fact, what is probably true, and what is only possibly true by inference and by lack of positive evidence, or they have failed to exercise the historical imagination in collating and interpreting the documented facts.

The task, however, would be an alluring one, however arduous. There is sufficient material known about Spenser's life, especially his life in Ireland, to help even the casual reader of it to visualize in some measure the real Spenser in those years of exile from 1580 to 1598.

Closely connected with the life of Spenser would be the next of the desiderata on my list. A new edition of the View of Ireland based on all the manuscripts would seem to be indicated. But more than this we need an annotated edition explaining its allusions, its historical material, and its probable sources. This will involve a thorough study of Irish history, antiquities, law, folk-lore and customs as they bear on Spenser's text. A big job, but one yet to be done.

And last, and probably one of the most difficult, of the larger topics calling for elucidation is that of the Spenser-Harvey Correspondence. This needs detailed annotation and a renewed study in its bearings on the life. Various passages in it are important in this aspect and have never been adequately utilized. It is true that they are full of puzzles and are difficult to interpret, but none the less they should not be ignored and some sort of an explanation should be attempted.*

There is a large number of minor topics in the field of Spenserstudy calling for treatment. I may briefly mention only a few of them. The Lancashire question, the authorship of the verses in the Theatre of Worldlings, the Rosalind question (but not the “altera Rosalindula” question), the “EK” question, the dating of Colin Clout's Come Home Again, and a few other minor puzzles seem to have been debated to a stalemate, at least until entirely new evidence is discovered. The question of the date of birth, of a possible earlier marriage, of a trip to Ireland in 1577, of the carrying of dispatches from France in 1569, and of some other

• Even the careful life in the D. N. B. frequently fails so to discriminate, presenting many statements as accepted fact which at best are plausible conjecture.

*Grosart, I believe, is the only one who has made a serious attempt to handle this material.

possible journey to the Continent, are still perhaps open questions, without hopeful prospect of solution. There are others, however, more hopeful.

A study of the other “Spensers” or “Spencers” of the poet's times, especially the several Edmund Spensers, is clearly indicated. Grosart claimed to have discovered eleven hundred Elizabethan Spensers. But if the facts concerning the few who figure at all historically could be dug out and collated, we might be greatly helped in solving some of the open points in Spenser's life. Thus who was Turbervile's Spenser? Who the Edmund Spenser who was the bearer of dispatches from France in 1569? And who the Edmund Spenser, father of Florence Spenser, so earnestly discussed by Collier and his critics?

Similar light on the life might be thrown by an intensive study of Spenser's Circle—that is, those of his contemporaries in their relations to him, with whom there is fair reason for assuming that he had some contact. I have compiled a provisional list of about a hundred of these. Of course, the list should be much longer. The assemblage of evidence in each case would be an interesting and doubtless not infrequently a fruitful task. The relations of Bryskett and Spenser, of Grey and Spenser, and of Boyle and Spenser, especially, ought to be further investigated, and I have no doubt that neglected or unknown evidence on these topics is yet to be discovered. And by the way who were Lord Grey's other secretaries, 1580-82?

Material lies at hand in the British Museum and in the Public Record Office for a study of Spenser's Autograph. This might lead to the discovery of unknown holograph manuscripts of Spenser.

A sort of itinerary of Spenser's travels in Ireland might well be attempted. As private secretary of the Lord Deputy in 1580-82 Spenser probably accompanied Lord Grey in his journeyings about Ireland, and Grey pretty well covered the country. The View of Ireland reveals a wide knowledge of Irish topography. Then also we should have a list and an elucidation of Spenserian Place Names in Ireland. A search of the public documents would show Spenser's name in connection with many Irish names of places.

5 The names mentioned in the poems are indexed by Whitman. But those mentioned elsewhere are quite as important.

A little study of the history and functions of the Council of Munster and of the duties of its Clerk would illustrate one phase of Spenser's life.

The “Spenser Tradition” should be studied. Soon after his death and throughout the seventeenth century various anecdotes about the poet kept on coming to light. What value and authority as biographical material has each of these? Some of the early biographies are little more than a string of such traditions.

And finally there are two literary studies of Spenser's works which require extended treatment. These are his indebtedness to Ovid, doubtless very considerable, and Spenser as the founder of modern English poetic diction. The latter topic has been partially studied, especially in relation to the Shepherds' Calendar and to the later Spenserian “imitations.” But a general study of the Diction in its more pervasive if less imitative effects remains a desideratum.


• An instructive illustration of the inconsistency with which the evidence of the Spenser tradition is treated is seen in the fact that while the competent Life by Sélincourt accepts one piece of Aubrey's gossip (that of the visit to Hampshire: see the one-volume Oxford edition of Spenser, p. xxix), it disregards two or three of the minor points presented by Camden and by Ware. Now Aubrey's anecdotes, while not necessarily falsifications, are per se suspect, while Camden was a contemporary and friend of Spenser, and Ware in his youth was connected with some of Spenser's circle in Ireland and always deeply interested in him. Both Camden and Ware have the reputation of being historians of integrity. ANOTHER VIEW OF SPENSER'S LINGUISTICS


In an article entitled “Spenser's Linguistics in the Present State of Ireland," (Mod. Phil., Jan. 1920), J. W. Draper has confirmed the opinion of those who have read Spenser's prose tract that the poet's knowledge of the science of language was very limited. By a detailed study of the words relating in various ways to Ireland and etymologized by Spenser in the “ View" Draper has shown that Spenser has exhibited a tendency to allow his fancy to usurp the place of accurate knowledge of the Celtic languages and the laws of derivation, branches of knowledge in which he was conspicuously deficient. Draper, however, has allowed himself some liberties in his treatment of the subject which, it seems to me, strict fairness to Spenser must call in question. At least two of the studies of the words used by Spenser involve an important principle which must be taken into consideration in any study of a work the text of which has not been definitely established.

Throughout his article Draper seems to assume that the Globe (Morris) text is the final authority not only for Spenser's own words, but for his individual orthography. This is an exceedingly risky assumption, in view of the facts: (1) that Morris does not claim that his text is authoritative (See Preface); (2) that the Lambeth MS, upon which Grosart bases his text of the “View," and which, according to the same authority, is "the copy submitted by the Author to the Archbishop of Canterbury for License,”” differs often both in wording and spelling from the Globe; (3) that Ware's, the first printed text, agrees with neither of these two throughout, and sometimes differs from both.

In his study of the word gaull Draper bases his discussion upon the presence of a -u- in a word that is normally spelled gall. Gaull, he says, is Irish for 'straunge inhabitaunt' There is a word gall, meaning foreign, in Irish; and the introduction of

.... of E. Spenser, ed. Grosart, vol. ix, “Note,"


1 The Complete Works

p. 9.

* Ancient Irish Histories, Dublin, 1809. (Reptd, from Ware's ed., 1833),

the-u- may show either that Spenser took advantage of Elizabethan license in spelling to enforce his etymologies, or that he was trying to reproduce an Irish dialectic pronunciation goul, or merely that he had chanced upon that spelling in Irish." Any one of these suppositions is allowable, no doubt, if Spenser spelled the word with a -u-; but if it can be shown that the probabilities are strongly against Spenser's having used such a spelling, the whole discussion is pointless. The evidence is against Draper's contention. In Grosart's text the word is spelled gald, and it is so spelled in Ware (to which fact, by the way, Draper calls attention in a foot-note, apparently without noting its significance). Furthermore, Buchanan, upon whom Spenser leaned heavily in these matters, has the form GALD in a passage bearing directly upon this point. I quote part of chapter XXVIII, book 11, of his Rerum Scoticarum Historia:

“ Hae autem tres nationes si. e., the Britons, the Picts, and the Scots), totum Britanniae latus, quod ad Hiberniam vergit, tenent; nec levia indicia, sed penitus inustas notas Gallici sermonis & cognationis adhuc servant. Illud autem in primis, quod Scoti prisci, omnes nationes, quae Britanniam incolunt, in duo genera partiuntur: alteros GAEL, alteros GALLE, sive GALD, appellant; hoc est, (ut ego quidem interpretor,) Gallaecos, & Gallos. . . Vox enim GALLE, aut GALD, non est minus apud eos significans quam apud Graecos & Latinos Barbarus, apud Germanos WALSCH.” 3 To which may be added in further confirmation the following passage from Campion's "Historie of Ireland,” which Spenser had almost certainly read: “It is further to be known, that the simple Irish are utterly another people then our Englishe in Ireland, whom they call despitefully boddai Sassoni's and boddai Ghalt, that is, English and Saxon churles." 4

On the same page Draper discusses the word farrih, a war cry, which Spenser thinks is of Scottish derivation, on account of its resemblance to the name of one of the “first kings of Scotland called Fargus, Fergus, or Ferragus.” This derivation is “fanciful” enough, but not, I believe, so fanciful as Draper considers it;

• Ed. Ruddiman, Leyden, 1725.
•Ware's ed., 1809, page 20, (first published 1571.)

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