got from the repetition of 
phrases : — 

" Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers ? 

O sweet content ! 
Art thou rich, yet is thy mind perplexed ? 

O punishment 1 
Dost thou laugh to see how fools are vexed 
To add to golden numbers, golden numbers ? 
O sweet content ! O sweet O sweet content ! " etc. 1 

The same qualities, on a smaller scale, appear in 
the second song, a lullaby, " Golden slumbers kiss 
your eyes." 2 

In Shakspere's songs we have the highest develop- 
ment of the lyric in the drama. As the plays be- 
came less narrative and more dramatic, there was 
less and less room for long lyrics. In Shakspere 
the songs are quite short, yet they are well de- 
veloped and have perfect lyric form. "Who is 

i Prose Works, A. B. Grosart, 1886, y. p. 121. 
*Ibid., y % .p. 193. 

Silvia/' in Two Gmtlemen of Verona, 1591, is one 

of the best In external structure it follows the 

song in Astrophel and Stella : — 

•* Who if it tuat this oar* night 
Underneath my window ptemeth? ,, i 

The first two lines of each stanza ask a ques- 
tion, which is answered in the last three, This 
antiphonal effect is heightened by the alternate use 
of , iambic and trochaic lines. In the first stanza 
Silvia is found to have beauty of soul, of body, and 
of mind — "Holy, fair, and wise is she." 1 In the 
second stanza she is praised for her courtesy of 
manner and for her willingness to love. In the 
last stanza the poet sums up her praises in a 
cadence which is rarely found in any other singer. 
His songs all end with a fall of emotion and of verbal 
melody which has the effect of absolute finality. 

Love's Labour's Lost, 1591, is full of fine songs. 
There is an example of the French romance, such 
as we found in Breton's contribution to the song- 
books. 8 Shakspere varies the theme slightly; in- 
stead of overhearing two lovers in dispute, he finds 
Love enamored of a blossom : — 

" On a day — alack the day ! — 
Love, whose month is ever May, 
Spied a blossom, passing fair, 
Playing in the wanton air," etc. 4 

1 Arber's English Garner, i. p. 578. 

3 Bullen, Songs from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, 
p. 31. 8 See above, chap. vii. p. 241. 

4 Bullen, Songs from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, 
p. 36. 


The two songs that conclude the play, on summer 
and on winter respectively, are realistic pictures of 
English life, as concrete in their own way as the 
drinking-song, "Back and sides go bare." The 
spring-song makes traditional employment of birds 
and flowers in its images ; the cuckoo is taken as 
the typical bird of the season. The winter-song is 
more interesting for its idyllic pictures, but other- 
wise it closely parallels the preceding lyric. The 
owl's screech takes the place of the song-birds, and 
icicles hang where the flowers bloomed. The effect 
of outdoor cold and fireside comfort is vividly 
portrayed : — 

" When all around the wind doth blow, 
And coughing drowns the parson's saw, 
And birds sit brooding in the snow, 
And Marian's nose looks red and raw, 
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl, 
Then nightly sings the staring owl." 1 

To mention all of Shakspere's songs would be 
impossible here. It will be sufficient to note their 
general character. They divide themselves into 
two types — regular stanza-forms with strong popu- 
lar rhythms, and irregular cadences, in which the 
great poet achieves his most individual effects. Of 
the first class a good illustration is from Much Ado, 
1599. Both stanzas, with the refrain, correspond 
exactly to each other ; it will be necessary to quote 
but one. The tendency toward a strongly marked 

i Ibid., p. 36. 

cesura, or even toward an internal rime, character- 
izes all popular stage-songs, from Gammer Garten's 
Needle to Hamlet : — 

" Sigb no more, ladies, sigh no more ; 

Men were deceivers ever; 
One foot in sea and one on shore, 

To one thing constant never ; 
Then sigh not so, hut let them go* 

And he you blithe and bonny, 
Converting all your songs of woe 

Into Hey nonny, nonny." 1 

The well-known songs from Twelfth Night t of the 
same year, " mistress mine, where are you roam- 
ing," * and " Come away ? come away, death," 3 are 
restatements of old miscellany themes, but the 
poet's genius makes them seem quite new. The 
first, divested of its melody and images, is simply 
the " carpe diem " motive ; the second is the threat 
of the rejected lover to court untimely death. The 
song from As Ton Like It, 1599, " It was a lover 
and his lass " 4 is more obviously in line with the 
Eomance pastourelle; the lovers meet in the fields ; 
their wooing is described, together with the song 
which they sing. The poet concludes with a re- 
statement of the Eenascence motive that life is but 
a flower, whose springtime should be enjoyed ere 
it passes. 

The most remarkable of Shakspere's regular 
lyrics is also the shortest. It is the song, "Take, 

1 Songs from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, p. 43. 
* Ibid., p. 46. » Ibid., p. 46. * Ibid., p. 61. 


take, those lips away," from Measure for Measure, 
1604. It is really too short to portray a developed 
emotion, but it succeeds admirably in expressing a 
mood. Its chief value, however, is its wonderful 
sweetness. No song in the Elizabethan period has 
more of the emotional quality of music. The sad- 
ness, which characterizes it, is got as much from the 
sound of the words as from their meaning. How 
unique the song is may well be seen by comparing 
the stanza added by Fletcher in the Bloody Brother, 

Of the irregular songs, the first example is in 
the Merchant of Venice, 1594, "Tell me where is 
fancy bred." It is divided in subject between a 
question and its answer; in external form this 
division is represented by two stanzas of four and 
of six lines. Properly the first division intro- 
duces the motive, and the second develops it. The 
cadence noticed as characteristic of Shakspere's 
songs is here well illustrated: — 

" Tell me where is fancy bred, 
Or in the heart or in the head ? 
How begot, how nourished ? 
Reply, reply. 

It is engendered in the eyes, 
With gazing fed ; and fancy dies 
In the cradle where it lies ; 
Let ns all sing fancy's knell : 
I'll begin it — Ding, dong, bell. 
Ding, dong, bell." l 

i Ibid., p. 41. 

''Hark! hark! the lark," from CynteHne, 1610, ifl 
probably the best known of all Shakspere's songs. 
The image which forms its chief charm is the very 
keynote of Shakspere's lyric mood. It should be 
noticed that this is a perfect example of the 
aubdde, or morning-song of a lover to his lady. 
The conditions under which Cloten has it song in 
the play agree entirely with its traditional setting. 
In lyric form the song is vary quickly developed. 
The stimulus of the dawn is pictured in the first 
lines; the awakening of the world is imaged in 
the sun-touched flowers; then the lover's emotion 
resolves into a cry to his lady to awake. The song 
comes to its logical end in the word, " Arise!" 
repeated twice. 

Of Shakspere's numerous witch-songs the best is 
the famous trio of the witches in Macbeth, 1606. 1 
It has the short lines and the almost doggerel 
movement of the supernatural songs in the mys- 
teries. It is interesting to notice that the method 
employed for effecting emotions of horror — a 
simple enumeration of fearful images — is some- 
what cognate to the way in which, on the mystery 
stage, the devils attempt an effect of terror. T ne 
methods of all these supernatural scenes, and, con- 
sequently, of the lyrics they include, were probably 
evolved naturally from the folk-lore of the people 
and from the exigencies of the Elizabethan stage. 

From Shakspere's great contemporary, Ben Jon- 

1 Songs from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, p. 54. 


son, the lyric received a strictly literary treatment, 
which marked its decline as a practical song. Jon- 
son's lyrics must be read to be fully appreciated ; 
their melody is not so important as their careful 
structure. They are generally of a very regular 
pattern, each stanza answering syllable for syllable 
with its fellows; Jonson's Greek training would 
naturally make him disapprove of such irregular 
forms as Shakspere employed. One of the most 
popular songs, which, however, is steeped in classi- 
cal rather than in English feeling, is the hymn to 
Diaria from Cynthia's Revels, 1600: — 

" Queen and huntress, chaste and fair, 

Now the sun is laid to sleep, 

Seated in thy silver chair, 

State in wonted manner keep ; 
Hesperus entreats thy light, 
Goddess excellently bright, etc/' x 

The lyric emotion in Jonson never burns very 
bright; he is an intellectual artist rather than a 
singer. This quality also takes his lyrics out of the 
sphere of practical song, and makes them the model 
of Herrick's most carefully wrought poems. One il- 
lustration, indeed, from the Silent Woman, 1609, fore- 
stalls Herrick,not only in manner, but in theme: — 

' u Give me a look, give me a face, 

That makes simplicity a grace ; 
Rohes loosely flowing, hair as free : 
Such sweet neglect more taketh me 
Than all the adulteries of art ; 
They strike my eyes, but not my heart." a 
* Ibid., p. 62. a Ibid., p. 70. 



Beaumont and Fletcher frequently make the 
same popular appeal as Shakspere does, but they 
also show at times the literary tendency of Jonson. 
The Maid's Tragedy f produced about 1611, contains 
illustrations of both sides of their art. The three 
bridal songs are classical in feeling and literary 
structure; the need or the presence of a musical 
accompaniment is not felt* A stanza from the first 
is typical : — 

44 Cynthia, to thy power and thee 

We obey. 
* Joy to this great company ! 
And no day 
Come to steal this night away, 

Till the rites of love he ended. 
And the lusty bride moo in say, 
Welcome light, of all befriended I " * 

On the other hand, Aspasia's song has the Tin- 
academic emotional value of many of Shakspere's 
lyrics, and its form is simple. It is lyrical not 
only in the sense of being musical, but also in the 
modern sense of expressing personality : — 

44 Lay a garland on my hearse 

Of the dismal yew ; 
Maidens, willow branches bear ; 

Say, I died true. 
My love was false, but I was firm 

From my hour of birth. 
Upon my buried body lie 

Lightly, gentle earth 1 " a 

i Song8/rom the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, p. 104. 
2 Ibid., p. 106. 




To notice all the varieties of stanza or of rhythm 
in the Elizabethan lyric would be impossible here ; 
it will be enough to mention the most typical and the 
most unusual forms. In TotteVs Miscellany the lack 
of rhythmic variety is astonishing, only the iambic 
measures being used; the stanza-forms, however, 
are numerous. The most important, the sonnet, 
here enters the literature for the first time, and 
even within the scope of Tottel's book we can see 
how quickly it settled into its accepted Elizabethan 
form. Wyatt, the first sonneteer, follows the 
Petrarchan models closely. The octave of his 
sonnets seldom varies from the scheme abba, abba. 
Perhaps because of his epigrammatic genius, he 
shows a fondness for a final couplet in the sextet. 
To achieve this effect he employs several rime- 
schemes, cdcdee, 1 cdccdd, 2 or cddcee. 3 This last 
construction is fairly typical, and deserves an 
illustration : — 

* Arber Reprint, p. 36. a Ibid., p. 33. * Ibid., p. 70. 



(( Farewell, Love, and all thy lawes for even 
Thy bay ted hokes shall tangle me no more. 
Senec and Plato call me from thy lore ; 
To parfit wealth my wit for to endever. 
In blinde errour when I dyd parsever ; 
Thy sharp repulse , that pricketh aye so sore ; 
Taught me in trifles that I net no store ; 
But scape forth thence ■ since libertie is lever, 

Therefore, farewell ; go trouble yonger har tea ; 
And in me claiine no more auc tori tie ■ 
With ydle youth go use thy propartfe ; 
And thereon spend thy many brittle dartea. 
For, hytherto though I have lost my tyme ; 
Me lyst no lenger rotten bowea to clime*" 

Wyatt shows a disposition to reduce the number 
of rimes ; in one sonnet lie allows himself bat 
three, 1 and in a fourteen-line combination, not 
properly a sonnet, he uses but two.* 

Surrey departs at once from Wyatt's strict 
models. His favorite form is the English sonnet 
of three quatrains and a couplet. He, too, prefers 
a small number of rimes, and makes two sonnets on 
three rimes, 8 and one on two. 4 Grimald uses Sur- 
rey's form, but with seven rimes, and as this is 
the form afterward practised by Shakspere, it is 
selected for illustration, instead of Surrey's ; — 

" By heavens hye gift, incase revived were 
Lysip, Apelles, and Horner the great ; 
The most renownd and ech of them sance pere, 
In graving, paintyng, and the Poets feat ; 

i Arber Reprint, p. 62. » Ibid., pp. 10, 22. 

2/6id.,p.53. *I6id.,p.4. 


Yet could they not, for all their vein divine, 
In marble, table, paper more, or lesse, 
With cheezil, pencil, or with poyntel fyne, 
So grave, so paynt, or so by style expresse 
(Though they beheld of every age and land 
The fayrest books, in every toung comtrived, 
To fraym a fourm, and to direct their hand) 
Of noble prince the lively shape descrived : 
As, in the famous woork, that Eneids hight, 
The naamkouth Virgil hath set forth in sight. " 1 

Among the longer verse-forms, the "poulter's 

measure" — alternate alexandrines and septena- 

ries — is most frequently used. This favorite 

meter of the early Elizabethans needs a line or two 

of quotation for future identification : — 

" When sommer toke inland the winter to assail, 
With force of might, and vertue gre.t, his stormy blasts to 

And when he clothed faire the earth about with grene, * 
And every tree new garmented, that pleasure was to 

sene," etc. 8 

In this miscellany the heroic couplet is used, 8 as 
well as rimed septenaries, 4 and there are several 
examples of pentapody quatrains — the later ele- 
giac measure. 5 

In several of his epigrams Wyatt uses the rime- 
scheme of the Italian rispetto, abdbabcc. This form, 
destined to become famous in narrative poetry as 
the ottava rima, is especially interesting here be- 
cause of its reappearance along with the madrigal 
in the song-books : — 

i Ibid., p. 102. «/&id.,p.98. « J6id., p. ia 

*J&u*.,p.7. *Z6id.,p. 201. 



li Syghea are my foode ; my drink are my teares. 
Clinkying of letrers would such Musick crave, 
Stink and close ayer away my life it weares. 
Pore innocence is all the hope I have, 
Rayn, winde, or wether judge I by mine earea. 
Malice assaultes, that righteousne&se should have. 
Sure am I, Bryan, this wound shall heale again ; 
But yet alas, the skarre shall still remayn." 1 

The Italian terza rvma t riming aba, bcb, cdc, etc., 
with a final quatrain, xyxy } is used by both Wyatt 
and Surrey, Surrey uses it in his Description of 
the restlesse state of a lover ; — 

"The sonne hath twice brought forth his tender grene* 
And clad the earth in lively lust-mease ; 
Ones have the windes the trees despoiled dene, 
And new again begins their erueinesse, 
Since I have hid under my brest the harm 
That never shall recover healthfulnesse. 
The winter's hurt recovers with the warm**' etc 3 

In one lyric Wyatt uses the rime-royal, Chaucer's 

great stanza. The rime-scheme of this form is 

ababbcc : — - *• 

44 They flee from me, that sometime did me seke 
With naked fote stalkyng within my chamber, 
Once have I seen them gentle, tame and meke, 
That now are wild and do not once remember 
That sometyme they have put themselves in danger, 
To take bread at my hands, and now they range, 
Busily sekyng in continual change." 8 

Throughout TotteVs Miscellany short lines are 
used in various familiar combinations. Wyatt 
excels in grouping such lines into stanzas of lyric 

i Arber Reprint, p. 82. * Ibid., p. 3. * Ibid., p. 40. 


grace; his skill in this direction largely explains 
his marked song-quality. The illustration is quoted 
from one of his best known songs : — 

" My lute awake performe the last 
Labour that thou and I shall waste ; 
And end that I have now begonne ; 
And when this song is song and past, 
My lute be still, for I have done." l 

The poetic Eenascence, illustrated by all these 
lyrics, worked a great reform in the substitution of 
short lines for the old septenaries and alexandrines. 
In the anonymous lyrics of this first miscellany, the 
new and the old styles of verse appear frequently 
in the same stanza. One example has an unusual 
combination of alexandrines and tetrapodies : — 

u The wisest way, thy bote, in wave or winde to guie, 
Is neither still the trade of middle streame to trie ; 
Ne (warely shunning wrecke by wether) aye to nie, 

To presse upon the perillous shore. 
Both clenely -flees he filthe ; ne wonnes a wretched wight, 
In carlish coate ; and caref ull court aie thrall to spite, 
With port of proud astate he leves ; who doth delight, 

Of golden meane to hold the lore." 2 

The second miscellany, the Paradise of Dainty 
Devices, contains several elaborate combinations of 
long and short lines. The d£bat, mentioned before, 4 
is interesting for its anapesfcic rhythm : — 

" A. Shall I no way win you, to grant my desire ? 
B. What woman will grant you, the thing you require," 
etc. 8 

i Ibid., p. 64. a Ibid., p. 255. « Collier's Reprint, p. 106. 

4 See above, p. 83. 


A good example of elaborate stanza is found in a 
love-plaint* Of the twelve lines, the first four are 
alexandrines^ the second four are alternate alexan- 
drines and septenaries, the third four are tetrapodies, 
and the whole stanza is followed by a refrain ; — 

w Each thing T plainly see whose vertues may availe, 
To ease the pinching paine* which gripes the growing wight ; 
By fhisicks sacred skin, whose rule doth seldom fayle, 
Through labours long inspect, is plainly brought to light. 
I know, there is no fruite, no leafe, no roote r no rind, 
No her be, no plant, no Joyce, no gumme t no metal deeply 

mined ; 
No Pearle, no precious stone, no Jeme of rare effect, 
Whose ?ertues, learned Gall ens bookes at large do not 
Yet al their force can not appease, 
The furious fittea of my disease ; 
Nor any drags of phisikes art. 
Can ease the grief e that gripes my hart. 
Oh strange disease. 9 • 1 

The third miscellany, the Chrgeous Gallery of 
Gallant Inventions, shows an increased freedom of 
rhythm ; several of the lyrics are in anapestic or 
dactylic lines. In the song "Not light-of-love, 
lady," which is written to fit a popular tune, the 
dactylic lines are evidently necesdtated by the 
music; it is also evident that the original words 
of this tune must have been in the same rhythm. 
A number of songs in the book have refrains; 
one famous anapestic example has a refrain after, 
every line: — 

1 Collier's Reprint, p. 64. 


" My love, what mislyking in mee do you finde, 

Sing all of greene willow ; 
That on such a sudden you alter your minde, 

Sing willow, willow, willow ; 
What cause doth compell you so fickle to bee ? 

Willow, willow, willow, willow ; 
In hart which you plighted, most loyall to me, 

Willow, willow, willow, willow." x 

The Pfioenix Nest has several examples of trochaic 
rhythm and of refrains. One lyric by Thomas 
Lodge is written in trochaic tetrapodies, with femi- 
nine rimes and a jef rain of two lines : — 

u Now I find, thy looks were fained, 
Quickly lost, and quicklie gained ; 
Soft thy skin, like wooll of wethers, 
Hart unstable, light as feathers ; 
Toong untrustie, subtill-sighted ; 
Wanton will with change delighted, 

Sirene pleasant, foe to reason ; 

Cupid plague thee, for this treason ! " * 

In one poem an attempt is made at a verse of 

but one accent, as in this stanza : — 

" Her face 
So faire 
First bent 
Mine eye," etc. 8 

England's Helicon is very rich in stanzaic effects, 
most of which are got from variations of simple 
forms. The number of trochaic verses is larpr 
There is one echo-song, in which the import 
word, falling at the end of the line, is repeated 
an echo : — 

i Ibid., p. 105. a Ibid., p. 73. » Ibid., p. 9:» 



Shall we go dance the hay ? the hay? 
Never pipe could better play 

better shepherds Round day. 
Shall we go sing the song? the song?" etc* 

A remarkable example of stanza experiment is 
3 Sheephmrd Faustus his Song, Beginning 
a quatrain, it repeats the first four lines in 
oruer as refrains, one after each of the four follow- 
ing stanzas. 3 Of the more usual combinations of 
lines of various lengths, the following example is 
typical: — 

** Happy shepherds, sit and see, 

With joy, 
The peerless wight ; 
For whose sake Fan keeps from ye 

And gives delight 
Blessing this pleasant spring, 
Her praises must I sing, 
List you swaines, list to me ; 
The while your flocks feeding be." • 

Davidson's Poetical Rhapsody contains an inter- 
esting technical device in the inverted rime, as 
used in the Dialogue Poem of Strephon and Klaius. 
The rime-words of each stanza are repeated, in 
inverted order, in the next : — 

"0 whither shall I turne mee? 
From thine eies sight, 
Whose sparkling light 
With quenchless flames, present and absent burne mee ? 
For I burne whereas I view them, 
And I burne when I eschew them. 

1 Collier's Reprint, p. 222. * Ibid., p. 107. » Ibid., p. 76. 


Since I cannot eschew them, 

But that their light 

Is in my sight, 
Both when I view them not and when I view them, 

Ere their flames will cease to burn me, 

From myself myself must turn me." x 

There are several experiments in the classical 
hexameter, all as unsuccessful as such experiments 
usually are. One of the best is an elegy on 
Sidney : — 

" What can I now suspect? or what can I fear any longer ? 
Oft did I fear, oft hope, whiPst life in Sidney remained. 
Of nothing can I now despaire, for nought can I hope 
for." 2 

There are several examples of a meter called in 
the miscellany " Phaleuciak." Its movement seems 
to be, what the similarity of name might suggest, 
an imitation of the PhcUaecean meter, denoted 
thus: — 

"Time nor place did I want, what held me tongtide? 
What charms, what magical abused altars ? 
Wherefore wisht I so oft that houre unhappy," etc. 8 

The Italian madrigal is represented by several 
examples. This form consisted of two triplets, 
riming usually abbdbb. A concluding couplet is 
often added. In a more elaborate form the madri- 
gal may contain three triplets, or two triplets and 
two couplets. The following illustration is fairly 
simple, but the lines, according to the English 
practice, are of unequal lengths : — 

i Ibid., p. 17. * IHd., p. 162. » Ibid., p. 115. 


u Thine eyes so bright 
Bereft ray sight, 
When first I viewed thy face. 
So now my light 
Is turned to night, 
I stray from place to place. 
Then guide me of thy kindnesse, 
So shall I bless my blindness." l 

TurberviHe's Epitaphs, Epigrams f Songs f and Son- 

nets contains some Interesting stanzas. He uses 

frequently the form abahcc, which became the most 

popular stanza in Elizabethan poetry. 

" Here graved is a good and godly wight, 
That yielded hath her cynders to the soyle, 
Who ran Jur race in venues tylt aright 
And never had at Fortunes hand the foyle ; 
The guide was God whom shee did aye endue, 
And Vertue was the mark whereat she thxue,* 1 a 

In Turberville's lyrics all combinations of alex- 
andrines and septenaries — the "poulter's meas- 
ure" — are printed as quatrains. In one case the 
broken verses are rimed, so as to give the effect of 
the " common meter " of hymnology : — 

44 Your flowers for their hue 
were fresh and fair to see ; 
Yet was your meaning not so true 
as you it thought to bee.^' 8 

One song is written in a most extravagant 

stanza, which has apparently little connection 

with traditional literary models, cr with practical 

song : — 

i Collier's Reprint, p. 114. « Ibid., p. 603. 

* Chalmers's English Poets, ii. p. 587. 


" Of Tantalus plight, 
The poets wright, 
And fayning 
In sorrowful sounding songes. 
Who feeles (they saye) 
For apples gaze 
Such payning 
Not gayning 
The f ruite for which hee longes 
For when hee thinkes to feede thereon, 
The fickle flattering tree is gone ; 
And all in vain hee hopes to have 

This famine to expell 
The flitting f ruite that looks so brave 
And likes his eie so well ; 
And thus his hunger doth increase, 
And hee can never find release." 1 

In the second lyric of the eclogue for August in 
Spenser's Shepheards Calender, the sestina is intro- 
duced into our literature. Spenser employs a 
slightly simpler rime-scheme than is usual in this 
difficult form, but he follows the principle of its 
structure. The sestina consists of six stanzas of 
six lines each, followed by an envoy of three 
lines. The first stanza rimes abedef. In this 
example each stanza begins on the rime of the 
preceding vers*, and then continues the rime-words 
ill their original order. The second stanza there- 
fore rimes fabede, the third efabed, until the 
rime-word a falls last in the line, bedefa. In the 
final triplet, Spenser breaks each verse into three 

i/fcid., p. 590. 


and two stresses so as to repeat the rime-words in 
their original order : — 

" Ye wastefull Woodes ! beare witnesse of my woe 
Wherein my plaints did oftentimes resound ; 
Ye carelesse byrds are privie to my cryes, 
Which in your songs were wont to make a part ; 
Thou, pleasaunt spring, hast luld me oft asleepe, 
Whose streames my tricklinge teares did ofte augment. 

Resort of people doth my greefs augment, 

The walled townes doe worke my greater woe ; 

The forest wide is fitter to resound 

The hollow Echo of my carefull cryes ; 

I hate the house, since thence my love did part, 

Whose waylef ull want debarres myne eyes from sleepe. 

Let stremes of tears supply the place of sleepe ; 
Let all, that sweet is, yoyd ; and all that may augment 
My doole, drawe neare ! more meete to wayle my woe 
Bene the wild woodes, my sorrowes to resound, 
Then bedde or bowre, both which I fill with cryes, 
When I them see so waist, and fynd no part 

Of pleasure past. Here will I dwell apart 
In gastfull grove therefore, till my last sleepe 
Doe close mine eyes ; so shall I not augment 
With sight of such as chaunge my restlesse woe. 
Helpe me, ye banefull byrds, whose shrieking sound 
Ys signe of dreery death, my deadly cryes 

Most ruth fully to tune ; And as my cryes 
(Which of my woe cannot bewray least part) 
You heare all night, when nature craveth sleepe, 
Increase, so let your yrksome yells augment. 
Thus all the night in plaints, the daye in woe, 
I vowed have to wayst, till safe and sound 


She home returne, whose voyces silver sound 
To cheeref ull songs can chaunge my cherelesse cryes. 
Hence with the Nightingale will I take part, 
That blessed byrd, that spends her time of sleepe 
In songs and plaintive pleas, the more t' augment 
The memory of hys misdeede that bred her woe. 

And you that feele no woe, 

When as the sound 

Of these my nightly cryes 

Ye heare apart, 

Let breake your sounder sleepe, 

And pitie augment." x 

A good example of the less complicated stanzas 
in the Shepheards Calender is in the eclogue for 
April. The rhythm employed is iambic, but in 
the shorter verses extra syllables are introduced, 
so as to give the effect of an anapestic movement. 
The stanza of nine lines is composed of verses of 
five, two, and four stresses, in this order : — 

" I see Calliope speede her to the place, 

Where my Goddesse shines ; 
And after her the other Muses trace, 

With their Violines ; 
Bene they not Bay braunches which they do beare, 
All for Eliza in her hand to weare ? 

So sweetely they play, 

And sing all the way, 
That it a heaven is to heare. " 2 

The lyrics in Greene's earlier romances em- 
ploy simple stanzas, usually the familiar ababcc. 
But in Menapkon, 1589, we have one of the most 

1 Works, p. 471. * Ibid* p. 465. 



complicated stanzas of the period. The song, 
u Some say Love," is written in what is but a varia- 
tion of an old rime-scheme, but its effect is quite 
new. If resolved into its essentials, the stanza is 
composed of two quatrains in tetrapodies, followed 
by a pentapody couplet. This is the rime-scheme 
of Sidney's ten-line epigrams, The first, third, 
fifth, and seventh lines, however, are broken by a 
syncopated foot at the second accent j e.o\ ; — 

" Some say Love, foolish Love." 

These broken lines are then treated as two short 
staves, and the two quatrains become expanded 
into twelve lines. The short verses all end in the 
same word — a trick of style that appears, to- 
gether with a fondness for few rimes, in many of 
the highly wrought stanzas of this decade. This 
analysis of the stanza can best be understood in a 
quotation : — 

44 Some say Love, 
Foolish Love, 

Doth rule and govern all the gods ; 
I say Love, 
Inconstant Love, 
Sets men's senses far at odds. 
Some swear Love, 
Smooth-faced Love, 
Is sweetest sweet that men can have. 
I say Love, 
Sour Love, 
Makes virtue yield as beauty's slave ; 


A bitter sweet, a folly worst of all, 

That forceth wisdom to be folly's thrall." 1 

Greene is fond of separating couplets by single 
lines of different length. Many of his elaborate 
stanzas might be resolved into this simple form. 
The best illustration is from this same romance : — 

" Like to Diana in her summer-weed, 
Girt with a crimson robe of brightest dye, 

Goes fair Samela ; 
Whiter than be the flocks that straggling feed, 
When washed by Arethusa Fount they lie, 

Is fair Samela," etc. 2 

Lodge imitates the stanza of " Some say Love" in 
Montanus's sonnet in Rosalind, 1590. He omits 
the concluding couplet, and does not end all the 
broken lines with one word: — 

" Phoebe sat, 
Sweet she sat, 

Sweet sat Phoebe when I saw her, 
White her brow, 
Coy her eye, 

Brow and eye how much you please me ! 
Words I spent, 
Sighs I sent ; 

Sighs and words can never draw her. 
Oh my love, 
Thou art lost, 
Since no sight could ever ease thee." 8 

The short lines have a tendency to paraphrase 
one another, as: — 

1 Bullen, Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, 
p. 237. 2 Ibid., p. 240. « Ibid., p. 268. 


44 Phoebe sat, 
Sweet she sat." 

This tendency was parodied in Tarlton's News out 
of Purgatory : — 

44 Downe I sat, 
I sat downe, 

Where Flora had bestowed her graces ; 
Greene it was, 
It was greene, 
Far passing other places," etc. 1 

Lodge has great skill in managing very simple 
stanzas. In the tetrapody quatrain, for example, 
he has all the grace and variety that distinguishes 
the later Cavalier masters of that slight form : — 

44 Love guards the roses of thy lips 
And flies about them like a bee ; 
If I approach he forward skips, 
And if I kiss he stingeth me." 2 

Sidney's Arcadia contains many interesting ex- 
periments. In one case the expanded sonnet of the 
Italians is imitated by duplicating the final rime of 
each quatrain in the English sonnet form : — 

44 Phoebus farewell, a sweeter saint I serve, 

The high conceits thy heavenly wisdomes breed, 
My thoughts forget ; my thoughts which never swerve 
From her in whom is sowne their freedomes seed, 
And in whose eyes my dainty doome I reede. 

Phoebus farewell, a sweeter saint I serve, 
Thou art far off, thy kingdome is above ; 

1 Lyrics from the Dramatists of the Elizabethan Age, Note, 
p. 285; the parody is quoted in full. 2 Ibid., p. 276. 


The heay'n on earth with beauties doth preserve. 
Thy beames I like, but her cleare rayes I love ; 
Thy force I feare, her force I still doe prove. 

Phoebus yeeld up thy title in my minde ; 
She doth possesse, thy image is defac't, 

But if thy rage some brave revenge will finde, 
On her, who hath in me thy temple rac't, 
Employ thy might, that she my fires may taste. 

And how much more her worth surmounteth thee, 
Make her as much more base by loving me." 1 

Sidney is fond of a ten-line form, used not as a 
stanza, but, like Wyatt's epigrammatic forms, as 
a complete poem. The usual rime-scheme is abab 
cdcd ee; apparently the poet invented the form by 
leaving one quatrain out of the English sonnet : — 

u Come shepheards weedes, become your masters minde ; 
Teeld outward show, what inward change he tryes ; 
Nor be abasht, since such a guest you finde, 
Whose strongest hope in your weak comfort lyes. 
Come shepheards weedes, attend my wofull cryes ; 
Disuse yourselves from sweet Menalcas voyce. 
For other be those tunes which sorrow tyes, 
From those cleere notes which freely may rejoyce. 
Then powre out plaint, and in one word say this ; 
Helplesse his plaint, who spoiles himself of blisse." 2 

The popularity of classical meters is represented 
in Sidney by several curious experiments. He 
attempts a Sapphic strophe ; if the reader has not 
the Greek rhythm in mind, he can hardly learn it 
from such verses as — 

i The Countes8e of Pembroke 1 s Arcadia, 1627, p. 349. 
2JMc*.,p. 64. 




"H mine eyes can speake to doe heartie errand, 
Or mine eyes language she doe bap to judge of, 
So that eyes message be of ber received, 
Hope we do live yet, 11 ! 

A verse of three accents is introduced, described 
as " Anacreon's kind of verses." It is simply a 
combination of unrimed trochee 3 with anacrusis : — - 

11 My muae what ay lea this ardour 
To blaze my only secrets ? 
Alas it is no glory 
To sing mine own decaid state," etc.* 

A more unusual experiment is the lyric in the 
measure known in classical prosody as the Lesser 
Asclepiad, denoted : — 

Here again the reader must have the rhythm in 
mind, in order to find it in such lines as — 

44 O sweet woods the delight of solitarinesse I 

how much do I like your solitarinesse I 
Where mans mind hath a freed consideration 
Of goodnesse to receive lovely direction, etc." 8 

Watson's Hekatompathia employed a variation of 
the sonnet-form similar to that already noted in the 
Arcadia. Watson added a couplet to the first and 
second quatrains, so that they corresponded to the 
sextet ; the whole form then was equivalent to three 
stanzas rimed ababcc : — 

44 Ye poets have done well in times long past, 
To gloze on trifling toyes of little price ; 

1 The Countess of Pembroke* % Arcadia, p. 78. 

2 Ibid., n. ZZI. « Ibid.. t>. 229. 




Why should not I presume to faine as fast, 
Espying forth a ground of good devise ? 
A Sacred Nimph is ground whereon ile writo, 
The fairest Nymph that ever yet saw light. 
And since her song hath fild my eares with joye, 
Hir vertues pleased my minde, hir face my eye, 
I dare aifirme what some will think a toy, 
She Phoenix is, though not of Arabie ; 
And yet the plumes about hir neck are bright, 
And Sol himselfe in her hath chiefe delight. 
You that will know why Sol afoordes her love, 
Seeke but the cawse why Peakocks draw the place, 
When Juno sitts ; why Venus likes the Dove ; 
Or why the Owle befitts Minervas grace ; 
Then yf you grudge, that she to Sol belonge, 
Marke but hir face, and heare hir skill in songe." 1 

Numerous attempts were made in this period to 

adapt alexandrine verses to the sonnet-form. As a 

rule, they were not successful. The alexandrine 

breaks too easily into equal parts, and a fixed 

cesura is fatal to the already limited effects which 

can be obtained from the sonnet. The most famous 

example is the opening sonnet of Astrophel and 

SteUa: — 

44 Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, 
That she, dear she 1 might take some pleasure of my pain ; 
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, 
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain : 
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe, 
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain ; 
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow 
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burnt brain ; 
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay. 
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows ; 

1 Arbor's Reprint, p. 63. 

And others 1 feet still seemed but strangers in my way, 
Thus great with child to speak T and helpless in my throes ; 
Biting my trewand pen, beating myself for spite ; 
1 Fool [ J said my Muse to me, ■ look in thy heart and write P " * 

Barnes uses a sonnet of fifteen lines. The octave 
is regular, but instead of a sextet he substitutes 
the rime-royal: — 

" It cbaunced after, that an youthful squier, 
Such as in courting, could the crafty guise, 
Beheld light Lay a, shee with fresh dealer. 
Hoping th' achievement of some richer prize ; 
Drew to the Courtier, who with tender kisse, 
(As are their guileful fashions which dissemble) 
First him saluted, then with forged bliase 
Of doubUesse hope, sweete wordes by pause did tremble. 
So whiles shee sleightly glossed, with her new pray, 
Mine hartes eye tending his false mistresse traine ; 
Unyoak't himselfe, and closely scaped away, 
And to Parthenope did poast amaine 
For liberal pardon, which she did obtaine ; 
And judge (Parthenope) for thou canst tell, 
That his escape from Lay a, pleased me well." 2 

The sonnet-form of Spenser is probably imitated 
from Cle'ment Marot. Marot has a form similar to 
the terza-rima in being capable of indefinite exten- 
sion. The rime-scheme is dbab, bcbc, cdcd, dede, 
etc. Spenser uses three quatrains thus bound 
together with a concluding couplet: — 

" One day I wrote her name upon the strand ; 
But came the waves, and washed it away ; 
Agayne, I wrote it with a second hand ; 
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray. 

1 Arber's English Garner, i. p. 503. 

2 Grosart's Occasional Issues, 1875, i. p. 3. 


Vayne man, sayd she, that doest in vaine assay 
A mortall thing so to immortalize ; 
For I myselve shall lyke to this decay, 
And eek my name be wyped out lykewize. 
Not so, quod I ; let baser things devize 
To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame ; 
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize, 
And in the hevens write your glorious name. 
Where, whenas death shall all the world subdew, 
Our love shall live, and later life renew." 1 

Barnes introduced the canzone into English lit- 
erature in PartkenopkU and Parthenophe. The 
stanza of this form is divided into two parts, the 
fronte and the sirima. These may be bound to- 
gether by one or more free lines, called concatenazi- 
one. The fronte in turn may be divided into two 
equal parts, called piede, and the sirima into two 
equal parts called volte. The whole poem is fol- 
lowed by an envoy, called the commiato, which in 
the strict Italian form takes the rime-scheme of 
the sirima. 

The stanza of Barnes's first canzon would be 
denoted, first piede, abbe; second piede, baac; 
concatenazione, cd; first volta, dee; second volta, 
dff: - 

" All bewties farre perfections rest in thee, 
And sweetest grace of graces, 
Deckes thy face bove faces ; 
All vertue takes her glorie from thy minde ; 
The muses in thy wittes have their places, 
And in thy thoughts all mercies bee ; 
Thine hart from all hardnesse free ; 

1 Works, p. 684. 

An holy place in thy thoughts holinesse doth flnde ; 
In favorable speech kinde ; 

A sacred tongue and eloquent ; 

Action sweet and excellent ; 
Musique itself in joyntes of her fair fingers is ; 

She chauntresse of singers is \ 
Her plighted faith is finne and permanent. 
now, now, helpe, wilt thou take some compassion ? 
She thinks I flatter, writing on this fashion, 11 1 

The commiato is irregular, having a rime-scheme 
of its own, abhcc ; — 

" Then do no longer despise. 
But with kinde pi tie relent thee, 

Cease to vexe, and torment mee. 
If shame's feare move not* which all disco vers* 

Feare plague of remorseless lovers." a 

1 Giosart, Occasional Issue* , i. p. 96. 

aj&icL p p. 100. 


We have found that the Elizabethan lyric, ex- 
clusive of the songs in the drama, is divided, by the 
conditions of its development, into two periods. 
The first, the pastoral period, extending nearly to 
the end of the sixteenth century, and exercising 
influence in the seventeenth, includes the body of 
lyrics which incline to be pastoral in subject and 
idyllic in method. The second, the period best 
illustrated by the song-books, contains the mass of 
Elizabethan short songs, not generally pastoral in 
subject, and epigrammatic, rather than idyllic, in 

The first is the true Elizabethan period. Cover- 
ing the largest part of Elizabeth's reign, it in- 
cluded not only the work of that group of poets 
who made illustrious her court, but the work of the 
university wits also, and of all those who, through 
any channel of culture, were earliest touched by 
foreign ideals of romance and chivalry. It was the 
time of expansion for the lyrical as well as for the 
national genius of England, and the Continent paid 


tribute to both. The last serge of the Renascence 
brought into English literature the method of the 
idyl, and the mood of the pastoral ■ — the former a 
consequence of the Renascence thirst for beauty, 
satisfied more fully in other lands by the arts of 
color and line, but in England only by word-paint- 
ing ; the latter implicit in the romancing spirit of 
the age, which at almost the same momeut had 
recovered the broad horizons of the older litera- 
tures, and discovered the new Hesperides over- 

This pastoral period might find its typical poet 
either in Sidney or in Greene or in Lodge ? or, above 
all, in Spenser. His serious and lofty spirit rep- 
resents the age with most dignity, and his genius 
was perfectly fitted to its moods and methods. 
His lyrics, typical in this respect of the whole 
period, are long, and tend to break into fragments. 
It is only within the limits of each fragment that 
Spenser achieves lyric unity, and the lyric unit is 
frequently indistinguishable from the single pic- 
ture of a highly wrought idyl. In his lyrics as 
well as in his epic, Spenser, more than any other 
Elizabethan, is the poet of those who admire in 
poetry the methods of painting. 

Perhaps as a result of such methods, Spenser's 
lyrics are all art-lyrics; they need no musical 
accompaniment, and suggest none. In this connec- 
tion it is instructive to reflect how swiftly, — 
almost within the period of this study, — the arts 


of music and poetry become dissociated in the 
lyric. In the manuscript collections of Henry 
VIIFs time, the words and music of the practical 
song supply no more than their share of the total 
effect, and the words are immelodious. With 
Wyatt and Surrey, in spite of their nearness to 
English practical song, the lyric becomes frankly 
literary, and takes to itself the verbal quality of 
music. A parallel is found in their master, Pe- 
trarch, who, though close to the practical song of 
Northern Italy and Provence, exercised his genius 
only in the literary lyric. In Spenser, a final stage 
of the development is reached ; in his lyrics there 
is not even, as in Wyatt and Petrarch, the memory 
nor the suggestion of an original accompaniment of 

This first Elizabethan period is marked by a 
sombre mood. The best known of its lyrics, such 
as are made familiar by the anthologies, give in- 
deed a different impression ; but if the production 
of the period be taken as a whole, the themes are 
found to be no less serious than those of the 
Middle English lyric. Themes like the fickleness 
of fortune, the vanity of human ambition, the bless- 
edness of a quiet life, as clearly expressed in the 
miscellanies as in the Mirror for Magistrates, had no 
doubt a more than conventional meaning after the 
meteoric rise and fall of great men under Henry, 
Mary, and Elizabeth. These serious motives lose 
their force with time; to us they seem less real 


than the slighter themes of courtly love, which 
survive to give us, perhaps a mistaken impression 
of the total lyric activity of the period. 

At the other end of the Elizabethan age, in direct 
contrast to the pastoral lyric, the practical song is 
revived hi the song-books. Though the shortest 
and least characteristic period, it is to general 
readers the best known, Campion's songs rather 
than Spenser's or Sidney's being usually taken as 
the type of Elizabethan lyric/ Just as the pastoral 
lyric made its appeal through word-painting, so 
these later songs make their appeal through word- 
music ; and this quality has led to the serious mis- 
apprehension thai here the musical accompaniment 
makes itself felt. No historian of literature who 
had seen or heard the music in question, eonld 
credit it with such influence. The madrigals and 
the airs did indeed influence the form of the lyric, 
since they determined its length ; but music at this 
time had not yet acquired those qualities which it 
is supposed to have conferred upon poetry. 

The contents of the song-books, though practical 
songs, should be distinguished in one respect from 
the contents of the first manuscript miscellanies. 
If we subtract the number of poems by Dyer, Gre- 
ville, and others, which were adapted to the uses of 
the madrigal writers, and then subtract the transla- 
tions and adaptations from Italian poetry, there 
remains but a modest proportion of these songs 
which were originally written for music. Most of 



them were written simply as poetry, intended to 
appeal through that art alone. Campion, indeed, 
was both musician and poet, but he follows the 
traditions of poetry far more closely than those of 
music. He writes with Sidney and Spenser for his 
predecessors, and inherits their music in his verse. 

The theory that music and poetry separate where 
poetry becomes musical, is illustrated by the fate 
of the manuscript collections of Henry VIII, and of 
the song-books. Until a few years ago, they were 
equally accessible. In the former, the words and the 
music were necessary to each other, so that when 
the music went out of fashion, the words were for- 
gotten. In the latter also, the music became obso- 
lete, but the words, complete in their own art, 
survive as poetry. 

The form of these songs is significant for two 
reasons. In the first place, its comparative short- 
ness was conducive to lyric unity — a formal success 
quite impossible to the idyllic lyrists. Campion's 
songs have the single stimulus, development, and 
cadence, of what we have called ideal lyric form. 
In the second place, the tradition of these short, 
single flights is taken up by Herrick, and through 
his use becomes for English literature in our gener- 
ation the most accredited model of the literary song. 
It is perhaps in vague imitation of Herrick that 
there has grown up a type of pseudo-Elizabethan 
lyric, light in subject, dainty and musical in man- 
ner, and sentimental in mood. The makers of such 

verses, of whom Mr. Austin Dobs on is at times an 
example, are frequently called by the thoughtless 
reviewer, *' stray Elizabethans." 

Between these two periods, dominated by the 
idyllic art-song, and by the Bong-books, sonuet- 
writing should be considered as a transition. <Jon- 
sidered as series, there is little difference between 
the early sequences and the idyllic lyric. We 
found the Amoretti, for example, to resemble in 
structure the ISpithalamium — the sonnet serving 
as the lyric unit in the one case, the stanza in the 
other. But when the sonnet was, written as a sin- 
gle poem, it became the predecessor of the short 
lyric forms of the song-books. This change of char- 
acter, from sonnets as a sequence to sonnets as a 
collection, 4s traceable in the sonnet period itself, 
from 1590 to 1600. The first sequences, like As- 
trophel and Stella, have a definite narrative organ- 
ism. In Parthenophil and Parthenophe, however, 
the structure is loose. Its sonnets are not organi- 
cally related; though grouped under one general 
subject, they are in nature occasional. This method 
of sonnet-collecting branches out toward the end of 
the period into other forms of lyric; in the art- 
lyric the best example is Astrasa, and in the song- 
books, the Triumphs of Oriana. 

Parallel with this more or less literary develop- 
ment of the Elizabethan lyric, though not affected 
by it, is the song in the drama. This, for obvious 
reasons, is always a practical song, and always 


English in sentiment and in manner. The only 
"literary" affectation in the species was the 
academic chorus after the classic model, which 
never took hold of the Elizabethan stage. 

The exigencies of stage presentation demanded 
that the drama-songs be short. On the whole, they 
are shorter than any other lyrics except the epi- 
grammatic madrigals; but however short, they 
are never epigrammatic. They give the impression 
rather of spontaneous, incomplete snatches of song, 
breaking through the restraint of the drama, and 
silenced again by the impatient action. The music 
to which these lyrics were sung, was equally swift 
and simple. There was no time for elaborate mad- 
rigal music, even if the audience could have appre- 
ciated it. 

So much for an outline of the forms in which the 
most charming " lyric cry " of our race was uttered. 
But the secret of the charm, more highly prized 
to-day than ever before, has not yet fallen into the 
hands of criticism. May it still remain a delightful 
mystery 1 



Most of these dates follow those given in the modern editions 
in which the entries are accessible. The editions will be found 
in the Bibliography. Where there is a unique copy, not accessi- 
ble to the author, or where no copy is known, the Dictionary of 
National Biography is followed. 

With the exception of several song-books, and two or three ' 
other entries, these publications may all be consulted in reliable 
editions or reprints. 

1557. TotteVs Miscellany. 

1560. Gorboduc. 

1563. Googe, Barnaby. Eglogs, Epytaphes and Sonettes. 

1566. Gascoigne, George. The Supposes. 
Gammer Gurton's Needle. 

1567. Gascoigne, George. Jocasta. 

Howell, Thomas. Newe Sonets and Pretie Pam- 

1568. Howell, Thomas. Arbor of Amitie. 

1570. Turberville, George. Epitaphs, Epigrams, Songs 

and Sonets. 
1572. Gascoigne, George. A Hundreth Sundrie Flowers. 

1575. Churchyard, Thomas. Chips. 
Gascoigne, George. Posies. 

1576. Paradise of Dainty Devices. 

1577. Breton, Nicholas. Flourish upon Fancie. 

1578. Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant Inventions. 
Whetstone, George. Promos and Cassandra. 

1579. Spenser, Edmund. The Shepheards Calender. 

1580. Gilford, Humphrey. A Posie of Gillqflowers. 

1581. Howell, Thomas. H. His Devices. 

1582. Watson, Thomas. Hekatompathia. 

x 805 


16S4. Greene, Robot Arbasto. 

Handful of Pleasant Delights. 

Lyly, John. Alexander and Campaspe. 
Sappho and Pkao. 

Peele, George. Arraignment of Park. 
1586. Tychborne, Chidick. Verses of Probe and Joy 
1687. Greene, Robert, Penelope 9 * Web. 

Grove, Matthew. Pelops and Hippodamia. 

Misfortunes of Arthur. 

Webbe, William. Discourse of English Poetrte. 

1588. Byrd, William, Psalmes f Sonnets and Songs of 

Sadness and PieHe. 
Greene, Robert Pandosto. 

Perimedes (he Blacksmith. 
Yonnge, Nicholas. Musica Transalpine Part I. 

1589. Byrd, William. Songs of Sundrie Natures. 
Greene, Robert. Menaphon. 

Lodge, Thomas. A MargarUe of America. 

ScyllcCs Metamorphosis. 
Puttenham, George. Arte of English Poesie. 

1590. Dekker, Thomas. Old Fortunatus. 
Greene, Robert. Francesco 9 s Fortunes. 

The Mourning Garment. 
Never Too Late. 
Lodge, Thomas. Rosalind. 
Peele, George. Polyhymnia. 
Sidney, Sir Philip. Arcadia. 
Watson, Thomas. Italian Madrigals Englished. 
Elegy upon Sir Francis Wal- 

1591. Constable, Henry. Spiritual Sonnettes. 
Drayton, Michael. Harmony of the Church. 
Greene, Robert. Farewell to Folly. 

Lyly, John. Endymion. 

Shakspere, William. Love*s Labour's Lost. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. 


1591. Sidney, Sir Philip. Astrophel and Stella. 
Spenser, Edmund. Complaints. 


1592. Constable, Henry. Diana. 
Daniel, Samuel. Delia. 
Greene, Robert. Philomela. 

Harvey, Gabriel. Four Letters and Certain Sonnets. 

Lyly, John. Midas. 

Shakspere, William. Romeo and Juliet. 

1593. Barnes, Barnabe. Parthenophil and Parthenophe. 
Breton, Nicholas. Arbour of Amorous Devices. 
Drayton, Michael. Shepheard's Garland. 
Fletcher, Giles. Licia. 

Lodge, Thomas. Phillis. 

Morley, Thomas. Canzonets or Little Short Songs. 

The Pharnix Nest. 

Watson, Thomas. Teares of Fancie. 

1594. Dickenson, John. The Shepheardes Complaint 
Drayton, Michael. Idea. 

Lyly, John. Mother Bombie. 

Morley, Thomas. Madrigals to Four Voices. 

Munday, John. Songs and Psalmes. 

Percy, William. Cadia. 

Shakspere, William. Merchant of Venice. 

Willoughby, Henry. WUlobie His Aviso. 


1595. Alcilia : Philoparthen's Loving Follie. 

Barnes, Barnabe. Divine Centurie of Spirituel 

Barnfield, Richard. Ganymede. 
Chettle, Henry. Piers Plainness Seven Years 1 
- Davies, Sir John. Gulling Sonnets. 
" E. C." Emaricdulfe. 
Morley, Thomas. Balletts to Five Voices. 
Canzonets to Two Voices. 

Sidney , 8ir Philip. 
8onth well, Bobert. 
Spenser, Edmnnd. 

Spenser and others. 
Campion, Thomas* 

St Peter' $ CompUxk*. 

Astrophel. , 
1596. Campion, Thomas. Tire* &>fwtt. 
Colse, Peter. Penelope's Complaint. 
Site-Geoffrey, Charles. jFtoncit £rofet> 
GriflEhi, Bartholomew. Fidessa. 
Linche, Richard. DiaSd. 
Smith, William. Ofcforfc. 
(Spenser, Edmund. Fowre Hymnes. 
1607. Dowland, John. First Book of Songs or Airs. 
Hall, Jos. Virgidemiarum. Books L, ii., iii. 
Kirbye, George. Madrigals fim Ftnsr, Five, and 

Six Voices. 
Lok, Henry. Sundrie Sonets of Christian Pas- 
Morley, Thomas. Canzonets or Little Short Airs. 
Canzonets or Little Short Songs, 
out of the Best and Approved 
Italian Authors. 
Munday, Anthony. Downfall of Robert, Earl of 

Tofte, Robert. Laura. 
Weelkes, Thomas. Madrigals to Three, Four, Five, 

or Six Voices. 
Younge, Nicholas. Musica Transalpina, Part II. 
1598. Barn field, Richard. Complaint of Poetry. 

Encomium of Lady Pecunia. 
Poems in Divers Humours. 
Hero and Leander. 

Chapman, George. 


1598. Dickenson, John. Greene in Conceipt. 

Hall, Jos. Virgidemiarum. Books iv., v., vi. 

Morley, Thomas. Madrigals to Four Voices, Se- 
lected out of the Best Approved 
Italian Authors. 

Munday and Chettle. Death of Robert, Earl of 

Rogers, Thomas. Sonnets on the Death of Lady 
Frances, Countess of Hert- 
Tofte, Robert. Alba. 

Wilbye, John. Madrigals to Three, Four, Five f 
and Six Voices. 

1599. Bennett, John. Madrigals to Four Voices. 
Davies, Sir John. Astrasa. 

Dekker, Thomas. Patient Grissel. 

Shoemakers Holiday. 
Essex, Robert Devereux, Earl of. Certain Verses. 
Farmer, John. Madrigals to Four Voices. 
Passionate Pilgrim. 
Shakspere, William. As You Like It. 

Much Ado About Nothing. 

1600. Dowland, John. Second Book of Songs or Airs. 
England's Helicon. 

England* 8 Parnassus. 
Jonson, Ben. Cynthia's Revels. 
Lodge, Thomas. Summer's Last WiU and Testament. 
Markham, Gervase. Tears of the Beloved. 
Shakspere, William. Twelfth Night. 
Thynne, Francis. Emblemes and Epigrammes. 
Weelkes, Thomas. Madrigals of Five and Six Parts. 
Madrigals of Six Parts. 

1601. Chester, Sir Robert. Love's Martyr, or Rosalins 

Jonson, Ben. Poetaster. 

Markham, Gervase. Mary Magdalene's Teares. 
(1*5 St' fa, PkVj, 


1601* Middleton, Thomas, Blurt* Master Constable* 
Morley, Thomas. Triumphs of Or tana* 

1602. Breton, Nicholas. The Soul's Harmony, 
Campion, Thomas. Observations in the Art of 

English Poesy* 
Davison's Poetical Rhapsody* 
Dekker, Thomas. The Noble Spanish Soldier. 
Jonson, Ben, First Book of Epigrams. 
Shakspere, William, Hamlet 

1603. Daniel s Sam a el. Defense of Mime. 
Dowland, John. Third and Last Book of Songs 

or Airs. 

1604. Alexander, Sir William* A urora, 

Bateson* Thomas. Madrigals for Three* Four, 

Five, and Six Voices, 
Este, Michael. Madrigals of Three. Four t and 

Five Parts. 
Greaves, Thomas. Songs of Sundry Kinds. 
Shakspere, William. Measure for Measure. 

1605. Drayton, Michael. Poejns, Lyrick and Pastorall. 
Heywood, Thomas. The Rape of Lucrece. 
Jonson, Ben. The Forest. 

1606. Alison, Richard. Author's Recreation in Music. 

1607. Fair Maid of The Exchange. 
Ford, Thomas. Music of Sundrie Kinds. 

1608. Jones, Robert. Ultimum Vale. 
Shakspere, William. Antony and Cleopatra. 
Webster, John. Viltoria Corombona. 
Weelkes, Thomas. Airs and Phantastic Spirits. 
Youll, Henry. Canzonets to Three Voices. 

1609. Alison, Richard. Pammelia. 

Beaumont and Fletcher. The Maid's Tragedy. 
Jonson, Ben. The Masque of Queens. 

The Silent Woman. 
Shakspere, William. Sonnets. 


1609. Wilbye, John. Second Set of Madrigals. 

1610. Beaumont and Fletcher. Knight of the Burning 

Daniel, Samuel. Tethys' Festival. 
Jones, Robert. Muses 9 Garden of Delight. 
Shakspere, William. Cymbeline. 

1611. Alison, Richard. Melismata. 

Byrd, William. Psalms, Sotigs, and Sonnets. 
Shakspere, William. The Tempest. 

The Winter's Tale. 

1612. Beaumont, Francis. Masque of the Inner Temple. 
Chapman, George. Epicedium. 

Hymn to Hymen. 
Fletcher, John. Two Noble Kinsmen. 
Gibbons, Orlando. First Set of Madrigals and 

Webster, John. Duchess of Malfi. 
Wit Restored. 

1613. Brooke, Christopher. Elegy on Prince Henry. 
Browne, William. Britannia's Pastorals, Part I. 

Two Elegies on Prince Henry. 
Daniel, Samuel. Hymen's Triumph. 
Fletcher, John. The Captain. 

The Nice Valour. 
Heywood, Thomas. Silver Age. 
Ward, John. First Set of English Madrigals. 

1614. Breton, Nicholas. / Would find I Would Not. 
Browne, William. Inner Temple Masque. 

Shepherd's Pipe. 
Pears, Edward. 
Bennett, John. 
Raven scroft, Thomas. 

1615. Andrew's Anatomic of Baseness. 
Wither, George. Fidelia. 

1616. Browne, William. Britannia's Pastorals, Part II. 
Drummond, William. Poems } Part /, 

- A Brief Discourse. 


In the first section will be found the sources of the Anglo- 
Saxon and Middle English lyrics, referred to in Chapter II. In 
the second section will be found the sources of all the Eliza- 
bethan Lyrics which are generally accessible. The third section 
contains a short list of critical or other works, which have been 
useful in this study. In all cases, the date given is of the 
edition used. 

The alphabetical order is determined by the author's name, 
where that is known ; otherwise by the title. 

Anglo-Saxon and Early English Psalter. Printed for the 

Surtees Society. 2 vols. London, 1847. 
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. See below, Two Anglo-Saxon 

Chronicles Parallel. 
Anglo-Saxon Poetry. See below, Btbliothek der Angel- 

sdchsischen Poesie; also Codex Exoniensis; also 

Select Translations from Old English Poetry. 
Bibliothek der Angels&chsischen Poesie. Ed. by C. W. M. 

Grein, and R. P. Wiilker. Leipzig, 1894. 
Brakelmann, Jules. Les plus ancien chansonniers fran- 

cais, in Ausgaben und Abhandlungen am dem Gebiete 

der Romanischen Philologie, xciv. Marburg, 1891. 

(Contains the sirventes of Richard I.) 
Chaucer, Geoffrey. Works. Ed. by W. W. Skeat. 1 vol. 

Oxford, 1892. 
Clene Maydenhod. Ed. by F. J. Furnivall, in the Early 

English Text Society Publications, xxv. London, 

Codex Exoniensis. Ed. by Benjamin Thorpe. London, 




Gower, John. Works, Ed. by G. C. Macaulay. 4 vols. 

Oxford, 1899-19G2. 
Guest, Edwin. History of English Rhythms. Ed, by 

W. W. Skeat. London, 1882. 
Hawes, Stephen. Pastime of Pleasure, Printed for the 

Percy Society Publications, xviiL 1949. 
Hymns to the Virgin and Christ. Ed. by F. J. Fn rni vail, 

for the Early English Text Society Publicatiom t 

xxiv. 1867. 
Jones, Edward. Bardic Museum, London, 1802* 
Lydgate, John. Minor Poems. Ed. by J. 0. H alii well, 

for the Percy Society PublicaHons t ii. 1840. 
Medieval Scottish Poetry. Ed, by George Eyre -Todd. 

Glasgow, 1W2. 
Minor Poem of the Vernon MS. Part i Ed. by 

Carl Horstmann and F. J. Furnivall, for the 

Early English Text Society Publications, xcviii 

Minot, Lawrence. Poems. Ed. by Joseph HaU. Ox* 

ford, 1887. 
Occleve (or Hoccleve), Thomas. Minor Poems. Ed. by 

F. J. Furnivall, for the Early English Text Society 

Publications, extra series, xli. 1872. 
Old English Homilies. First Series. Ed. by R. Morris, 

for the Early English Text Society Publications, 

xxix. and xxxiv. 1868. 
Second Series. Ed. by R. Morris, for the Early Eng- 
lish Text Society Publications, xliii. 1873. 
Old English Miscellany. Ed. by R. Morris, for the Early 

English Text Society Publications, xlix. 1872. 
Pearl, The. Ed. by I. Gollancz. London, 1891. 
Ed. by R. Morris, in the Early English Text 

Society Publications, i. 1864. 
Political, Religious, and Lore Poems. Ed. by F. J. Furni- 
vall, for the Early English Text Society Publications, 

xv. 1866. 


Religious Pieces. Ed. by George G. Perry, for the Early 

English Text Society Publications, xxvi. 1867. 
Select Translations from Old English Poetry. Ed. by Al- 
bert S. Cook and Chauncey B. Tinker. Boston, 

Skelton, John. Poems. Ed. by Alexander Dyce. 2 vols. 

London, 1843. 
Songs and Carols. Ed. by T. Wright, for the Warton 

Club Publications, iv. 1856. 
Songs and Carols of the 15th Century. Ed. by T. Wright, 

for the Percy Society Publications, xxiii. 1847. 
Songs and Poems on Costume. Ed. by F. W. Fairholt, for 

the Percy Society Publications, xxvii. 1849. 
Specimens of Early English. Ed. by R. Morris and W. 

W. Skeat. Oxford, 1898. 
Specimens of Lyric Poetry. Ed. by T. Wright, for the 

Percy Society Publications, iv. 1842. 
Two Anglo-Saxon Chronicles Parallel. Ed. by Charles 

Plnmmer and John Earle. 2 vols. Oxford, 1892. 

Alalia: Philopar (hen's Loving Follie. Ed. by A. B. 

Grosart, in his Occasional Issues, viii. London, 

Alexander, Sir William. Poetical Works. Glasgow, 1870. 
Ancient Songs and Ballads. Ed. by Joseph Ritson. 2d 

edition. 2 vols. London, 1829. 
Andrew* s Anatomic of Baseness. Ed. by A. B. Grosart, 

for the Fuller Worthies Library. London, 1871. 
Barnes, Barnabe. Poems. Ed. by A. B. Grosart, in his 

Occasional Issues, i. London, 1875. 
Barnneld, Richard. Complaint of Poetry, Encomium of 

Lady Pecunia, and Poems in Divers Humours. Ed. 

by J. P. Collier, in Illustrations of Old English 

Literature. 3 vols. London, 1866. 



T. First Set of Madrigals, Scored from the 
■iginai part-books, 1604, by E. F. Rimbault t for 
the Musical Antiquarian Society. London, 1846. 

Beaumont, Francis and John Fletcher. Works. Ed, by 
George Darley, London, 1851. 

Bennett, J* Madrigals for Four Voices. Ed. by E. Jp 
Hopkins, London, 1844-1845, 

Breton, Nicholas, Works. Ed* by A, B. Grosart. 2 vols. 
Privately printed, 1379. 

Brooke, Christopher. Complete Poems. Ed. by A, B» 
Grosart, for the Fuller Worthies Library, 1872, 

Brooke, Fulke Greville, Lord. Ccelfca. Ed, by Martha 
F, Crow, in Elizabethan Sonnet-Cycles, iv. Lon- 
don, 1898, 
Worts. Ed. by A. B. Grosart. 4 vols. Privately 
printed, 1879, 

Browne, William. Poems* Ed. by Gordon Goodwin. 
The Muses Library, 2 vols. London, 1894. 

Campion, Thomas. Works. Ed. by A. H. Bullen. Lon- 
don, 1889. 
Songs and Masques, with Observations in the Art of 
English Poesy. Ed. by A. H. Bullen, with a short 
introduction by Janet Dodge, on Campion's Music. 
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Tappan, E. M. Essay on Nicholas Breton. Modern 
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Address to Christ, 25. 

"Adieu; farewell earth's 
bliss/' 266. 

iEneas Silvius, 91. 

"A! God be with my valen- 
tynes," 249. 

" Ah, pale and dying infant of 
the spring,*' 148. 

Airs, in the song-books, 207; 
their development from mad- 
rigal music, 224 sq. 

D'Alcamo, Gielo, 62. 

Alexander, Sir William, Au- 
rora 166. 

Alexandrines, 30, 85, 99, 280, 
293, et passim. 

" All bewties farre perfections 
rest in thee," 295. 

"Alongst the borders of a 
pleasant plaine,' 1 167. 

American Indian, the, 161. 

Ancient Mariner, the, 80. 

" And as her lute doth live or 
die," 235. 

" And would you fain the rea- 
son know," 234. 

" And would you see my mis- 
tress' face," 234. 

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the, 
22, 42, et passim. 

Anglo-Saxon poetry, prevail- 
ing mood of, 20; riddles, 22; 
charm-songs, 23 ; religious 
lyrics, 25; combinations of 
Anglo-Saxon and Latin 
verses, 30 n. 

Anonymous lyrics, in TotteVs 
Miscellany, 80. 

Ariel, Shakspere's, 260. 
Ariosto, Lodovico, Orlando 

Furioso, 90. 
Aristotle, 1 n. 
Arnold, Matthew, 18, 19; 

Thyrsis, 111, 158. 
" A robin, gentle robin," 57. 
" Art thou poor, yet hast thou 

golden slumbers," 267. 
"As it fell upon a day," 

Astrophel, elegies upon Sir 

Philip Sidney, 187 sq. 
Autolycus, Shakspere's, 229. 
"Away with these self-loving 

lads," 227. 

"Back and side go bare," 

"Banbury ale! where, where, 
where? "242. 

Barnes, Barnabe, Parthenophil 
and Parthenophe, 141; Di- 
vine Century of Spiritual 
Sonnets, 158. 

Barnfleld, Richard, 92; son- 
nets to Ganymede, 152 ; sug- 
gests Shakspere, 152; Enco- 
mium of Lady Pecunia, 196 ; 
lyrics in the Passionate Pil- 
grim, 198. 

Bateson, Thomas, 216. 

Battle of Brunanburh, 26, 39, 

Beaumont and Fletcher, 
Maid's Tragedy, 274. 

"Before the breake or dawn- 
ing of the daye," 104. 




11 Behold the blast which blows 
the blossoms fro in the tree/' 

" Behold, whiles she before the 
altar stands," UK). 

Bell ay, Joachim du, 178, 179, 

Belvedere, 95. 

Billy, Abbe* Jacques de, Son- 
net* Spirituals, 158. 

"Blood asketh blood, and 
death must death requite," 

"Blow, Northern Wynd," 35, 

'* Bow that shot these shafts a 
relique is, The/' 141. 

Breton, Nicholas, 92, 2il; 
Flourish upon Fancie, 121 j 
Arbour of Amorous Devices, 
121 ; I would and I would 
not, 122. 

Brooke, Fulke GreviUe, Lord, 
95, 227. 

11 Brown is ray love bnt grace- 
ful/ 1 222. 

Browne, William, Britannia's 
Pastorals, 203, 203; Shep- 
herd's Pipe, 205, 

Brunefciere, Ferdinand, 4* 

Bryskett, kodowick, 188. 

** But if ye saw that which no 
eyes can see," 132. 

" But that immortal spirit, 
which was dekt," 168. 

" Bat thou, my dear, sweet- 
sounding lute, he still/' 161. 

" By heavens hye gift, in case 
revived were," 278- 

Byrd, William, Psalms, Son- 
nets and Songs, 213 ; Songs 
of Sundry Natures, 215. 

*' Bytwane Mershe and 
AveHl," 36, 

Oral man* 8 hymn, 26. 
Cumplon, Thomas, 6, 236, 227, 

230, 259, 2GG, 300, 301 ; Obser- 
vations in the Art of English 
Poetry, 201, 231; Book* of 
Ay res (with Rossi ter), 231 
sq+ ; Two Books of Airs 1 236; 
Third and Fourth Boohs of 
Airs, 239. 

"Caput apri differo," 65, 

" Care-charmer sleep, son of 
the sable night," 136. 

Carew, Thomas, " Ask me no 
more," 235. 

Castle of Perseverance » 250. 

Catch, the, 64, 242. 

Catullus, * 4 Vivamus mea Lc ti- 
bia, " 232. 

Cavalier lyrics, 91, 237, 290. 

Chanson d r aubade< 54, 272, 

Chanson d'aube, 40, 41, 

Chapman, George, Hymn to 
Hymen, 202; Fpicedium, 

Chaucer, Geoffrey, 24, 32, 38, 
53, 55, 59, 65, 151; incidental 
8oogs,42; Book of the Duch- 
ess, 43; Legend of Good 
Women, 45 n. ; love-plaints, 
46; ballades and rondels, 
46 ; Fartement of Foules, 54* 

1 ■ Cherry-lipt Adonis in his 
snowie shape/ 7 152. 

"CM satire, per me, Madonn 1 
in Cielo," 212. 

"Christian Cuatauce have I 
founde," 253. 

Churchyard, Thomas, Chips, 

11 Ciascun sequa, O Bacco, to/ 1 
282 n. 

Classical chorus. 250, 254, 267, 

Classical meter, 201 ; anacre- 
ontics, 292; hexameters, 214, 
283; Lesser Asclepiad, 293; 
Fhslaecean , 283 ; Sapphics, 
109, 231, 291. 

Collins, J, Churton, 203. 



"Gome away, come away, 

death," 270. 
" Gome, little babe, come, silly 

soul," 122. 
" Gome live with me and be my 

love," 199. 
" Gome shepheards weedes, be- 
come your masters minde," 

Complete Angler, the, 199 n. 
Constable, Henry, Spiritual 

Sonnets, 128; Diana, 140; 

its relations to Sidney, 140; 

its suggestions of Shakspere, 

Cooper, 57 n. 
Cornish, William, 57 n. 
Crashaw, Richard, 236. 
"Cupid and my Campaspe 

played," 259. 
"Cynthia, to thy power and 

thee," 274. 

Daggere, William, 57 n. 

Damon and Pythias, 84 n., 256. 

Dance-songs, 219, 220, 227. 

Daniel, Samuel, 41; Delia, its 
relations to Astrophel and 
Stella, 134 ; its themes classi- 
fied, 134 sq. ; the sonnet-form 
used, 137 ; link-sonnets, 138 ; 
the musical image, 139; sug- 
gestions of Shakspere, 137, 

Dante, Vita Nuova, 126. 

Darrell, Mary, 100. 

Da vies, Sir John, 152 ; Gulling 
Sonnets, 159; Astrma, 165, 241. 

Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, 
95 ; poems by Sir Philip Sid- 
ney, 95; Watson's sonnets, 
96 ; song of vagabondage, 96 ; 
epitaphs, 96. 

"Dearest Cruell, the cause I 
see dislikes thee," 150. 

De-bat, the, 51, 61, 67, 74, 83, 
93, 117, 279. 

Dekker, Thomas, Patient Oris- 
sell, 267. 

Deloney, Thomas, 214. 

Deor y s Complaint, 27. 

" Departure is my chief paine," 

Desportes, Philipe, 120. 

Deuteromelia, 242. 

Devereux, Penelope, Lady Rich, 
129, 129 n., 140. 

Dies Irae, 54. 

" Divorce me now, good death, 
from love and lingering life," 

Dobson, Austin, 301. 

" Doubt you to whom my Muse 
these notes intendeth," 133. 

Dowland, John, 198 ; First book 
of songs or airs, 224; its rela- 
tion to the new music, 224 sq. ; 
second volume, 229. 

" Downe I sat, I sat downe,"290. 

Downfall of Robert, Earl of 
Huntingdon, 257. 

" Do you not know how Love 
first lost his seeing? " 218. 

Drayton, Michael, 27; Idea, 
149; Harmony of the Church, 
181 ; Shepheards Garland, 
182, 204; Poems Lyric and 
Pastoral, 202; ode on the 
battle of Agincourt, 202. 

Drinking-songs, 32, 70, 223, 247, 
254, 261, 262 n., 269. 

" Drink to me only with thine 
eyes," 14. 

Dunbar, William, Merle and 
the Nightingale, 53; ballade 
on London, 54; Lament for 
the Makaris, 54 ; Thistle and 
the Rose, 54. 

Dyer, Sir Edward, 84, 95, 213. 

"Each thing I plainly see, 
whose vertues may availe," 

Eadward, elegy on* St. 



"Earth late choked with flow- 
era, The," m 

"E. C, Esq.," Emaricdulfe, 

Echo-songs, 69, SI, 137, 143, 151, 
164, 28L 

Edward I, elegy on, 37. 

Edward III, 3$, 39. 

Edward IV, elegy on, 52. 

Edwards, Eichard, 83 n. ; 256. 

Elegy, the, 20, 22, 37, 52, 89, 
110, til, 144, 166, 170, 177, 
183, 187, 303 7i. r 205. 

"England, be glad, pluck up 
thy lusty hart," 57- 

England'* Helicon, 92, 319, 
281; love-plaints, 93; the pas- 
toral tradition, 93 ; dialogue 
lyrics, 93 ; the roundelay, 94. 

England's Parnaiwus, 95. 

Envoys, 47, 49, 53, et passim. 

Epigram, the, 65, 318, 231, 230, 
KJ7, 239, 21ft, 

Essex, Robert, Earl of, 84 n. 

Essex, Walter, Earl of, 84 n, 

Eate, Michael, 241. 

Etheridge, George, 83 n. 

EuphuiETti, 85. 

Everyman, 250* 

"Every night from even to 
morn/ 1 165. 

"Fair and fair, and twice so 

fair," 263. 
**Fair is my love that feeda 

among the lilies," 1G2> 
**■ Farewell, Love, and all thy 

la was for ever," 270. 
"Fates, alas! too cruel, The," 

** Fayre is my love, when her 

fay re golden heares," 166- 
Ffardyng, 57 n. 
Ffluyd, 57 n. 
** Fie, shepherd *a swain, why 

sit "st thou all alone ? " 201. 
" Fine knacks for ladies ; 

cheap, choice, nice, and 

new," 229. 
"First lullabie my youthfull 

yeares, 1 * 103. 
Fitz-Geoffrey, Charles, 106 n. 
Flamini, Francesco, 30 n. 
Fletcher, Giles (the alder), 

Li:-i't. 145. 

Fletcher, John, the Bloody 
Brother, 271. 

" Flude comes fleetinge In full 
faste, The," 247. 

" Follow thy fair sun, unhappy 
shadow," 234, 

Forcatulus, Stephanus, 126, 

"For Love is a celestiall har- 
monic," 194. 

"For of the soule the bodle 
forme doth take," 194, 

" Fortune in power imperious/ ' 

' ' Fortune , o u est David , et Salo- 
mon," 68. 

"Forward violet thus did I 
chide, The," 172. 

" For youth it well beseemeth, M 

French lyrics, Influence of, 35 ; 
French verses combined with 
English, 30, 32, 32 n., 3a, 
119. , 

{Jammer Gurton'x Needle, 254. 

Gascoigne, George, A Hundreth 
Sundrie Flower H r 102; Di- 
vorce of a Loiter, 103 ; Lulla- 
bie of a Lover, 103; lyrics in 
series, 104; Be Profit ndis, 
104; influence of Chaucer, 

" Gather ye roses," 206, 229. 

" Gentle nymphs, be not re f us- 
ing, " 206. 

"Give beauty all her right," 

" Give me a look, give me a 
face," 273. 



"Golden slumbers kiss your 
eyes," 267. 

" Good and righteous, he away 
doth take, The," 177. 

Googe, Barnaby, Eglogs, Epy- 
taphes, and Sonettes, 98 ; epi- 
taphs, 99 ; epistles, 100 ; love- 
songs, 100; on going toward 
Spain, 101; verses to Mary 
Darrell, 100. 

Gorboduc, 254. 

Gorgeous Gallery of Gallant 
Inventions, 84, 280 ; love- 
plaints, 85; lengthy titles, 
85; love-songs, 86; practical 
songs, 85. 

Gower, John, Cinquante Bal- 
ades, 46, 47, 55. 

Greek Anthology, the, 200, 

Greene, Robert, 116; Arbasto, 
116;, Penelopes Web, 116; 
Perymedes the Blacksmith, 

' 116; Groatsworth of Wit, 
117; Menaphon, 118; Never 
too Late, 119; Francesco's 
Fortunes, 119. 

Griffin, Bartholomew, Fidessa, 
162; sonnets on identical 
rimes, 163, 198. 

Grimald, Nicholas, 71, 79; love- 
poems, 79; poem to his 
mother, 79 ; Googe's epitaph, 
99 ; his sonnet form, 277. 

Grosart, A. B., 106 n., 145. 

Gwilym, David Ap, 40. 

" Ha ha ha ha ! this world doth 
pass," 242. 

Handful of Pleasant Delights, 
86; A Nosegay, 87; love- 
plaints, 88 ; satiric song, 88 ; 
moral songs, 89. 

"Happy shepherds, sit and 
see," 282. 

"Hark! hark! the lark," 272. 

Harvest-songs, 264, 265. 

Hawes, Stephen, Pastime of 

Pleasure, 55. 
" Hayll ! prophette preved with- 
" outen pere," 245. 
Henry VIH, 56, 57 n., 67. 
Henryson, Robert, Robene and 

Makyne, 51. 
Herbert, George, 9, 82, 104. 
"Here graved is a good and 

godly wight," 284. 
Herrick, Robert, 70, 95, 102, 

200, 206, 227, 230, 235, 273. 
" Highway, since you my chief 

Parnassus be," 13, 131. 
Hill, Richard, 67. 
"His golden locks time hath 

to silver turned," 227, 263. 
Homer, 137, 138. 
Homeric hymns, 187. 
"Hooky, hooky, we have 

shorn," 265. 
"Ho! who comes there with 

bagpiping and drumming?" 

Hunting-songs, 60, 70. 
Husband's Message, the, 23. 
Hymn, the, example of practi- 
cal song, 7. 
Hymn to the Virgin, 25. 

" I burne yet am I cold, I am 

a cold yet burne," 144. 
" I care not for these ladies," 

"If crooked age accounteth 

youth his spring," 177. 
"If I could write the beauty 

of your eyes," 169. 
"If mine eyes can speake to 

doe heartie errand," 292. 
"If music and sweet poetry 

agree," 198. 
"If this be love, to draw a 

weary breath," 137. 
" If to secret of my heart," 133. 
" If women could be fayre and 

yet not fonde," 84. 

nin n be married a Sunday," 

" In an arbor green, asleep as 
[lay/' 253. 

Incidental songs, in the Eliza- 
bethan Romances, 42, lib 
sq.; in the Anglo-Saxon 
Chroniele, 42 ; In Spenser's 
Faerie Queene, 42 n.; in 
Chamber's narrative poems, 
42^.; in the French fab- 
liaux, 45, 45 n. ; in Theoc- 
ritus, 45; in Astrophel and 
Stella, 132; in Lodge's Phyl- 
liitj 148; in Drayton's Shep- 
heardx Garland* 182; in Bri<~ 
tannia'jt Pastorals, 203> 

" In dew of roses steep mg t iJ 219, 

11 In flower of April springing,' 1 

Integer Vitae, 232, 236. 

'* In the merry month of May," 

" In tyme the strong and stately 
turrets fall," 146. 

"Io s Bacchus! To thy table," 

" Io moriro d* amore," 215. 

"I see Calliope speed her to 
the place," 287* 

l *I sigh wheu I sing," 49, 

"I sigh, why so ? for sorrow 
ol her smart," B2. 

"It chaunced after, that an 
youthful squJer," 294* 

•* It fell upon a holy-eve," 94, 

"It is the nightingale and not 
the lark, 7 ' 40. 

"It was a lover and his lass," 
204, 270. 

" I will go die of pure love," 215, 

" I would I bad as much as 
might be had/' 122. 

" Jack and Joan they think no 
ill," 237. 

JaggaTd, William, 197. 

w Jentyll butler, bellamy," 70. 

** Jeau, swete sone dere," 34. 

Jon son, Ben, 14, 95, 166; Cyn- 
thia's Revels, 373 j regular- 
ity of his lyrics, 273; Silent 
Woman, 273, 

Keats, John, 11, 14, 

Klrhye, George, 221. 

''Knight that was so strong, 

A," 37. 
Kyd, Thomas, Cornelia, 366. 

"Lady, when I behold the 

roues sprouting," 228, 
Latin, translation from the, 29, 

232; Latin verses combined 

With Anglo-Saxon, 30 n. ; 

Latin verses combined with 

Middle English, 30, 66, SBj 

Latin lyrics, 32* 
Laura, Petrarch's love, 81, 135. 
"La vergiuella e simile alta 

Tosa," 90* 
41 Lay a garland on my hearse/ 1 

274. * 
"Leave me, love! which 

reachest but to dust, s ' 131 . 
" Let him that will be f ree, ' ' 232. 
1 ' Let me not to the marriage 

of true minds," 12. 
*' Lett no man cum in to this 

hall," 70. 
"Like as the lute delights or 

else dislikes," 139. 
" like to Diana in her summer 

weed," 289. 
" Like to the clear in highest 

sphere/' 120, 
Linche, Richard, Dietla, 160. 
Link- verse, in Welsh poetry \ 

41 ; in Minot's Hongs, 41 j in 

Daniel's sonnets, 41, 138, 
Lodge, Thomas, 90, 92, 110; A 

Margarite of Amerit'a t 120; 

Scylla's Metamorphosis, 120 ; 



Rosalind, 120 ; word-paint- 
ing, 120 n., 281; Phyllis, its 
pastoral mood, 147; interpo- 
lated lyrics, 148. 

"Lo, here we come a-sowing, 
a-sowiug," 264. 

Longfellow, Henry W., 30 n. 

" Look, Delia, how we esteem 
the half -blown rose/' 136. 

" Lord, hit maketh myn herte 
light," 44. 

"Lord Jehovah is a man of 
war, The," 182. 

" Love guards the roses of thy 
lips," 148, 290. 

"Love in my bosom like a 
bee," 120. 

Lovelace, Richard, 9, 12. 

Love-letter, the, 23, 46. 

"Love's folk in green array- 
ing," 221. 

"Love was layd downe, all 
wearie fast asleepe," 146. 

" Loving in truth, and fain in 
verse my love to show," 293. 

Lusty Juvenilis, 253. 

44 Lute itself is sweetest when 
she plays, The," 163. 

Lute, the, its influence upon 
the song-books, 225. 

Lydgate, John, rondel, 48; 
London Lickpenny, 49, 55. 

Lyly, John, 258; Alexander 
and Campaspe, 258; En- 
dymion, 260; Midas, 261; 
Mother Bombie, 261; his 
plays written for choristers, 

Lyric, Greek use of the term, 
1; Ritson's definition, 2 n. ; 
modern uses of the term, 2 ; 
oral recitation of, 3 ; the sub- 
jective, 7; Camera's defini- 
tion, 8 n. ; Sherer's defini- 
tion, 8n.; lyric form, 9; as 
suggested by Palgrave, 9; 
emotional stimulus of the 

lyric, 10; its three phases, 
17, 115; the idyllic lyric, 15, 
16 ; in the drama, 144 sq. 

Madrigal, the, 141, 144, 283, et 

"Maids are simple, some men 
say," 239. 

Mak, the sheep-stealer, 246. 

"Man of life upright, The," 
232, 236. 

Map, Walter, 32. 

Marlowe, Christopher, "Come 
live with me," 199. 

Marot, Clement, eclogue on the 
death of Queen Loys, 110, 
111, 112 n., 113, 113 n., 114, 
115, 294. 

Marvell, Andrew, 79, 80, 200. 

Mary, Countess of Pembroke, 
134, 187. 

Matthews, Brander, 4 n. 

" Melampus, when will love be 
void of fears?' 94. 

Melismata, 242. 

Metaphysical or fantastic 
school, 126, 184. 

Meter : alexandrines, 30, 85, 99, 
183, 279, 280, 293; anapestic 
verse, 279, 281, 287; blank 
verse, 118 ; " common meter," 
284 ; classical meters, anacre- 
ontics, 292 ; hexameters, 214, 
283; Lesser Asclepiad, 292; 
Phalaecean, 283; Sapphics, 
109, 231, 291; "poulter's 
measure," 85, 166,277, 284; 
septenaries, 30, 85, 99, 186; 
tetrapody, iambic, 183; tro- 
chaic, 281; trochaic catalec- 
tic, 132. 

Middle English lyric, 26; re- 
ligious, 28, 49; slumber- 
songs, 34 ; love-songs, 35, 36. 

" Mini est propositum," 32. 

Milton, John, ode on the na- 
tivity^; Lycidas, 111, 188 n. 



"Mine eyea shall not be my 
commanders," 223, 

Minot, Lawrence, 26 r 38-41, 
i:«, 302, 

Miscellanies, manuscript, 56 
*q. i patriotic songs, 57, 63 ; 
moral and religions, 58, 59, 
64, 66, 68; love-plaints, 59, 
64; Bunting-songs, 60, 06, 
TO; pastaureUe, 61; Christ- 
mas carols, 66, 69; spring- 
songs, 60, 65, 67; drinking- 
songs, 32; printed miscella- 
nies. Totters, 71 sq* \ Para- 
dise of Dainty Devices, 81 
sq. ; Gorgeous Gallery of 
Gallant Inventions, 84 sq. ; 
the Phoenix ilTeaf, 89 *f/.; 
England** Helicon r 9*2 sq. ; 
Davison 'a Poetical Rhap- 
sody t 95 *#. ; am all number 
of themes in the miscella- 
nies, 97, 97 n. 

Misfortune* o/ Jr*Aur, 357. 

"Modest maid, decked with a 
blush of honor T A," 135* 

Moralities, 249. 

Morality of Wisdom, 249. 

Morley, Thomas, Canzone to, 
or Little Short Songs t 2J7; 
Madrigals to Four Voices , 
218; Ballets to Five Voices, 
220; Canzonets tfo I\flO 
Foicea, 221 \ Canzonets t or 
Little Short Aers, 221; 7W- 
ump/ur of Oriaua, 240. 

Morris Dance, the, 219, 223. 

Moschus, 110, 111, 112, 113. 

11 Most glorious Lord of lyfel 
that, on this day," 15S. 

11 Moati ryiieu by Rybbesdale," 

Mott, L. F„ 86 n, 

"Mounting venture for a high 
delight, the," 138. 

M. Shelley slaytne at Mussel* 
brougke, Qooge's epitaph, 99. 

"Muae« joye and well they 
may to see, The," 9i*. 

Music, its relations to words, 
5, 6 7i., 7, 63, 68, 75, 83, «7, 
106, 133, 139, 147, 163, 198, 
2OT sq., 213, 224 sq., 347, 298, 
299, 300, 301, 303; images 
taken from music, 138, 147, 
161, 163, 171, 234; the train- 
ing of actors in m tisic, 24$ ; 
facsimiled of music, 57 n. ; 
reproduction of the opening 
measures of a madrigal, 208, 

" Music to hear, why nearest 
thoa music sadly?" 171, 

" My bonnie Lass, thine eye," 
90, 220, 

" My Daphne's hair is twisted 
gold," 261, 

" My darling dere, my daysy 
floure," 52. 

u Mf nocks feed not," 223. 

*'My ghostly father! I me 
confess," 48. 

11 My love, what mislyking in 
mee do you finde," 281. 

l * My Itite awake perforate the 
last," 279. 

"My mind to me a kingdom 
is/' 84, 213. 

"My muse what ayles this 
ardour," 292, 

"My Phyllis hath the morning 
sun," 148. 

Mysteries, the, 246. 

1 ' My true love hath my heart, " 

Nashe, Thomas, Summer's Last 

Will and Testament, 264, 
" Needes must he all eternitie 

survive," 180. 
"Nol pluflorit' Aprile," 211. 
" New Yeare, forth looking out 

of Janus gate," 154. 
"Nightingale, as soon as April 

briiigeth, The/' 13. 



"Not light-of-love, lady," 280. 
"Now Christmas draweth 

near," 121. 
"Now cooled is Dame Venus' 

brand," 54. 
"Now I find, thy looks were 

feigned," 148, 281. 
1 ' Now is the month of Maying, ' ' 

"Now, O now I needs must 

part," 227. 
Nunc dimiltis, the, 244. 
Nut-brown Maid, the, 53. 

" Angell dere wher ever I 

goo," 68. 
Occleve, Thomas, Balade to 

my gracious Lord of York, 

49 ; Chaneson to Somer, 49. 
" O Cupid, monarch over 

kings," 262. 
"O divine love, which so aloft 

canst raise," 182. 
" O fairest faire, to thee I make 

my plaint," 164. 
" Of a rose, a lovely rose," 70. 
" Of Tantalus? plight," 285. 
" Oft, when my spirit doth 

spred her bolder winges," 

' ' Oh spightf ull wayward 

wretched love," 183. 
Oliphant, Thomas, 211 n., 221. 
"O mistress mine, where are 

you roaming," 270. 
"On a day, alack the day!" 

"One day I wrote her name 

upon the strand," 294. 
" On happy Crispin day," 202. 
Ophelia, her posy in Hamlet, 87. 
Oreison of Ure Lcfdi, 29. 
Orlando Furioso^, 90. 
d 'Orleans, Charles, English 

rondels of, 48. 
"O sisters too how may we 

do," 248. 

" O sweet woods the delight of 

solitarinesse," 292. 
" O thou faire silver Thames," 

"Out herrowe I rore," 249. 
Ovid, his epistle from Penelope 

to Ulysses, 85. 
* ' O whither shall I turne mee ? ' ' 

" O wild West Wind," 11, 14. 
Oxford, Edward de Vere, Earl 

of, 84. 

Painting, 50, 120, 146, 298; kin- 
ship of Lodge's poetry to, 
120, 120 n. 

Palamon and Arcite, 84 n. 

Palestrina, 210. 

Palgrave, Francis T., 9, 120 n. 

Pammelia, 242. 

Parabosco, Girolamo, 126. 

Paradise, of Dainty Devices, 
81, 279; moral and gnomic 
themes, 81 ; echo-song, 81 ; 
religious lyric, 82; love- 
plaints, 82; May-song, 83; 
Sir Edward Dyer, 84; Ed- 
ward de Vere, Earl of Ox- 
ford, 84. 

Passionate Pilgrim, the, 197. 

Pastoral, the, 59, 69, 92, 93, 108, 
115, et passim. 

Pastourelle, the, 61, 67, 93, 117, 
270; French example trans- 
lated, 61 n. 

Pearl, the, 55. 

Pedler's song, 33, 229, 257. 

Peele, George, 92, 9i ; Arraign- 
ment of Paris, 263; Poly- 
hymnia, 263; Old Wives' 
Tale, 264. 

Percy, William, Ccelia, 150; 
indebtedness to Barnes, 150. 

Perigot and Cuddies Rounde- 
lay, 94. 

Petrarch, 71, 74, 75, 126, 135, 
180, 275. 



" Phaer, Thomas, epitaph on, 99. 

" Phoebe sat, sweet she sat," 

"Phoebus, farewell, a sweeter 
saint 1 serve," 290. 

Phwiix, the, 30 n. 

Phtznix Nest, the, 89, 281 ; ele- 
gies on Sidney, 89; Raleigh's 
lyrics, -si'. 90 ; praise of chas- 
tity, 90; art-lyrics, 90; 
Thomas Lodge, 90; love- 
songs, 91; sonnets, 92. 

41 Pinch him, pinch him, black 
a ad blue," 261. 

Pindar, 26, 247. 

41 Pipe mery Annot/' 251. 

Plato, epigram ascribed to, 
102; bis influence on Delia, 
135; upon Spenser, 135, 156 
sq* t 193; upon Drayton, 182; 
in Ajttroph€l t 188 ♦ 

Poe, E, A., 17 n. 

FoUatano (Ambroglni Angelo), 
Orfeo t 202 n. 

Preaetttartion of Christ, 244, 

Prickett, Robert, 106 n< 

1 ' Proud Maisle is in the Wood," 

Provence, 20; Provencal and 
Italian verses combined, 
30 n. ; the Provencal lyric, 2, 
20, 299; disguise of Indy's 
name in Provencal lyric, 86, 
88 n. 

* ' Provide therefore (ye Princes) 
whilst ye live," 178. 

Pygott, 57 it. 

"Queene and huntress, chaste 
and fair," 273. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, elegy on 
Sidney, 89, 189; other lyrics, 
90, 90 n. 
Ralph RoUter Bolster, 251, 
Reduplicatio, Watson's rhetori- 
cal figure, 1ZT. 

Reformation, the, 181, 197, 

Refrains, 24, 27, 30, 36, 47, 49, 
50, 53 p 54, 73, 83, 115, 133, 176, 
220, 22*, 252, 280. 

" Rejoice, ye realms of England 
and of France," 49. 

Renascence, the, 46, 117, 155, 
165, 181, et passim. 

Rhythms, short, for supernatu- 
ral characters in the drama, 
249, 360. 

Richard I, two idrtientes by, 32. 

Rime, 83, 212, 257, 276, 288; 
feminine, 134, 151,215; iden- 
tical, 163, 167; inverted, 282; 
masculine, 134. 

Risppfto, the, 211, 212, 277. 

Rogers, Thomas, sonnets on the 
death of Lady Frances, Coon t- 
ess of Hertford, 165, 

Romance, the, 219, 241, 268. 

Rotisard, Pierre, 126. 

" Rose-cheeked Laura, come/ 1 

Rossiter, Philip, 226, 231. 

Roundelay, 94, 109. 

Royden, Matthew, 189. 

Ruines of Rome, 178, 179- 

Ruines of Time, 177. 

Ryabye, 57 n. 

St. Godric'fl hymn, 30 n. 

" Salve with abeyance," 69. 

Satiric song, 35. 

Schiller, 97 n. 

Scott, Sir Walter, & 

Seafarer, the, 21. 

"See how sad thy Venus lies,* 1 

"See. see, mine own sweet 

Jewell," 218. 
Seneca, 260. 
Seraphini, 126, 
Shakspere, William, Romeo 

and J« fief, 40; As You Like 

It, 264, 270; Two Gentlemen 



of Verona, 268; Love's La- 
bour's Lost, 1&, 197, 268, 269 ; 
Much Ado, 269; Twelfth 
Night, 270 ; Sbakspere's two 
types of song, 269; Measure 
for Measure, 271; Merchant 
of Venice, 271; Cymbeline, 
272; Macbeth, 272; Sonnets, 
134, 137, 138, 139, 141, 143, 152, 
153, 157; the doubtful auto- 
biographical element, 167 ; 
their themes classified, 168 
sq.; the "dark lady," 170, 
222; treatment of musical 
image, 140, 171; realism of 
images, 173 ; mastery of lyric 
form, 174. 

1 ' Shall I come if I swim ? " 232. 

" Shall I no way win you," 83, 

" Shall we go dance the hay ? 
the hay? "282. 

" She fell away in her first ages 
spring," 177. 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 5 n., 
11, 14; Adonais, 111. 

Sidney, Sir Philip, 13, 75, 84, 
89, 92; the Arcadia, 93, 116, 
122, 219; epithalamium, 123; 
Astrophel and Stella, 123, 128 ; 
Penelope Devereux, 129, 129 
n. ; the sonnet themes classi- 
fied, 130 sq. ; Lord Rich, 131 ; 
the songs, 132; personal 
quality of the sequence, 134. 

" Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no 
more," 12, 91, 220. 

" Signes of shame that stayne 
my blushing face, The," 

"Singing alone sat my sweet 
Amaryllis," 221. 

"Sith my life from life is 
parted," 185. 

Skelton, John, Wofully Araid, 
50 ; Philipe Sparrow, 52 ; Gar- 
land of Laurell, 52, 53. 

Smith, William, Chloris, its 
pastoral tone, 163. 

4 ' So be my labours endlesse in 
their turnes," 142. 

" Some say Love," 118, 288. 

Song-books, 79, 86, 87, 94, 207 
sq.; 300. 

Song of the Rose, the, 69. 

Song of Widsith, 27, 136. 

"Sonne hath twice brought 
forth his tender greene, The, " 

Sonnet-cycles, 43, 77, 79, 129 
sq.\ 302. 

" So passeth, in the passing of 
a day," 206. 

Sophocles, 126. 

" So saith my fair and beauti- 
ful Lycoris," 223. 

Southwell, Robert, St. Peter's 
Complaint, 184; intellectual 
rather than emotional quali- 
ties, 185 ; the Burning Babe, 

Spenser, Edmund, Epithala- 
mium, 16, 189; its stanza 
like the sonnet in a se- 
quence, 189, 302 ; its pictures, 
190 ; its spontaneity, 191 ; its 
resemblance to the canzone, 
192; Astrophel, 89, 92, 96; 
the Shepheards Calender, 
106; indebtedness to Virgil, 
107; eclogue for January, 
108 ; praise of the Queen, 109 ; 
roundelay, 109 ; sestina, 110, 
285; elegy, 110; parallel, 
from Moschus and Marot, 110 
sq. ; three stages of grief, 
111; the Faerie Queen, 136; 
Amoretti, 153 ; autobiograph- 
ical interest, 157; Daphnaida, 
176 ; Complaints, and Ruines 
of Time, 177 ; Fowre Hymnes, 
193 ; Prothalamium, 193, 

"Spring, the sweet spring, is 



the year's pleasant king/' 

" Stand well, moder, under 
rood," 51. 

Stanza-forms, canzone 1 112, 
296 i disaine, Sidney's, 291; 
Greene's stanzas, 238 xq. ; he- 
roic eon plot, 277; madrigal, 
141, 144,383; Lodge's stanzas, 
28»*fl.; quatrain*, 277. 284, 
29Q; rime royal, 47, 171, 
177, 2£4, 294; rijpeMo, 211, 
212, 277 ; test ina> 142, J44, 1(50, 
285 ; sonnet, Petrarch's forms, 
128, 276; Surrey's English 
form, 277; Grimald's form of 
seven rimes, 276; Sidney's 
expanded form, 290; Wat- 
son's expanded form, 292; 
Barnes's, 204 ; Khakspere's, 
172; Spenser's form, 153, 
294 j ottava riiua, 277 ; terza 
rimti, 278, 294. 

"Stately state tbat wise men 
count their pood, The," llfi. 

u Stella, since now, by honour's 
cruel might," 131* 

Stevenson, William, 254 n. 

Still, John, 254. 

'* Stoics thinks (and they come 
neare the truth), The/' 152. 

Street^ballads, 39, 52, 87, 89, 

"Strike up, my lute, and ease 
my heavie cares, Ft 150. 

11 Sumer is icumeu in," 8, 35, 43. 

Surrey, Henry Howard, Earl of, 
53, 71, 75; Geraldine myth, 
76 ; uses English sonnet form, 
76, 276; love-plaint, 77; art 
lyric, 78 j literary tributes, 
78; terza rima. 278. 

" Sweet Adon, darest not glance 
thine eye?" lit*. 

" Sweet, afford me, then, your 
Sight," 238. 

*' Syghes are my foodo," 27a. 

Symottds, J. A*, 213 n. 

"Syron Venus nourist in bir 
lap," 117. 

"Take. O take, those lips 

away," 271. 
Tarleton's News out of Pur- 

gaiory, 290. 
Tasso, Torquato, Gerwsalemme 

Liberate, 136; Aminta M 163, 

Tearea of the Jftwes, 178. 
" Tell me not, sweet, I am nn* 

kind," 9, 12. 
" Tell me where is fancy bred," 

Tennyson, Alfred, the Frin- 

'V-.vs, -i , "Fur — far — away," 

6; "Tears, idle tears," 17; 

Charge of the Light Brigad& 7 

10Q, 202. 
Thackeray, W. ML, the New- 

com en, 2ti3. 
"That time of year thou mayst 

in me behold," 174. 
Theocritus, 62, 93, 126, 145, 199, 

204, 222. 
' ' There is a garden in her face/' 

"There is none, Oh, none but 

you," 237. 
''There were three ravens/ 1 

"Ther were iii wylly," 35. 
"They flee from me that some- 
time did me neke," 278. 
w They look into the beauty of 

thy mind," 171. 
"Thine eyes so bright," 284, 
"Thing very fitte, A," 252. 
11 This holy season, tit to fast 

and pray," 155. 
" Those eies which set my fatj- 

cie on a fire," 92. 
"Thou art but young, thou 

say est," 229. 
"Thou still un ravished bride 

uf quietness," 11, 14* 



"Thow Bacchus plant, which 
alwaies greene dost springe/' 

" Three times a day my prayer 
is," 230. 

"Through knowledge we be- 
hold the world's creation," 

" Thus all their praises are but 
prophecies," 170. 

" Thyne eyes (those semynaries 
of my griefe)," 161. 

Thynne, Francis, Emblems and 
Epigrammes, 200. 

"Time nor place did I want, 
what held me tongtide?" 

Titles, narrative, in the miscel- 
lanies, 85, 141. 

" To all those happy blessings, 
which ye have," 157. 

" To love my God I do knightes 
service owe," 160. 

" To me, fair friend, you never 
can be old," 174. 

TotteVs Miscellany; 56, 71, 218, 
275; Wyatt, 71; Surrey, 75; 
Grim aid, 79; anonymous, 80. 

Tourneur, Cyril, Plays and 
Poems, 203 n. 

" Trostyly, Lord, redy ! " 250. 

Turberville, George, Epitaphs, 
Epigrams, Songs and Son- 
ets, 101; love-songs, 101; 
treatment of physical de- 
formity, 102; classical sug- 
gestion, 102. 

"Turn I my looks unto the 
skies," 120. 

11 Two loves I have of comfort 
and despair," 198. 

"Tyme weares all his lockes 
before," 186. 

Vaughan, Henry, 184,236. 
Vaux, Thomas, Lord, 71. 
"Venus by Adonis' side," 205. 

"View me, Lord, a work of 

thine," 237. 
Villon, Francois, Ballade of 

Dead Ladies, 68. 
Virgil, 93. 

Visions of Be Hay, 178, 180. 
Visions of Petrarch, 178, 180. 
Visions of the World s Vanitie, 

170, 180. 

Wales, lyric poetry in, 40. 

Walsingham, Sir Francis, elegy 
on, 217. 

Wanderer, the, 21, 184. 

Watson, Thomas, 91; Hekatom- 
pathia, 96, 125 ; indebtedness 
to other poets, 126; conceits 
and devices, 127; Teares of 
Fancie, 144; Italian Madri- 
gals Englished, 216. 

Webbe, William, Discourse of 
English Poetry, 109. 

Weelkes, Thomas, 7, 223; Bal- 
lets and Madrigals, 22? ; 
Ayres or Phantastick Spir- 
ites, 241. 

" Weep not, my wanton, smile 
upon my knee," 118, 122. 

" What can I now suspect, or 
what can I fear any longer ? ' ' 

"What cruel hand of cursed ( 
foe unknown," 187. 

"What lack ye? what lack 
ye?" 257. 

"What one art thou, thus in 
torn weed yclad," 80. 

"What pleasures have great 
princes," 213. 

' ' What's that, compact of earth, 
infused with air," 204. 

"When all around the wind 
doth blow," 269. 

" Whenas my lute is tuned to 
hervoyce," 147. 

"When from the tower whence 
I derive love's leaven," 151. 



•* WheD I do count the clock 

that tells the time/ 3 169. 
M When in disgrace with for- 
tune and men's eyes," 173. 
"When moat I wink, that! 

do mine eye* beat see/' 

11 When summer took in hand," 

"Whereat erewbite I wept, I 

laugh/' 116. 
"Who is it that this dark 

night/' 268, 
" Who is Silvia, what is she," 

"Who la the same, which at 

my window peepee," 191, 
" Who made thee. Hob, forsake 

the plough/' 216. 
"Whoso that wyll for grace 

sew," 58. 
"Who will ascend to Heaven, 

and there obtain me," 212, 
" Who will believe my verse in 

time to come?" 12, 14U 
" Why didst thou promise Such 

a beauteous day?" 174, 
" Why should not youth fulfill 

hia own mind," 253. 
Widiiith, Song of, 27, 136, 
Wife* a Complaint, the, 23. 
Wilbye, John, Madrigals, 228. 
"Wisest way, thy bote, in 

wave or to guie, 
The/ 1 270, 

Witch-songs, 260, 272. 

" With fools and children good 
discretion bears," 149, 

" With Margeraiu ientyll," 53, 

"Womanhood, wanton ye 
want," 52. 

Worde, Wynkyn de, 66. 

Wyatt, Sir Thomas, 63, 67, Tl; 
love-songs, 71 ; subjective 
lyric, 72; ar^songa, 73; par 
triotic lyric, 74; twofold in- 
fluence on the lyric, 74; 
rondels, 98; uses Petrarchan 
sonnet, 275; small number 
of rimes, 276; uses the ri$- 
petto, ZTI ; uses the rime- 
royal, 278. 

"Ye poets have done well in 

times long past, 1 ' 292. 
11 Ye wastefull Woodea! beare 

wi tn esse of my woe," 286. 
" You, yon alone can make my 

muse to speake," 197* 
Yorcnge, Nicholas, Musica 

Transnlpina, 209, 214, 222. 
" Your flowers for their hue/' 


Zepheria t 151; parodied by Sir 
John Daviea, 152. 

.., •<* 




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