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46 Ariel's second song in The Tempest (1. ii).
1. Full fathom five : i.e. quite thirty feet below the surface. The fathom is supposed to be the distance from finger tip to finger tip when the arms are held outwards as far apart as possible ; this is reckoned at six feet.
4, 5. Nothing of him that doth fade, etc. : i.e. every perishable part of him is undergoing a change.
5. But doth : which does not.'
7. ring his knell : after these words there comes in the play ‘Burthen : Ding-dong,' the chorus sung off the scene.
47 JOHN WEBSTER (1580 3–1625) is, so far as any account of his life is concerned, lost in obscurity, the dates of his birth and death being alike conjectural. He wrote for the stage between 1602 and 1624, sometimes in collaboration with Dekker, Marston, Drayton, and others, but his supreme achievements, The White Devil (1612) and The Duchess of Malfi (1623), were all his own. For sheer horror these surpass all other English plays, and can only be compared with the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles. This dirge is from The White Devil (v. iv in modern editions) ; it is sung by Cornelia over her son's body.
5. dole : ‘lament,' from the Lat. dolor ; not to be confused with the similar Saxon word, meaning destiny,' 'allotted portion.' 10. them : the 'men' of the previous line.
Sonnet No. XXXII.
1, well-contented: the epithet is transferred from the poet, who is quite content to die, to the day of his death.
2. churl : a word used from early times as the opposite of noble or gentle. Death is no gentleman, for he is quite regardless of people's feelings..
4. lover : in the seventeenth century this word had not its present narrow meaning, but was applied to any one who loved another.
7. Reserve them : keep them in your possession.' rhyme : in the wide sense, verses.
12. ranks of better equipage : better equipped ranks,' i.e. making a fairer show of poetic ability.
49 Sonnet No. LXXI.
1, 2. No longer Than you shall hear : only so long as you hear.' 8. woe : sorrowful.' Its
an adjective, though now obsolete, is common in Spenser."
10. compounded : united.'
13. wise world : too wise, that is, to grieve over what is gone.
Sung in The Merchant of Venice (111. ii) while Bassanio is meditating on the caskets.
1. Fancy : “ love. Cf. above, No. 41, 1. 17.
6. Fancy dies, etc. : love, which is born in the eyes, may die there before coming to maturity ; which means no more than that the eyes can show the birth and speedy death of love.
JOHN LYLY (1554, ?-1606) is best known as the author of Euphues, through the success of which a fantastic style of speech soon became fashionable, as is illustrated by Scott in the mouth of Sir Piercie Shafton in The Monastery: Besides this work, which has given the word phuism to the English language, Lyly wrote half a dozen comedies.
This song is sung by Apelles in Campaspe (111, v), the second of Lyly's comedies, which first appeared in 1584, and was printed the same year, but without the three songs—of which this is one; these are first found in the edition of 1632.
4. His mother's doves, etc. :. the birds sacred to Aphrodite or Venus were the dove, the swallow, the
sparrow, and the swan (for which last cf. below, No. 53, 11. 62, 63). 7. on 's : 6
on his.' 8. crystal : ' transparent clearness.' 9. of his chin : Palgrave has on his chin' in both editions.
11. set : 'staked.'
52 Little is known of the life of THOMAS HEYWOOD (d. 1650). He was writing plays in 1596, and his latest work is dated 1641. Besides the twenty-four plays from his own pen he had a hand in nearly two hundred others, and was also the author of several poems and treatises.
This song is from the Rape of Lucrece (iv. vi), which was printed in 1608 ; but most of the songs were not added till the fourth edition (1630).
4. good-morrow : a salutation used on meeting in the morning ; its place has now been taken by 'good morning.'
13. bill : in both editions Palgrave printed hill,' and was unhappily followed in every setting of this song to music which I have seen.
16. Stare : starling,' which is a diminutive of the former.
53 EDMUND SPENSER (1552 ?–1599), the earliest great poet of the Elizabethan era and a friend of Sir Philip Sidney, lived mostly in Ireland where he held various offices under the Lord Deputy. His greatest work, The Faerie Queene, was almost entirely written in that country. The Prothalamion or a Spousal Verse, the last of his productions, was written in 1596 during his residence with Lord Essex, to celebrate the double marriage of the two daughters of the Earl of Worcester to two worthie' but untitled “Esquyers.' The word Prothalamion, “a Song written before a marriage,' was coined by Spenser on the analogy of Epithalamium, "a Song upon a marriage.'
2. Zephyrus : the west wind.'.
4. Hot Titan's beams : the Titans in Greek mythology were the sons of Urănus (Heaven) and Ge (Earth ;)
one of them, Hyperion,' was the father of Helios, the Sun, who is therefore frequently spoken of ás • the Titan.'
6. long fruitless stay : Spenser made suit on various occasions to get a post at Elizabeth's court, but without
9. afflict my brain : the verb has another object • whom (1. 5). This construction, termed the whole and Part Figure,' is not uncommon in classical Greek. 12. rutty : abounding in ruts’ (N.E.D.). This
more probable than Collier's interpretation, abounding in roots, though apparently 'rooty' was sometimes spelt rutty' in the 16th century.
14. all the meads adorn'd: sc. were adorned; the were' being supplied from the.' was ’ of the previous line. 16. paramours :
lovers'; the word is now restricted to unlawful love.
17. is not long : " is close at hand.'
21. the flood thereby : the stream which ran beside them.'
23. As each had been a bride : brides formerly walked to church with their hair hanging loose behind. Anne Bullen's was thus dishevelled when she went to the altar with King Henry the Eighth.' Steevens.
25. entrailed : entwined.'
26. flasket: 'a long shallow basket' (Johnson); the word is a diminutive of " flask.:
27. full feateously: "very skilfully or elegantly.'
32. primrose true : the primrose seems to have been the symbol, not of truth, but of early death, or misfortune, which makes it scarcely an appropriate flower for a bridal bouquet.
38. vermeil : (pron. ver'mil) a poetic form of vermilion.'
38. the lee : here and in 1. 115 below, Spenser uses this word for stream or current.' Again in the Faerie Queene, v. ii. 19, he has His corps was carried downe along the Lee.' The word is also used in the Ruines of Time, but I have not found it outside Spenser, and it is not noticed in N.E.D.
40. Pindus : 'a range of mountains in North Greece, separating Thessaly from Epirus.
42. when he a swan would be : Jupiter, in order to
gain access to Leda, wife of Tyndareus, assumed the form of a swan, and became by her the father of Helen and of Castor and Pollux.
55. Eftsoons : soon after.!
had flowers their fill : « flowers, as many as they wanted.'
60. Them seem'd : it seemed to them.' This, which is one of the two surviving impersonal verbs in modern English, is only found now with a first-person object, meseems.' But cf. below, No. 379, l. 13, Herseemed.'
63. Venus' silver team : Cf. above, No, 51, l. 4. team, which regularly means the animals which draw an object, must here stand for the chariot which is drawn, but N.E.D. gives no such meaning.
78. Peneus : see above, note on No. 2, I. 27. Every ninth year a festival of Apollo was held at Tempe, in course of which flowers were cast on the river.
98. virtue to remove, etc. : power to put an end to any distaste which a lover may feel, and once for all to dispel any treachery in the mind of a friend.' assoil : *to absolve, forgive, and so get rid of.'
101. accord : bring into agreement.
104. That fruitful issue, etc. : which may give you abundant offspring to uphold you against your enemies.' The succession of the two relatives That and : Which' is awkward.
106. redound : lit. 'to overflow,' Lat. redundare. 110. undersong : chorus or burden.'
113. resound : repeat'; not often found as transitive verb.
115. lee : see above, 1. 38.
121. Cynthia : 'the Moon'; the name was given to Diana from Mount Cynthus in Delos where she was born.
shend, with past tense shent,' usually means to injure, disgrace'; here it must mean to surpass '; where two rival beauties are concerned the two meanings become identical.
129. The precise locality of Spenser's birth is said to have been East Smithfield, which lies just east of che Tower.
-130. from another place: Spenser's father moved to London from near Burnley in north-east Lancashire, where the family had resided for several generations.