Spenser, Shepheards Calendar

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dedicated to Sir Philip Sidney (end of preface)

E.K.'s preface -- defense of "rymes more ragged and rusticall" (echoes of Skelton in Colin Clout)

"But all as in most exquisite pictures they vse to blaze and portraict not onely the daintie lineaments of beautye, but also rounde about it to shadow the rude thickets and craggy clifts, that by the baseness of such parts, more excellency may accrew to the principall; for oftimes we fynde ourselues, I knowe not how, singularly delighted with the shewe of such naturall rudenesse, and take great pleasure in that disorderly order. Euen so doe those rough and harsh termes enlumine and make more clearly to appeare the brightnesse of braue and glorious words. So oftentimes a dischorde in Musick maketh a comely concordaunce: so great delight tooke the worthy Poete Alceus to behold a blemish in the ioynt of a wel shaped body."
"For in my opinion it is one special prayse, of many which are dew to this Poete, that he hath laboured to restore, as to theyr rightfull heritage such good and naturall English words, as have ben long time out of vse and almost cleane disinherited."

English has become "gallimaufray" (irony) of other speeches -- French, Italian, etc. -- but is good enough for its own verse

E.K. on glossing:

"Hereunto haue I added a certain Glosse or scholion for thexposition of old wordes & harder phrases: which maner of glosing and commenting, well I wote, wil seeme straunge & rare in our tongue: yet for

somuch as I knew many excellent & proper deuises both in wordes and matter would passe in the speedy course of reading, either as vnknowen, or as not marked, and that in this kind, as in other we might be equal to the learned of other nations, I thought good to take the paines vpon me, the rather for that by meanes of some familiar acquaintaunce I was made privy to his counsell and secret meaning in them, as also in sundry other works of his."

after concluding his preface, E.K. asks Harvey to bring forth his poems so they may see the "eternall light"

"The generall argument of the whole booke":

on eclogues;

  • either they be "plaintive" (1, 6, 11, 12) or "recreative" (2, 5, 7, 9, 10)
  • "A few onely except, whose speciall purpose and meaning I am not priuie to." -- irony; known/knowable/unknown interpretation

goes on to defend beginning with January -- the only topic covered in this argument of "the whole booke"