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Atlantic Monthly, Vol. II., November, 1858., No. XIII.
Author: Various
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Of all the crowds and companies that hurry to and fro from one end of the land to the other, Elizabeth seeks only two persons. It is not to her father's native town that she is drawn by the superior attraction. She passes Chalons in the moonlight. When the coach stops at the inn-door for a change of horses, she keeps her place, —she acts not with the quicker beating of her heart. She looks about her as they drive through the silent streets,—out on the moonlit landscape when they have passed the borders of the town; she sees the church-towers, and the old buildings, and the river whose windings she has heard described so often by the voices that once talked of love all along its borders. Chalons is dear to her; she looks back with tearful longing when the driver hurries on his horses as they pass into the open country. But she has no right to wait on her own pleasure,—to verify her parents' calculations when they talk together, by the fireside in Foray, of her journeying through Fatherland.

No,—each sunrise appoints him one more day of imprisonment and exile! Every sunset leaves him to one more night of cruel dreams which morning shall deride! And while this can be said, what has Chalons, or any other spot on earth, that it should lure her into rest?

The higher powers sometimes convey their messages and do their work after a prosaic fashion. It was no uncommon thing for a young girl in neat raiment to stand waiting admittance before the door of the Chateau Desperiers. Hospitality was called upon in those days not so often, perhaps, as benevolence; and for its charity the chateau had a reputation far and wide; the expectation of the poor perished only in fruition there.

Into the library of this ancient mansion Elizabeth Montier was ushered by the old gray servant. There she might wait the return of his mistress; at what hour the return should be anticipated he could not undertake to say. His counsel to the stranger was, that she had better return at a later hour; but when Elizabeth said it was impossible, that she had come from a great distance to see the lady of the place, and must await her return there, he led her without further parley to the library, and left her.

And from its lofty windows, at her leisure, she might now look down upon the prospect Prisoner Manuel had described. When she crossed the threshold of that room, she knew where she was; left alone, she looked around her. There he once had stood; there he had parted from Madeline Desperiers; from that last interview he had gone forth to long captivity! She stood by the lofty, narrow windows, to see what he had seen when standing before them,—that town the ancient Desperiers laid out for his tenants in the ancient days,—the church, the pond, the park,—the garden, so vast, and so astonishing for beauty, the gazer scarce believed her eyes. And she remembered beds of flowers under a prison-wall, and who that day looked on them.

He had said that the mistress of this grand domain was a soldier's daughter. He had said that she was a grand lady. A soldier's daughter had come here to hold an interview with her! A drummer's daughter, a girl from out the barracks and the prison of Foray, was here!—A strange light, so strange that it seemed not natural, broke from these reflections of Elizabeth, and illuminated the library. It fell on the great bookcases that were filled from floor to ceiling with books which cost a fortune, on the great easy-chairs black with age, on picture and on bust, on the old writing-stand, the more modern centre-table piled with newspapers and pamphlets, on the curious clock that told the hours with a "silverey voice." It fell, too, on a portrait that did not often greet the gaze even of such as found access into that room,—a portrait of him for whose sake she was here, having compassed land and sea.

When she first saw the picture, she was sitting in one of the chairs beside the table,—her eyes had taken cognizance of everything but that,—and of that became aware so strangely that she could not at first persuade herself of the nature of the mystery that took such hold of her and possessed her so wholly. A proud and glorious vision, it rose up before her, emerging from the shadows of the alcove where it stood. This was not Manuel, not the wan prisoner of Foray,—but her heart needed none to tell her it was the hero who had loved the lady of this chateau in the splendor of his manhood. She saw it, and saw nothing more,—the prescience of her soul was satisfied. As he was, she beheld him now;—was it safe for her to sit there gazing at that likeness?

The old servant, who now and then walked up and down the hall, perceiving that the stranger was sitting quiet, with her eyes generally in one direction, was satisfied that she should prove so patient with this long delay in his mistress's return. He knew not what occupied her eyes or thoughts,—fancied, may-be, that she was numbering the books of the library, or engaged in some equally diverting occupation.

At last came Madeline.

Learning from the servant in the hall that a young person waited her return, and had waited half the day, with a patience that was evidently proof against time, the lady proceeded at once to the library.

Elizabeth, who heard the arrival, and the approach, arose and stood, waiting the meeting. In her hand she held a paper scroll, the drawing of Foray, which she had brought to aid her in this interview.

It was, indeed, a royal person upon whom the eyes of the Drummer's Daughter fell,—a person whose dignity and grace held at a distance even those whom they attracted. Nothing short of reverence could have dictated the movement of any noble mind that had to do with her. She was the Sister of Mercy, whom the whole country round about knew for the most righteous Desperiers of them all. The noble line was ending nobly in her pure and lofty and most gracious womanhood. She was the star of society, if the "sweet influences" might only be bound,—no comet, no fiery splendor of intellect or passion, but a pure light that would still shine through all paling, and enter with its own distinct ray into the last absorption.

She approached to meet her guest with a kind and frank expression of regret that she should have been kept waiting so long.

Beholding her, remembering him, strong even through her sense of impotence, Elizabeth unrolled the pencilling of Foray. The moment during which she was thus occupied passed in silence; then she looked up and spoke, with the coldness in which her embarrassment and emotion sought disguise.

"I came here with a message,—on an errand," said she; "and I have come so far, that, finding myself really in this house, I did not like to leave it again till I had seen the lady I sought. I knew that it would give you pain, if you could know the whole."

"Tell me the whole," was the reply, spoken with evident and encouraging approval of the stranger's mode of address; and the lady sat down in the great chair on one side of the table. "Be seated; tell me your wish."

"It is to serve you," said Elizabeth, a little proudly. "I have not come to ask favor for myself or mine. I came across the sea for you and him."

She spoke now with vehemence, and as she spoke glanced at the portrait in the alcove. Quickly the eyes of Madeline Desperiers followed hers. How had this stranger managed to discover what was so securely hidden from the observation of ordinary eyes? She did not even suspect the light which had illumined that dim recess, and made it brighter to the gazer than the bright garden even.

"This is Foray," said Elizabeth, exposing now the token that would instantly make all plain and equal between them. "I should have sent it to you, Madam, when I wrote; but there was more to be done,—and so I came. I am Elizabeth Montier. I am a soldier's daughter; so, he said, are you."

The lady's answer was not at first by speech. She arose, swiftly as light moves she moved, and brought her guest up to the window of the shadowy room. Well she scanned the face of Elizabeth.

"Truth," she murmured. "It was you that wrote. You are Truth. You speak it. Blessings on you! Blessings descend upon you from all the saints and heroes who have moved and suffered here! Do you come from him,—Stephen Cordier?"

How proudly and how tenderly she spoke that name! To hear her soothed the heart of Elizabeth Montier,—soothed her, and made her strong.

"Is that his name?" she asked, pointing to the portrait. "We call him Manuel." She paused a moment, but not for an answer. Before Madeline could speak, she went on,—

"If you can hear me, I will tell you of him, and why I am here."

"Tell me all. I can bear to hear anything that you can endure to tell. You are his friend. I claim you for mine, too. You came to find me. Speak."

This was the utterance of a calm self-knowledge. By what she had endured, the woman knew what she could yet endure.

Without pause Elizabeth now spoke. Without interruption the lady listened,—listened while this young stranger told the life of the past months, in which he was concerned,—of the garden where she worked and he walked,—of her father, the musician,—of their old home near the barracks, and the new home in the prison,—of the day when he first told her of his country and his love,—how for him she had written the letter, repeating oftentimes in the narration the very words he had used,—of his gestures, his looks;—she was thoughtful of all.

How strangely intelligent in all her communication! Ah, if it was eager love that hearkened, it was thoughtful love that spoke!

The story, as she told it, was brief; but the voice never faltered in telling the tale, and the eyes of Elizabeth, with constant scrutiny, were upon her listener. She was satisfied, when, having said all, she paused, and had now no further fear for her own heart's integrity or of the listener's constancy.

A long silence followed her speech. At length said Mlle. Desperiers,—

"I see it all. You are God's messenger from that other world. I have believed too little. You are truer and wiser than I. Lead me, dear child! Shall we go to Foray? I will sail with you tomorrow, if you say so. Better a prison, with him, than all this freedom, so alone."

"He must be set free, first," said Elizabeth. The manner of her speaking, her look as well as her tone, might almost have been taken for a rebuke. Madeline might pardon that.

"I have said so," she answered, mildly. "I have tried to move heaven and earth. I was but a feeble woman. Still it is a consolation to know that I have done everything my wit or my love could devise, and not stopped at what looked like extravagance or indelicacy. What further, Elizabeth? The man who is now in power, and through whom alone the king can be reached, will grant him liberty"—

"He will?"

"At a price that would take away its value from him."

"What is that price?"

"My life. He wants me for his wife,—a purchase, you perceive."

Elizabeth Montier did not heed the scorn and bitterness of these words, as Mlle. Desperiers spoke them. The blood in her veins seemed turning to fire,—it swept through her body and brain like the flood of a volcano,—and she thought, she who knew the prisoner's life, and all that captivity was to him,—

"Coward and selfish, that will not instantly give up her life for his!"

A very dismal satisfaction, that the woman he loved best should so prove unworthy of him! The horror of that satisfaction, its humiliation and its pain, sufficiently attested to the poor girl who endured it that her soul's integrity remained secure. As if for a personal conflict with an enemy, she started to her feet.

"It must not be!" she exclaimed.

And, far from suspecting to whom the words were addressed, to what the speaker closed her eyes, rebuking her pure heart, the lady answered,—

"Then, unless he outlives this tyranny of power, he will die a prisoner, Elizabeth. I will go with you to him. I can die with him. God, certainly, does not require me to stay here longer, for He has sent you to me."

"He has sent me for him!" exclaimed Elizabeth. "I am here to make him free." She did not add, "If I were you, my life for his!" but again, in spite of her, she thought it, and a terrible strength of pride possessed her at that moment.

"Speak on," was the eager, tremulous response. "You are here to set him free, God knows; but at least I believe wholly in you. What will you do, Elizabeth?"

"Go to the officer tomorrow. Tell him everything that is to be told. If he is human"—

"That is what I doubt. He knows what petitions I presented and caused to be presented to his predecessor."

"You?"

"I?—who but I? Do you think I have been idle, or that I have left anything undone that I could think to do? Child, the sun has never risen on me since I saw him last! They say I am dead to the world. But they who say it know not how terribly true their words are. Shall I tell you how many times, when the weary days have come to an end, I have said, in the morning I would make that loathsome bargain with General Saterges, and in the morning God's grace, as I believe, has alone prevented me? Do you think that it is because I love myself better than him, that I have not bought his freedom at this price? It is because I know him,—because I am sure that liberty at such price would be worthless to him. I cannot torture him with the belief that I am unfaithful, nor suffer him to look on me as a sacrifice. We can endure what God allows. Trust me. You have done so bravely, you are yourself so true, believe in me. I am really no coward. I am not a selfish woman."

"Forgive me," said Elizabeth, most humbly. Her pride had left her defenceless in its flight. If there was not now the true, brave, generous woman to lift and proclaim herself from the humiliation of her mistake, alas for her!

The woman was there,—ready and true,—was there. Humbled, yet resolute, she spoke,—and in her speaking was the triumph of a spirit that should never again surrender its stronghold of peace.

"You must direct me, Madam. Show me how I shall find this minister. I will speak then as God's servants spoke of old,—trusting in Him. If the man will not hear me, then I will conduct you to Foray. You shall see Mr. Manuel. You can live—with us. My mother's heart is kind, and my father is a soldier; we shall all love to serve you. Let us take courage! They cannot prevent us here. You could endure exile for him?"

"Exile? Ah, how do you shame me! All these years I might have"—

"No," said Elizabeth, hurriedly. "Never till now. You could not. The way was not open till this day. Love, too must have its servants. I am yours and his. I trust in God. In His time he has opened His own way."

By Mlle. Desperiers's management, Elizabeth without difficulty obtained audience, the next day, of the chief ministerial power of the realm.

I shall attempt no pictorial description of that interview. The men of authority know best how often women come into their presence, burdened with prayers for the pardon of those who have justly, or unjustly, fallen under the displeasure of the powers that be. From high station and low Love draws its noblest and most courageous witnesses, and the ears of the officials are not always deaf.

The case of Stephen Cordier was of sufficient importance to come under discussion before the governing power as often as that power underwent a change in person or policy. Twice petitions in his behalf had been presented,—once by the lady of Chateau Desperiers in person,—petitions that were in themselves the proudest praise of him, the greatest honor that could be conferred upon him. They had fallen powerless to the ground.

The old man, statesman and soldier, now holding office, had, before he came to this position, knowing the interest and the kind of interest taken by Madeline Desperiers in the petitions presented, volunteered his name to the last document, mentioning, though with due deference to the fashion of the world, the price at which it was to be procured,—her hand. His name had just the weight that would have made the other more honorable names successful in their pleading. What sort of success was to be expected, now that he occupied the passage to royalty? Elizabeth Montier crossed the threshold of the apartment where the old warrior and statesman sat amongst books and papers, without dismay ruling by pen and voice, as confident in himself, when he took up these weapons, as in the former time of sword and powder.

His practice was to receive all petitioners,—all should have audience. But he made short work of business. Never were affairs dispatched with more celerity, seldom with less conscience. At a glance his keen eye read, to his own satisfaction, the state of every case,—and he came to his own conclusions. His requirement was, that the petitioner should be self-possessed and brief,—which requisition, hinted by the doorkeeper, and reiterated by the General himself, had not always precisely the effect intended.

The fault was not in Mlle. Desperiers that she had proved so unsuccessful in her petitions, as has been made sufficiently clear. General Saterges had found in Stephen Cordier a powerful antagonist in action. He had moved to power through the very paths which Stephen Cordier had attempted to lay waste. He upheld the faith against which Cordier had preached a crusade. The old warrior regarded the young thinker as a personal enemy. It was hardly probable that he would very energetically strive to procure the reversal of a hard sentence in behalf of such a man.

As Adolphus Montier's daughter came into his presence, she had not the bearing common to such as appeared there with intent to plead for the life or liberty of those they loved. A sense of the sacredness of her mission was upon her. She had cried to God, and she believed that He had heard her. Where do the possibilities of such faith end? "Time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah, of David also, and of Samuel, and of the prophets; who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover, of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise."

She had considered well what she would do and say, and did not forget and was not confounded when she stood before the old man, knowing her time had come. Calm and strong, because so bent on accomplishing her purpose, and so conscious of her past secret weakness, of her suspicion and cruel judgment, as if she would here atone for it, she took stern vengeance of herself.

General Saterges recognized at one glance the evidences of a strong and determined spirit. When she had crossed the room and stood before him, he requested her to be seated,—and it was the first time that he had made such request of such visitor.

Declining the civility, Elizabeth stood, and told her errand. She had come across the ocean, she said, to plead the cause of a poor prisoner who was dying under sentence of the law. She paused a moment, having made this statement, and was answered by a nod. Prisoners often died without reprieve, he seemed to be aware. This cold civility warmed the petitioner's speech. Her mother would have been satisfied, Madeline Desperiers would have been overwhelmed with grief and horror, to have heard this young girl's testimony in regard to prison-life. The old man, as he listened, sighed unconsciously, —for not every nerve in him was strung to cruelty. To one of his restless career what image of life more dreadful could have been presented than was in this testimony? To be shut away from human society so many years, patient, resigned, receiving the few comforts yet allowed him!—to live on, pure in spirit, lofty in thought, hoping still in God and man! The old warrior in self-defence, because she brought the case too vividly, the life too forcibly before him, broke through the words she was speaking, interrupting her.

"Who is this person?" he asked.

"Stephen Cordier," was the answer. Without hesitation, even proudly, she spoke it. She had compelled him to ask the name!

"And who are you?" he asked; and if he felt displeasure, as if his sympathy, of which he was so chary, had been stolen from him, he did not allow it to appear.

"Elizabeth Montier," she replied.

"That is no answer. What is a name, if it conveys no meaning to my mind?"

"I am the daughter of Adolphus and Pauline Montier. My father is a drummer in the military band of Foray. He is also present keeper of the prison where Stephen Cordier is confined."

"Very well. Does he know your errand here?"

"He does not. He let me come to this country,—it is his native land, and my mother's,—he let me come because in his heart he has always loved his country, and he has never been able to return. We were to have come back together. But there was an opportunity for me. I dared not wait. So I am here,—and for nothing, Sir, but this man's liberty."

Those last words she spoke seemed to quicken the thought of General Saterges. He drew himself up still more erect in his chair. His eyes were on Elizabeth with the will to scan her heart of hearts. He spoke, —

"What is this man to you?"

She paused a moment. And she, too, had a thought. She could play a game for life. She looked at the old man, hesitated, answered,—

"He is everything."

"Just let me understand you," and he looked upon her as if he might touch her secret. "Do you love Cordier?"

"I love him," she answered, with exceeding dignity, evident truthfulness.

"Do I understand you?" he said again,—"what are you to him?"

"Everything," she again replied, with perfect confidence and faith. Was she not liberty and the joy of life to him? If liberty and joy were ever to be his portion, they must come through her. So she believed, and thus answered.

"Does he love you?"

"Yes."

"You speak with great assurance. I know the man better, I'm afraid." Then his voice and manner changed. "He is sentenced. Justice passed that sentence;—to reverse it were the work of imbecility. Speak no more. It is not in man to grant what you ask."

He was trying her in her last stronghold,—proving her in her last depth.

"Is this your answer?" she asked. And indeed, after what had just passed between them, it did seem incredible.

The old man bowed. He seemed now impassible. He was stern, and hard as rock. He believed that he had wellnigh been deceived,—and deception practised successfully on him would have disgraced him in his own eyes forever. He believed, what he would not trust his lips to utter, that this applicant was Madeline Desperiers's agent. When he bowed and did not answer, a fear came down upon Elizabeth that almost took away her power of speech; that it did not quite deprive her of that power rendered it so much the more terrible for the anguish of its emphasis.

"Do women kneel to you when they ask the pardon of those they love?" said she, with a paling face. "What shall I do to move you? What have I not done? I trusted, that, having come so far, on such an errand, it must be that God was my leader. Am I mistaken? Or dare you withstand God? Tell me,—you are an old man,—have you no pity? Have you never had a sorrow? Can you not see that I never could have come here to plead for a bad man's life? Must I go back to see him die?"

"Madam, you are standing where I cannot come to argue with you. Pity and justice have their respective duties to perform. Oftentimes pity may be exercised, and the claims of justice waived; in the case of the man you plead for, it is simply impossible."

He had risen in displeasure to pronounce these final words. When that word "impossible" smote her as a sword, he touched a spring in the table, a bell sounded, Elizabeth went forth,—the audience was over.

She went not with tears, but self-possessed, imperious in mien, strong in despair. Coming into the presence of Madeline Desperiers, it was not needful that she should speak to make known the result of her audience.

"Have you learned when the vessel sails?" was her first question. It was her reply to the lady's glance,—a glance for which there were no attendant words in all the language.

"Tomorrow, Elizabeth."

"Are you ready?"

"I will be."

"Then I will give you to him. I promised that, too. I can fulfill that, at least. You must not think the prison-walls too dreary. My mother"—

"I understand, Elizabeth."

And they sailed on the morrow. No delay for wandering among the meadows of the pleasant town, for gossip with the men and women who were in childhood playmates of her father and her mother; no strolling along lovely river-banks. Chalons had nothing for Elizabeth; only one green nook of all the world had anything for her,—an island in the sea,—a prison on that island,—and there work to do worthy of Gabriel.

But—wonder of wonders!

Paul and Silas sang songs in their prison, and the jailer heard them; then there came an earthquake.

Who was he that found his cell-doors opened suddenly, and a messenger from out the courts of heaven there to guide his steps?

History is full of marvellous records; I add this to those. The eleventh hour goes always freighted with the weightiest events.

On board the vessel that carried Elizabeth and her charge back to Foray went a messenger commissioned of the king. He took from court to prison the partial pardon of Cordier. Liberty, but banishment henceforth. Stephen Cordier should be constrained to faithfulness towards his new love. Doomed to perpetual exile, he should be tempted by no late loyalty to Madeline Desperiers. The new acts of his drama should have nought to do with her. Justice forever!

Rascal that he was, according to the word of General Saterges, it was rascality which the General could pardon. He had gained many a victory in desperate strife,—now one other, the last and most complete: the kingdom's fairest star to shine among his honors! The proclamation of Stephen Cordier's pardon would instantly make broad the way to Chateau Desperiers. She came of a proud race, and he reckoned on her pride.

Let us not glory in that old man's defeat,—for he died ere his enemy received, through Elizabeth Montier, life, and the joy of life. Let us not call him by an evil name to whom the nation gave so fine a funeral,—but rather pause to listen to the music that comes forth in royal glory from the harmonious world of Adolphus,—and turn to look with loving reverence, not with doubt or wonder, and surely not with pity, on the serene face of Her Grace, the Drummer's Daughter.

WORK AND REST.

What have I yet to do? Day weareth on,— Flowers, that, opening new, Smiled through the morning's dew, Droop in the sun.

'Neath the noon's scorching glare Fainting I stand; Still is the sultry air, Silentness everywhere Through the hot land.

Yet must I labor still, All the day through,— Striving with earnest will Patient my place to fill, My work to do.

Long though my task may be, Cometh the end. God 'tis that helpeth me, His is the work, and He New strength will lend.

He will direct my feet, Strengthen my hand, Give me my portion meet;— Firm in his promise sweet Trusting I'll stand.

Up, then, to work again! God's word is given That none shall sow in vain, But find his ripened grain Garnered in heaven.

Longer the shadows fall,— Night cometh on; Low voices softly call, "Come, here is rest for all! Labor is done!"



COLIN CLOUT AND THE FAERY QUEEN.

EDMUND SPENSER IN A DOMESTIC POINT OF VIEW. HIS MISTRESS AND HIS WIFE.

PART I.—HIS MISTRESS.

The "Faery Queen" of Edmund Spenser is before us,—a vast and glittering mausoleum, in which the purpose of the constructor has long been entombed, we fear without hope of a happy resurrection. Nevertheless, into this splendid ruin, hieroglyphed with the most brilliant images the modern mind has yet conceived, we are about to dig,—not with the impious desire of dragging forth the intellectual tenant, now in the fourth century of its everlasting repose, but, haply, to discover in the outer chambers and passages of the pyramid some relics of the individual architect, his family and mode of life. In fact, we are anxious to make the acquaintance of Mistress Spenser and introduce her to the American public. A slight sketch of the poet's life, up to the period of his marriage, may afford us some clue to the quarter from which he selected his bride; we shall therefore give what is known of him in the fewest possible words.

Edmund Spenser, by family, was English, and by birth a cockney. In his "Prothalamion" he thus pleads guilty to the chime of Bow-bells in his infant ear:—

"At length they all to merrie London came, To merrie London, my most kindly nurse, That to me gave this life's first native source; Though from another place I take my name And house of ancient fame."

At what time of his life he became connected with Ireland is very uncertain; it was probably early. At or about the time of Sir Henry Sidney's vice-royalty, or in the interval between that and the lieutenancy of Lord Grey De Wilton, there was a "Mr. Spenser" actively and confidentially employed by the Irish government; and that this may have been the poet is, from collateral circumstances, far from improbable. Spenser was the friend and protege of Sir Philip Sidney, (son of the before-named Sir Henry,) and of his uncle, the Earl of Leicester. Lord Grey De Wilton was by marriage connected with both, and lived with them on terms of the closest intimacy, social, literary, and political. In choosing an officer, then, for so important a post as that of secretary, whom would the one select or the others more confidently recommend than a young man of genius, known to all the parties, and who already had some knowledge and experience of Irish affairs? Be this as it may, we know that in 1580, Spenser, then in his twenty-seventh year, accompanied Lord Grey De Wilton into Ireland as secretary; and that he had been there before, in some official capacity not undistinguished, is evidenced by the fact, that the Lord Justice, previously to his arrival, speaks of him as "having many ways deserved some consideration from her Majesty."

We do not care to inquire into the peculiar services for which he was so speedily favored with a large grant of lands forfeited by the Desmonds. Such official transactions, we fear, would reflect little credit on the poet; no doubt he was a good man—according to the morality of his age; and if he did suggest the poisoning of a few thousand human beings of all ages and both sexes, (some go so far as to allege that his fervid imagination contemplated the utter extermination of the race,) he merely acted up to the opinions prevalent in the time and polished court of "Good Queen Bess." The beings were "mere Irishry,"—a stumbling-block in the path of British civilization, and therefore to be removed, per fas et nefas.

Spenser took up his residence on the forfeit lands in Cork; there married, and reared a family which inherited his estate; that he subsequently died in England was as mere a casualty as that by which Swift was born in Ireland. Certain it is that the greater and the better portion of his works in prose and verse was composed during his residence in the land of his adoption. Thus, in the sonnets appended to the "Faery Queen," the poem on which his celebrity rests, he addresses this Earl of Ormond:—

"Receive, most noble lord, a single taste Of the wilde fruit which savage soyle hath bred; Which, beeing through long wars left almost waste, With brutish barbarisme is overspred."

Again, addressing himself to his patron, Lord Grey, he says,—

"Rude rimes, the which a rustick nurse did weave In savage soyle, far from Parnasso Mount."

Several other of the finest productions of his brain owe their birth to the "savage soyle" of Ireland; his descriptions of the country, his dialogue on Irish affairs, his "Amoretti" and "Colin Clout's come home again," belong confessedly to this category.

Having discovered thus much about the poet, we now strike out in a new direction in search of his better half. Upon this point, unfortunately, there hangs a mist,—not impenetrable, as we conceive, but yet impenetrated,—a secret to which the given clue has been neglected, and which remains to the present day the opprobrium of a careless biography. The fact and the date of his marriage in Ireland are obtained from his own writings; but, further than that her name was Elizabeth,—a fact recorded by himself,—the lady of his choice remains unknown, her maiden name and family. Mere trifles these, to be sure,—but interesting in an antiquarian point of view,—and valuable, perhaps, should the inquiry hereafter lead some more than usually acute bookworm into the real mystery and meaning, the main drift of that inexplicable "Faery Queen."

One difficulty in the matter is, that Edmund appears to have been a "susceptible subject." He was twice attacked with the tender malady, and records, in glowing numbers, his passion for two mistresses. One he calls Rosalinde, and celebrates in the "Shepherd's Calendar"; the other, Elizabeth, to whom he was undoubtedly married, is the theme of admiration in his "Amoretti." Rosalinde was his early love; Elizabeth, the passion of his maturer years. When six-and-twenty, hopeless of Rosalinde, he wound up his philomel complainings of her cruelty by a formal commission to his friend Gabriel Harvey (Hobbinoll) to declare his suit at an end:—

"Adieu, good Hobbinoll, that was so true; Tell Rosalinde her Colin bids adieu."

It took him fourteen years—surely a sufficient time!—to recover from this disappointment; for he is in his forty-first year, when, in his Sixtieth Sonnet, he represents himself as having been then one year enamored of Elizabeth:—

"So since the winged god his planet cleare Began in me to move, one yeare is spent; The which doth longer unto me appears Than all those fourty which my life outwent."

That Rosalinde was not, as has been somewhat rashly conjectured, the poetic name of Elizabeth, is conclusively established by a poem written between 1591 and 1595, in which he speaks of some insurmountable barrier between them, why "her he might not love." [1] The wife he loved, and the mistress between whose love and him there existed such a barrier, could not have been the same person, it is evident. But who this fair and false Rosalinde was, though known to many of his contemporaries, has become a mystery. That she was a real personage is placed beyond cavil by "E.K.," the ostensible editor of the "Shepherd's Calendar"; and he has given us a clue to her name, if we have but the wit to follow it. Now "E.K." we more than shrewdly suspect to have been either Spenser himself, or his friend Gabriel Harvey, or both together. Two more egregious self-laudators are not to be found in the range of English literature: Spenser loses no opportunity of puffing "Colin Clout"; and Harvey was openly charged by Thomas Nash with having forged commendatory epistles and sonnets in his own praise, under the name of Thorius etc. "E.K.," therefore, must be considered as pretty high authority; and what says "E.K."? Why, this: "Rosalinde is also a feigned name, which, being well ordered, will bewray the verie name of his love and mistresse." By "well ordering" the "feigned name" E.K. undoubtedly means disposing or arranging the letters of which it is composed in some form of anagram or metagram,—a species of wit much cultivated by the most celebrated poets of the time, Spenser included, and not deemed beneath the dignity of the learned Camden to expound.

A few examples of this "alchemy of wit," as Camden calls it, will reconcile our modern notions of the [Greek: to trepon] with the puerile ingenuity thought graceful, at that unripe period of our literature, by some of the most accomplished writers and readers of the day. Let us take an extravagant instance. Sir Philip Sidney, having abridged his own name into Phil. Sid., anagrammatized it into Philisides. Refining still further, he translated Sid., the abridgment of sidus, into [Greek: astron], and, retaining the Phil., as derived from [Greek: philos], he constructed for himself another pseudonym and adopted the poetical name of Astrophil. Feeling, moreover, that the Lady Rich, celebrated in his sonnets, was the loadstar of his affections, he designates her, in conformity with his own assumed name, Stella. Christopher Marlow's name is transmuted into Wormal, and the royal Elizabetha is frequently addressed as Ah-te-basile! Doctor Thomas Lodge, author of "Rosalinde; or Euphues, his Golden Legacy," (which Shakspeare dramatized into "As you like it,") has anagrammatized his own name into Golde,—and that of Dering into Ringde. The author of "Dolarney's Primrose" was a Doctor Raynolde. John Hind, in his "Eliosto Libidinoso," transmutes his own name into Dinchin Matthew Roydon becomes Donroy. And Shakspeare, even, does not scruple to alchemize the Resolute John, or John Florio, into the pedantic Holofernes of "Love's Labor's Lost." A thousand such fantastic instances of "trifling with the letter" might be quoted; and even so late as the reign of Queen Anne we find this foolish wit indulged. The cynical Swift[2] stoops to change Miss Waring into Varina; Esther (quasi Aster, a star) Johnson is known as Stella; Essy Van-homrigh figures as Vanessa; while Cadenus, by an easy change of syllables, is resolved into Decanus, or the Dean himself in propria persona and canonicals.

In the "Shepherd's Calendar," the very poem in which Spenser's unknown mistress figures as Rosalinde, the poet has alchemized Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, into Algrind, and made Ellmor, Bishop of London, Morell, (it is to be hoped he was so before,) by merely transposing the letters. What wonder, then, if, complying with an art so general and convenient, he should be found contriving, in the case of both his mistresses at once, to reveal his passion and conceal the name of his enslaver from the public gaze?

The prolific hint of "E.K." set the commentators at work,—but hitherto without success. The author of the life prefixed to Church's edition conjectures Rose Linde,—forsooth, because it appears from Fuller's "Worthies," that in the reign of Henry the Sixth—only eight reigns too early for the birth of our rural beauty—there was one John Linde, a resident in the County of Kent! Not satisfied with this conjecture, Malone suggests that she may have been an Eliza Horden—the z changed, according to Camden's rules, into s, and the aspirate sunk. Malone's foundation for this theory is, that one Thomas Horden was a contemporary of John Linde, aforesaid, and resided in the same county! Both these conjectures are absurd and unsupported by any collateral evidence. To have given them the remotest air of probability, the critics should have proved some acquaintance or connection between the parties respectively, —some courtship, or contiguity of residence, which might have brought the young people within the ordinary sphere of attraction. Wrong as they were in their conclusions, the search of these commentators was in the right direction. The anagram, "well-ordered," will undoubtedly bewray the secret. Let us try if we may not follow it with better success.

Rosalinde reads, anagrammatically, into Rose Daniel; for, according to Camden, "a letter may be doubled, or rejected, or contrariwise, if the sense fall aptly"; we thus get rid of the redundant e, and have a perfect anagram. Now Spenser had an intimate and beloved friend and brother-poet, named Samuel Daniel, author of many tragedies and comedies, an eight-canto poem called "The Civil Wars of England," "A Vision of Twelve Goddesses," a prose history of England, and "Musa," a defence of rhyme. Spenser alludes to his poetic genius with high praise in his "Colin Clout." This Daniel had a sister named Rose, who was married in due time to a friend of her brother's,—not, indeed, to Spenser, but to a scholar, whose eccentricities have left such durable tracks behind them, that we can trace his mark through many passages of Spenser's love complaints, otherwise unintelligible. The supposition that Rose Daniel was Rosalinde satisfies every requisite, and presents a solution of the mystery; the anagram is perfect; the poet's acquaintance with the brother naturally threw him into contact with the sister; while the circumstance of her marriage with another justifies the complaint of infidelity, and accounts for the "insurmountable barrier," that is, a living husband. Daniel was the early protege of the Pembroke family, as was Spenser of the house of Leicester. The youthful poets must often have met in the company of their mutual friend, Sir Philip Sidney,—for the Countess of Pembroke was the "Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother," celebrated by Ben Jonson, and consequently niece, as Sir Philip was nephew, of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. Rose and Edmund were thus thrown together under circumstances every way favorable to the development of love in a breast so susceptible as that of the "passionate shepherd."

Other circumstances in the life of Rose Daniel correspond so strikingly with those attributed to Rosalinde, as strongly to corroborate the foregone conclusion.

Rosalinde, after having given encouragement to her enamored shepherd, faithlessly and finally deserted him in favor of a rival. This is evident throughout the "Shepherd's Calendar." The First Eclogue reveals his passion:—

"I love thilk lass, (alas! why do I love?) And am forlorne, (alas! why am I lorn?) She deigns not my good will, but doth reprove, And of my rural music holdeth scorn."

Her scorn, however, may have meant no more than the natural coyness of a maiden whom the learned Upton somewhat drolly designates as "a skittish female." [3] Indeed, Spenser must have thought so himself, and with reason, for she continues to receive his presents, "the kids, the cracknels, and the early fruit," sent through his friend Hobbinoll (Gabriel Harvey).

We hear of no alteration of his circumstances until we reach the Sixth Eclogue, in which the progress and utter disappointment of his suit are distinctly and bitterly complained of. "This eclogue," says the editorial "E.K.," "is wholly vowed to the complaining of Colin's ill-success in love. For being (as is aforesaid) enamoured of a country lass, Rosalinde, and having (as it seemeth) found place in her heart, he lamenteth to his dear friend Hobbinoll that he is now forsaken unfaithfully, and in his stead Menalcas, another shepherd, received disloyally: and this is the whole argument of the eclogue." In fact, she broke her plighted vow to Colin Clout, transferred her heart to Menalcas, and let her hand accompany it.

Now, from this and the preceding circumstances, the inference appears inevitable that, at or about the time of the composition of this Sixth Eclogue, the Rosalinde therein celebrated was married, or engaged to be married, to the person denounced as Menalcas.

Whether the ante-nuptial course of Rose Daniel corresponded with the faithlessness ascribed to Rosalinda we confess we have no documentary evidence to show: but this much is certain, that Rose was married to an intimate friend of her brother's; and, from the characteristics recorded of him by Spenser, we shall presently prove that that friend, the husband of Rosalinde, is no other than the treacherous rival denounced as Menalcas in the "Shepherd's Calendar." Who, then, is Menalcas?

Amongst the distinguished friends of Samuel Daniel was a man of much celebrity in his day,—the redoubted, or, as he chose to call himself, the "Resolute" John Florio (Shakspeare's Holofernes). This gentleman, an Italian by descent, was born in London in the same year with Spenser, and was a class-fellow with Daniel at Oxford. He was the author of many works, well received by the public,—as his "First Fruits," "Second Fruits," "Garden of Recreation," and so forth; also, of an excellent Italian and English dictionary, styled "A World of Words,"—the basis of all Anglo-Italian dictionaries since published. He was a good French scholar, as is proved by his translation of Montaigne; and wrote some verses, highly prized by Elizabeth and her successor, James I. Indeed, his general learning and accomplishments recommended him to both courts; and, on the accession of James, he was appointed classical tutor to Prince Henry, and reader of French and Italian to the Royal Consort, Anne of Denmark; he was also a Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, and Clerk of the Closet to his Majesty; and, finally, it was chiefly through his influence that Samuel Daniel was appointed Gentleman Extraordinary and Groom of the Privy Chamber to Queen Anne.

Long prior to this prosperous estate, however, his skill as a linguist had recommended him to the patronage and intimacy of many of the chief nobility of Elizabeth's court; and at an early period of his life, we find him engaged, as was his friend Daniel, as tutor to some of the most illustrious families,—such as Pembroke, Dudley, Essex, Southampton, etc.; [4] all which, together with his friendship for Daniel, must needs have brought him into the acquaintance of Edmund Spenser, the friend of Sidney and his relatives. He was also on the most friendly terms with Gabriel Harvey, and a warm admirer (as his works attest) of the genius of Daniel. We have thus gathered our dramatis personae, the parties most essentially interested in Spenser's unlucky passion, into one familiar group.

Of Rose Daniel's marriage with the "Resolute John Florio" there is no manner of question. It is recorded by Anthony a Wood in his "Athenae Oxonienses," acknowledged by Samuel Daniel in the commendatory verses prefixed to Florio's "World of Words," and she is affectionately remembered in Florio's will as his "beloved wife, Rose." [5] Thus, if not Spenser's Rosalinde, she was undoubtedly a Rosalinde to John Florio.

We shall now proceed to gather some further particles of evidence, to add their cumulative weight to the mass of slender probabilities with which we are endeavoring to sustain our conjectures.

Spenser's Rosalinde had at least a smattering of the Italian. Samuel Daniel was an Italian scholar; for his whole system of versification is founded on that model. Spenser, too, was well acquainted with the language; for, long before any English version of Tasso's "Gerusalemme" had appeared, he had translated many passages which occur in the "Faery Queen" from that poem, and—without any public acknowledgment that we can find trace of—appropriated them to himself.[6] What more natural than that Rose should have shared her brother's pleasant study, and, in company with him and Spenser, accepted the tuition of John Florio?

The identity of Florio's wife and Rosalinde may be fairly inferred from some circumstances consequent upon the lady's marriage, and otherwise connected with her fortunes, which appear to be shadowed forth with great acrimony in the "Faery Queen," where the Rosalinde of the "Shepherd's Calendar" appears before us again under the assumed name of Mirabella. Lest the ascription of these circumstances to particular parties may be imputed to prejudice or prepossession for a favorite theory, we shall state them on the authority of commentators and biographers who never even dreamed of the view of the case we are now endeavoring to establish.

The learned Upton, in his preface to the "Faery Queen," was led to observe the striking coincidence, the absolute similarity of character, between Spenser's Rosalinde and his Mirabella. "If the 'Faery Queen,'" quoth he, "is a moral allegory with historical allusions to our poet's times, one might be apt to think, that, in a poem written on so extensive a plan, the cruel Rosalinde would be in some way or other typically introduced; and methinks I see her plainly characterized in Mirabella. Perhaps, too, her expressions were the same that are given to Mirabella,—'the free lady,' 'she was born free,'" etc.[7]

"We are now come," says Mr. G.L. Craik, by far the most acute and sagacious of all the commentators on Spenser, "to a very remarkable passage. Having thus disposed of Turpin, the poet suddenly addresses his readers, saying,—

'But turn we back now to that lady free Whom late we left riding upon an ass Led by a carle and fool which by her side did pass.'

"This is the 'fair maiden clad in mourning weed,' who, it may be remembered, was met, as related at the beginning of the preceding canto, by Timias and Serena. There, however, she was represented as attended only by a fool. What makes this episode especially interesting is the conjecture that has been thrown out, and which seems intrinsically probable, that the 'lady' is Spenser's own Rosalinde, by whom he had been, jilted, or at least rejected, more than a quarter of a century before. His unforgetting resentment is supposed to have taken this revenge."

So far with Mr. Upton and Mr. Craik we heartily concur as to the identity of Rosalinde and Mirabella; and feel confident that a perusal and comparison of the episode of Mirabella with the whole story of Rosalinde will leave every candid and intelligent reader no choice but to come to the same conclusion: We shall now collate the attributes assigned in common to those two impersonations in their maiden state, and note the correspondence.

Both are of humble birth,—Rosalinde being described in the "Shepherd's Calendar" as "the widow's daughter of the glen"; her low origin and present exalted position are frequently alluded to,—her beauty, her haughtiness, and love of liberty. Mirabella is thus described in Book VI. "Faery Queen," Canto vii:—

"She was a lady of great dignity, And lifted up to honorable place; Famous through all the land of Faerie: Though of mean parentage and kindred base, Yet decked with wondrous gifts of Nature's grace."

"But she thereof grew proud and insolent, And scorned them all that lore unto her meant."

"She was born free, not bound to any wight."

Of Rosalinde we hear in "Colin Clout" that her ambition is

"So high in thought as she herself in place."

And that she

"Loatheth each lowly thing with lofty eye."

Her beauty, too, is dwelt upon as a "thing celestial,"—her humble family alluded to,—the boasted freedom of her heart; and upon Rosalinde and Mirabella an affectation of the demigoddessship, which turned their heads, is equally charged. In all essential characteristics they are "twin cherries growing on one stalk."

Of Rose Daniel's life so little is known, particularly during her unmarried years, that we are unable to fasten upon her the unamiable qualities of the allegorical beauties we assume to be her representatives; but if we can identify her married fortune with theirs,—then, in addition to the congruities already mentioned, we can have no hesitation in imputing to her the disposition which brought down upon them, so bitterly and relentlessly, the poetic justice of the disappointed shepherd. We may thus dispose of them in brief.

Mirabella's lot was severe. She was married (if we rightly interpret the language of the allegory) to a "fool,"—that is to say, to a very absurd and ridiculous person, under whose conduct she was exposed to the "whips and scorns," the disdain and bitter retaliation, natural to the union of a beautiful and accomplished, though vain and haughty woman, with a very eccentric, irritable, and bombastic humorist.

Rosalinde was married—with no better fate, we fear—to the vain and treacherous Menalcas.

And Rose Daniel became the wife of the "Resolute John Florio."

We shall commence with the substantial characters, and see how their histories fall in with the fortunes attributed to the allegorical. Rose Daniel's husband, maugre his celebrity and places of dignity and profit, was beset with tempers and oddities which exposed him, more perhaps than any man of his time, to the ridicule of contemporary wits and poets. He was, at least in his literary career, jealous, envious, irritable, vain, pedantic and bombastical, petulant and quarrelsome,—ever on the watch for an affront, and always in the attitude of a fretful porcupine with a quill pointed in every direction against real or supposititious enemies. In such a state of mental alarm and physical vaporing did he live, that he seems to have proclaimed a promiscuous war against all gainsayers,— that is, the literary world; and for the better assurance to them of his indomitable valor, and to himself of indemnity from disturbance, he adopted a formidable prefix to his name; and to "any bill, warrant, quittance, or obligation," to every address, prelude, preface, [8] introduction, or farewell, accompanying any of his numerous works, he subscribed himself the Resolute,—"Resolute John Florio."

Conduct so absurd, coupled with some personal defects, and a character so petulantly vainglorious, exposed the "Resolute" to the bitter sarcasm of contemporary writers. Accordingly we find him through life encompassed by a host of tormentors, and presenting his chevaux-de-frise of quills against them at all and every point. In the Epistle Dedicatory to the second edition of his Dictionary, we find him engaged morsu et unguibus with a swarm of literary hornets, against whom he inveighs as "sea-dogs,—land-critics, —monsters of men, if not beasts rather than men,—whose teeth are cannibals',—their tongues adders' forks,—their lips asps' poison, —their eyes basilisks',—their breath the breath of a grave,—their words like swords of Turks, which strive which shall dive deepest into the Christian lying before them." Of a verity we may say that John Florio was sadly exercised when he penned this pungent paragraph. He then falls foul of the players, who—to use the technical phrase of the day—"staged" him with no small success. "With this common cry of curs" in general, and with one poet and one piece of said poet's handiwork in particular, he enters into mortal combat with such vehement individuality as enables us at a glance to detect the offence and the offender. He says, "Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plays and scour their mouths on Socrates, these very mouths they make to vilify shall be the means to amplify his virtues," etc. "And here," says Doctor Warburton, "Shakspeare is so clearly marked out as not to be mistaken." This opinion is fortified by the concurrence of Farmer, Steevens, Reid, Malone, Knight, Collier, and Hunter; and, from the additional lights thrown upon this subject by their combined intelligence, no doubt seems to exist that Holofernes, the pedantic schoolmaster in "Love's Labor's Lost," had his prototype in John Florio, the Resolute.

"Florio," according to Farmer, "gave the first affront by asserting that 'the plays they play in England are neither right comedies nor tragedies, but representations of histories without any decorum.'" We know that Shakspeare must, of his own personal knowledge of the man, have been qualified to paint his character; for while the great dramatist was the early and intimate friend of the Earl of Southampton, the petulant lexicographer boasts of having for years been domesticated in the pay and patronage of that munificent patron of letters. Warburton thinks "it was from the ferocity of his temper, that Shakspeare chose for him the name which Rabelais gives to his pedant of Thubal Holoferne." Were the matter worth arguing, we should say, it was rather from the proclivity with which (according to Camden's rules) the abbreviated Latin name Johnes Florio or Floreo falls into Holofernes. Rabelais and anagrammatism may divide the slender glory of the product between them.

But neither Shakspeare's satire nor Florio's absurdities are comprehended within this single character. Subsequent examination of the text of "Love's Labor's Lost" has enabled the critics to satisfy themselves that the part of Don Adnano de Armado, the "phantastical courtier," was devised to exhibit another phase in the character of the Resolute Italian. In Holofernes we have the pedantic tutor; in Don Adriano a lively picture of a ridiculous lover and pompous retainer of the court.

By a fine dramatic touch, Shakspeare has made each describe the other, in such a way that the portrait might stand for the speaker himself, and thus establishes a dual-identity. Thus, Armado, describing Holofernes, says, "That's all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch; for I protest the schoolmaster is exceeding fantastical,—too, too vain,—too, too vain; but we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra";—whilst Holofernes, not behind his counterpart in self-esteem, sees in the other the defects which he cannot detect in himself. "Novi hominem tanquam te" quoth he;—"his humor is lofty; his discourse peremptory; his tongue filed; his eye ambitious; his gait majestical; and his general behavior vain, ridiculous, and thrasonical. He is too picked, too spruce, too affected, too odd, as it were; too peregrinate, as I may call it; he draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasms," etc.

Should further proof be needed that Florio, Holofernes, and Armado form a dramatic trinity in unity, we can find it in the personal appearance of the Italian. There was something amiss with the face of the Resolute, which could not escape the observation of his friends, much less his enemies. A friend and former pupil of his own,—Sir Wm. Cornwallis, speaking in high praise of Florio's translation of Montaigne, observes,—"It is done by a fellow less beholding to Nature for his fortune than to wit; yet lesser for his face than his fortune. The truth is, he looks more like a good fellow than a wise man; and yet he is wise beyond either his fortune or education." [9] It is certain, then, that, behaving like a fool in some things, he looked very like a fool in others.

Is it not a remarkable coincidence, that both his supposed dramatic counterparts have the same peculiarity? When Armado tells the 'country lass' he is wooing, that he will 'tell her wonders,' she exclaims,—'skittish female' that she is,—'What, with that face?' And when Holofernes, nettled with the ridicule showered on his abortive impersonation of Judas Maccabaeus, says, 'I will not be put out of countenance,'—Byron replies, 'Because thou hast no face.' The indignant pedant justifies, and, pointing to his physiognomy, inquires, 'What is this?' Whereupon the waggish courtiers proceed to define it: it is 'a cittern-head,' 'the head of a bodkin,' 'a death's-face in a ring,' 'the face of an old Roman coin, scarce seen,' and so forth.

The satire here embodied is of a nature too personal to be considered the mere work of a riotous fancy. It is a trait individualizing and particularising the person at whom the more general satire is aimed; and, coupled with the infirmities of the victim's moral nature, it fastens upon poor Florio identity with "the brace of coxcombs." Such satire may be censured as ungenerous; we cannot help that,—litera scripta manet,—and we cannot rail the seal from the bond. Such attacks were the general, if not universal, practice of the age in which Shakspeare flourished; and we have no right to blame him for not being as far in advance of his age, morally, as he was intellectually. A notorious instance of a personal attack under various characters in one play is to be found in Ben Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair," wherein he boasts of having, under the characters of Lanthorn, Leatherhead, the Puppet-showman, and Adam Overdo, satirized the celebrated Inigo Jones,—

"By all his titles and whole style at once Of tireman, montebank, and Justice Jones."

It was probably to confront and outface "Aristophanes and his comedians," and to "abrogate the scurrility" of the "sea-dogs" and "land-critics," that our Resolute lexicographer prefixed to the Enlarged Edition of his Dictionary and to his translation of Montaigne, his portrait or effigies, engraved by Hole. This portrait would, to a person unapprised of any peculiarity in the original, present apparently little or nothing to justify the remark of Cornwallis. But making due allowance for the address, if not the flattery, of a skilful painter, it were hardly possible for the observer, aware of the blemish, not to detect in the short and close-curled fell of hair, the wild, staring eyes, the contour of the visage,—which, expanding from the narrow and wrinkled forehead into cheek-bones of more than Scottish amplitude, suddenly contracts to a pointed chin, rendered still more acute by a short, peaked beard, —not to detect in this lozenge-shaped visnomy and its air, at once haggard and grotesque, traits that not only bear out the remark of his pupil, but the raillery also of the court wits in Shakespeare's dramatic satire.

Whatever happiness Rose Daniel may have had in the domestic virtues of her lord, his relations with the world, his temper, eccentricities, and personal appearance could have given her little. That he was an attached and affectionate husband his last will and testament gives touching post-mortem evidence.

Let us return to the fortunes of the faithless Rosalinde. It appears she married Menalcas,—the treacherous friend and rival of the "passionate shepherd." Who, then, was Menalcas? or why was this name specially selected by our poet to designate the man he disliked?

The pastoral name Menalcas is obviously and pointedly enough adopted from the Eclogues of Virgil; in which, by comparing the fifteenth line of the second with the sixty-sixth of the third, we shall find he was the rival who (to use the expression of Spenser) "by treachery did underfong" the affections of the beautiful Alexis from his enamored master. In this respect the name would well fit Florio, who, from his intimacy with the Daniels and their friends, could not but have known the passion of the poet, and the encouragement at one time given him by his fickle mistress.

Again, there was at this time prevalent a French conceit,—"imported," as Camden tells us, "from Calais, and so well liked by the English, although most ridiculous, that, learned or unlearned, he was nobody that could not hammer out of his name an invention by this wit-craft, and picture it accordingly. Whereupon," he adds, "who did not busy his braine to hammer his devise out of this forge?" [10] This wit-craft was the rebus.

Florio's rebus or device, then, was a Flower. We have specimens of his fondness for this nomenclative punning subscribed to his portrait: —

"Floret adhue, et adhue florebit: floreat ultra Florius hae specie floridus,—optat amans."

And it was with evident allusion to this conceit that he named his several works his "First Fruits," "Second Fruits," "Garden of Recreation," and so forth. Spenser did not miss the occasion of reducing this figurative flower to a worthless weed:—

"Go tell the las her flower hath wox a weed."

In the preceding stanza we find this weed distinctly identified as Menalcas:—

"And thou, Menalcas! that by treachery Didst underfong my lass to wax so light."

Another reason for dubbing Florio Menalcas may be found in the character and qualities ascribed to the treacherous shepherd by Virgil. He was not without talent, for in one of the Eclogues he bears his part in the poetical contention with credit; but he was unfaithful and fraudulent in his amours, envious, quarrelsome, scurrilous, and a braggart; and his face was remarkable for its dark, Italian hue,—"quamvis ille fuscus," etc. Compared with the undoubted character of John Florio, as already exhibited, that of Menalcas so corresponds as to justify its appropriation to the rival of Spenser.

There is a further peculiarity in the name itself, which renders its application to John Florio at once pointed and pregnant with the happiest ridicule. Florio rejoiced in the absurd prefix of Resolute. Now Menalcas is a compound of two Greek words ([Greek: menos] and [Greek: ulkm]) fully expressive of this idea, and frequently used together in the sense of RESOLUTION by the best classical authorities, —thus, "[Greek: menos d'ulkmd te lathpsmat]." [11] Again, in Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon [Greek: menos] in composition is said to "bear always a collateral notion of resolve and firmness." And here we have the very notion expressed by the very word we want. Menalcas is the appropriate and expressive nom de guerre of the "Resolute."

Every unprejudiced reader will admit, that in emblem, name, character; and appearance, John Florio and Menalcas are allegorically identical; and it follows, as a consequence, that Rosalinde, married to the same person as Rose Daniel, is one and the same with her anagrammatic synonyme,—and that her sorrows and joys, arising out of the conduct of her husband, must have had the same conditions.

Having identified Rosalinde with Rose Daniel, it may be thought that nothing further of interest with respect to either party remains, which could lead us into further detail;—but Spenser himself having chosen, under another personification, to follow the married life of this lady, and revenge himself upon the treachery of her husband, we should lose an opportunity both of interpreting his works and of forming a correct estimate of his character, if we neglected to pursue with him the fortunes of Mirabella. Like her type and prototype, we find that she has to suffer those mortifications which a good wife cannot but experience on witnessing the scorn, disdain, and enmity which follow the perversity of a wayward husband. Such, at least, we understand to be the meaning of those allegorical passages in which, as a punishment for her cruelty and pride, she is committed by the legal decree of Cupid to the custody and conduct of Scorn and Disdain. We meet with her for the first time as:

"a fair maiden clad in mourning WEED, Upon a mangy JADE unmeetly set, And a leud fool her leading thorough dry and wet."

Again she is:

"riding upon an ass Led by a carle and fool which by her side did pass."

These companions treat her with great contempt and cruelty; the Carle abuses her:

"With all the evil terms and cruel mean That he could make; and eke that angry fool, Which followed her with cursed hands uncleane Whipping her horse, did with his smarting-tool Oft whip her dainty self, and much augment her dool."

All this, of course, is to be understood allegorically. The Carle and Fool—the former named Disdain, the latter Scorn—are doubtless (as in the case of Holofernes and Armado) the double representatives of the same person. By the ass on which she rides is signified, we suppose, the ridiculous position to which marriage has reduced her haughty beauty; the taunts and scourges are, metaphorically, the wounds of injured self-respect.

The Carle himself is extravagantly and most "Resolutely" painted as a monster in nature,—stern, terrible, fearing no living wight,—his looks dreadful,—his eyes fiery, and rolling from left to right in search of "foeman worthy of his steel"; he strides with the stateliness of a crane, and, at every step, rises on tiptoe; his dress and aspect resemble those of the Moors of Malabar, and remind us forcibly of the swarthy Menalcas. Indeed, if we compare this serio-comic exaggeration of the Carle with the purely comic picture of Don Armado given by Holofernes, we shall see at a glance that both depict the same object of ridicule.

That Mirabella is linked in wedlock to this angry Fool is nowhere more clearly depicted than in the passage where Prince Arthur, having come to her rescue, is preparing to put her tormentor to death, until his sword is arrested by the shrieks and entreaties of the unhappy lady that his life may be spared for her sake:—

"Stay, stay, Sir Knight! for love of God abstain From that unwares you weetlesse do intend! Slay not that carle, though worthy to be slain; For more on him doth than himself depend: My life will by his death have lamentable end."

This is the language of a virtuous wife, whom neither the absurdities of a vainglorious husband, nor "the whips and scorns of the time," to which his conduct necessarily exposes her, can detach from her duties and affections.

Assuming, then, that the circumstances of this allegory identify Mirabella with Rosalinde, and Rosalinde with Rose Daniel, and, in like manner, the Fool and Carle with Menalcas and John Florio, have we not here a thrice-told tale, agreeing so completely in all essential particulars as to leave no room for doubt of its original application to the early love-adventures in which the poet was disappointed? And these points settled, though intrinsically of trivial value, become of the highest interest, as strong corroboration of the personal import of all the allegorical characters introduced into the works of Spenser. Thus, in the "Shepherd's Calendar," the confidant of the lover is Hobbinoll, or Gabriel Harvey; and in the "Faery Queen," the adventurers who come to Mirabella's relief are Prince Arthur, Sir Timias, and Serena, the well-known allegorical impersonations of Spenser's special friends, the Earl of Leicester, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton, to whom Sir Walter was married. Are not these considerations, added to the several circumstances and coincidences already detailed, conclusive of the personal and domestic nature of the history conveyed in both the poetical vehicles? And do they not amount to a moral demonstration, that, in assigning the character and adventures of Mirabella and Rosalinde to the sister of Samuel Daniel, the wife of John Florio, we have given no unfaithful account of the first fickle mistress of Edmund Spenser?—We shall next ascertain the name and history of his wife from the internal evidence left behind him in his works.



PART II.—SPENSER'S WIFE.

The second passion of our poet, having had birth

"In savage soyle, far from Parnasso Mount,"

is more barren of literary gossip and adventure, and may, therefore, we trust, be compressed into narrow limits.

The chief evidence on which we shall have to rely in this case must be of a similar nature with the former;—not that we shall have to interpret allegories, but the true reading of an anagram; for we may set out on our pursuit, assured, that, according to the poetical alchemy of his age, Spenser did not fail to screen his second innamorata under the same "quintessential cloud of wit" as his first; and that we shall find in his homage some sobriquet, "the right ordering of which" (as in the former case) "will bewray the verie name of his love and mistresse."

On this point, however, his biographies and biographers have hitherto preserved absolute silence. They tell us he was married, and had several children by his wife; but, of the name, the rank, or the country of the lady they confess their ignorance. Todd informs us, that he "married a person of very inferior rank to himself,"— "a country lass";—and he quotes the "Faery Queen" to prove his assertion:—

"For, certes, she was but a country lass."

It is true, those words occur in the passage cited by the commentator from the "Faery Queen"; most probably they refer to the person in dispute. But she was no more "a country lass," in the ordinary acceptation of the phrase, than was Spenser himself (Clerk of the Council of Munster) "a shepherd's boy." Had Mr. Todd consulted that portion of our poet's works especially devoted to record this passion, its progress and issue, he would have found she was a "lady," whose rank was rather "disparaged" than otherwise by "sorting" with Edmund Spenser, albeit his blood was noble:—

"To all those happy blessings which you have With plenteous hand by Heaven upon you thrown, This one disparagement they to you gave, That you your love lent to so mean a one." Amoretti. Sonnet lxvi.

Spenser devoted two entire poems expressly to this passion,—to wit, the "Amoretti," describing its vicissitudes, and the "Epithalamion, or Marriage Song," in which he celebrates its consummation. There are many allusions to it also in the "Faery Queen" and "Colin Clout's come home again"; and from these sources we propose to supply the name, the lineage, and residence of the happy fair.

She was, undoubtedly, a person of rank and blood, residing in the poet's vicinage, and is so described in many of the Sonnets. She is constantly addressed as "a lady," enjoying the respect and the elegancies, if not the luxuries, of her condition,—well-educated, accomplished in the arts of design and embroidery,—at whose father's house the poet was no infrequent visitor. Her residence, or that of her family, could not have been far from Kilcolman Castle; and was seated, most probably, on the banks of the Mulla, (Spenser's favorite stream,) a tributary of the Blackwater, which empties into the sea at Youghal. For she is seen for the first time in the "Faery Queen" as the love of Colin Clout, (Spenser,) dancing among the Nymphs and Graces,—herself a fourth Grace,—on a mountain-top, the description of which exactly corresponds with all his other descriptions of his beloved Mole,—a mountain which nearly overhangs his castle; [12] and, undoubtedly, the bridesmaids and companions who attended her at the hymeneal altar were the "Nymphs of Mulla," and,

"of the rivers, of the forest green, And of the sea that neighbours to her near,"—

a localization which would fix her family mansion somewhere between Kilcolman Castle and the prosperous seaport town of Youghal,—but somewhat nearer to the former. This limits our inquiries within the narrow range of the lands bordering the Mulla waters.

But our poet, we believe, did not stop with these ambiguous indications of her birthplace and family; he had promised her to immortalize the triumph of his passion, and to leave to all posterity a monument of the "rare wonderment" of the lady's beauty. [13] He had gone farther; and, in three several sonnets,[14] vowed to eternize her name—"your glorious name in golden monument"—after his own fashion, and to the best of his abilities. We have no right, then, to doubt that he fulfilled his promise; and if we can fix upon any distinctive appellation or epithet addressed to her, common to the several poems which professedly reveal his passion, and solvable into the name of a person whose residence and circumstances correspond with those ascribed to the lady by her worshipper, may we not most reasonably conclude that we have at length discovered the long-lost secret?

To begin with the beginning,—the "Amoretti." Here she is an Angel, in all moods and tenses, the "leaves," "lines," and "rhymes" are taught, that, "when they behold that Angel's blessed look," they shall "seek her to please alone." [15] In a subsequent sonnet, she is an:

"Angel come to lead frail minds to rest In chaste desires, on heavenly beauty bound." [16]

Again, the poet denies that

"The glorious portrait of that Angel's face"

can be expressed by any art, by pen or pencil. [17]

Again, she is

"Of the brood of Angels heavenly born." [18]

And yet again, she is

"Divine and born of heavenly seed." [19]

Once more we are bid

"Go visit her in her chaste bower of rest, Accompanied with Angel-like delights." [20]

Turn we next to the "Epithalamion." And here the same cuckoo-note is repeated usque ad nauseam. We are told, that, to look upon her,

"we should ween Some Angel she had been." [21]

Even her bridesmaids (her sisters, probably) are thought to be Angels, and, addressing them, the bridegroom says,

"Sing, ye sweet Angels, Alleluya sing!" [22]

Finally, in "Colin Clout's come home again," the poet very dexterously evades the royal anger of Elizabeth, sure to be aroused by the preference of any beauty to her own. To deceive the Queen,—to whom, in gratitude for past favors, and, mayhap, with a lively appreciation of others yet to come, he is offering up homage,—he describes her Majesty by the very same imagery he had elsewhere employed to depict his lady-love; and ostensibly applies to the royal Elizabeth the amatory terms which are covertly meant for an Elizabeth of his own,—between whom and her royal type he either saw or affected to see a personal resemblance. Here we find her placed by the poet:

"Amongst the seats of Angels heavenly wrought, Much like an Angel in all form and fashion."

The metaphoric 'Angel' of enamored swains is at once so trite and obvious, that both the invention and vocabulary of the lover who abides by it so perpetually must have been poor and narrow beyond anything we can conceive of Spenser's fecundity of language and imagery, if we sit down content to imagine that no more is meant by its recurrence than meets the eye. We are satisfied that this title or simile—call it what you will—is the key-word of the mystery; and we must now look around the neighborhood of the Mulla for a family-surname out of which this "Angel" can be extracted by the "alchemy of wit."

On consulting the "Great Records of Munster," Vol. VI., we find a family residing in the neighborhood of Kilcolman Castle whose name and circumstances correspond exactly with all the requirements of our Angel-ic theory. The Nagles were a very ancient and respectable family, whose principal seats were in the northern parts of the County of Cork and the adjoining borders of the County of Waterford. There seem to have been two races of them, distinguished by the color of their hair into the Red Nagles and the Black Nagles; and of the former, the lord or chieftain of the tribe resided at Moneanymmy, an ancient preceptory of the Knights of St. John, beautifully seated on the banks of the Mulla, where it disembogues its tribute into the Blackwater, on its passage to Cappoquin and Youghal, and at a convenient distance from Spenser's Kilcolman. Elizabeth Nagle belonging to the Red branch of the family, we shall find no difficulty in accounting for her alleged resemblance to Queen Elizabeth.

The proprietor of Moneanymmy, strictly contemporaneous with Spenser, was John Nagle, whose son, David, died in the city of Dublin in 1637. It is therefore but fair to suppose that in 1593 (the year of Spenser's marriage) this David might have had a sister of marriageable age; for he himself, by his marriage with Ellen Roche of Ballyhowly, had a daughter, Ellen, who in due time was married to Sylvanus, the eldest son of Edmund Spenser. If our supposition be correct, therefore, Ellen and Sylvanus were linked by the double bond of cousinhood and matrimony.

Unfortunately for our Spenserian inquiry, however, the full and regular pedigree of these Nagles commences only with David, whose marriage and the issue thereof are recorded at large in Irish books of heraldry; whereas the preceding generations, to a remote antiquity, are merely notified by the bare names of the son and heir as they succeeded to the inheritance.

John Nagle may have had a daughter marriageable at the time of Spenser's marriage; and she may have married the poet,—and did, we are convinced,—even though her family belonged to the Romish persuasion, and the bridegroom to the Protestant Church.

To this untoward circumstance—the difference in religion—there is curious reference made in a remarkable passage of the "Amoretti," which seems not only to indicate the name of her family, but to screen the poet himself from the penalties denounced against Protestants who intermarried with Roman Catholics. In the Sixty-first Sonnet, the lady is said to be:

"divinely wrought, And of the brood of Angels heavenly born; And with the crew of blessed Saints upbrought, Each of which did her with their gifts adorn."

Here we have distinctly her birth and education, each assigned to a different source. She is of the "brood" or family of anagrammatic "Angels,"—otherwise, Nagles; but has been "upbrought," or instructed, by persons whom Spenser denominates "Saints," or Orthodox Protestants; for Spenser was by party and profession a Puritan; and the Puritans were "Saints,"—to such as chose to accept their own account of the matter.

But there may be a yet deeper meaning, an anagrammatic appropriateness, in this phrase, "crew of blessed Saints." The Nagles of Moneanymmy had intermarried frequently with the St. Legers of Doneraile; and thus such a close intimacy was established between the families as to warrant the supposition that a child of the one house might have been reared amongst the members of the other. Elizabeth Spenser (born Nagle) may not unlikely have been educated by the Puritan St. Legers. The name St. Leger, as Camden remarks, is a compound name, derived from the German Leodigar or Leger, signifying "the Gatherer of the People." Verstigan also gives it the same translation, as originating from Leod, Lud, or Luyd, which, he says, means "folk or people." [23] Therefore St. Leger seems to signify a folk, a gathering, a legion or "crew" of saints, a holy crowd or crew,—which may have been the quibble extorted by Spenser's "alchemy of wit" from the "upbringing" of Elizabeth Nagle, his wife. He calls her with marked emphasis his "sweet Saint," his "sovereign Saint"; and in the "Epithalamion" the temple-gates are called on to:

"Receive this Saint with honors due."

In praying to the gods for a large posterity, he places his request on the ground,

"That from the earth (which may they long possess With lasting happiness!) Up to your haughty palaces may mount Of blessed Saints for to increase the count."

There is yet another solution, beside the anagrammatic one, for the name of "Angel" so sedulously applied by the poet to his beloved. The Nagle family, according to heraldry, were divided into three branches, distinguished by peculiarities of surname. The Southern branch signed themselves "Nagle,"—the Meath or Midland branch, "Nangle,"—while the Connaught or Western shoot rejoiced in the more euphonious cognomen of Costello! Let the heralds account for these variations; we take them as we find them. The letter N, as we are informed, according to the genius of the Irish tongue, is nothing more than a prefix, set, euphoniae gratia, before the radical name itself, when commencing with a vowel. Thus, the N'Angles of Ireland were the Angles whose heroic deeds are duly recorded in the lists of the battle of Hastings. They went over to Ireland with Strongbow; one branch assumed (can the heralds tell us why?) the name of Costello;—another became N'Angles, and the Southern shoot dwarfed down their heavenly origin into prosaic Nagle. The well-known punning exclamation of Pope Gregory, on observing the fairness and beauty of some English children,—"Non Angli, sed Angeli forent, si essent Christiani,"—may have set the fervid brain of Spenser on fire, and suggested the divine origin of her he loved. Between Elizabeth de Angelis—the pun of Gregory—and Elizabeth de Angulo—the latter being the derivation of heralds and lawyers—what poet could hesitate a moment?

Our task is done. We think we have established our case. By anagram, Elizabeth Nagle makes a perfect Angel; by heraldry and a pontifical pun, the N'Angles of the County of Meath are Angels in indefeasible succession; Elizabeth belonged to the Red branch of her family, and therefore must have resembled the royal Elizabeth; she was brought up among the "crew of Saints" in the St. Leger family; and, finally, her place of residence corresponds with that depicted by the "passionate shepherd" as the home of his second mistress. We think we have satisfied all the requirements of reasonable conviction, and confidently await the verdict of that select few who may feel interest in this purely literary investigation.

Guided by the rules of anagram here laid down and illustrated, some future commentator, more deeply versed in the history and scandal of the Elizabethan era, may be able to identify real personages with all the fantastic characters introduced in the "Faery Queen."

[Footnote 1: See Colin Clout's come home again.] [Footnote 2: Vide Scott's Life.] [Footnote 3: Upton's Faery Queen, Vol. I. xiv.] [Footnote 4: See Wood's Athenae Oxonienses.] [Footnote 5: See Hunter's New illustrations of Shakspeare, Vol. II. p. 280.] [Footnote 6: Book II. Canto vi. etc.—See Black's Life of Tasso, Vol. II. p. 150.] [Footnote 7: Upton, Vol. I. p. 14.—Faery Queen, Book VI. Canto vi. st. 10, 17.] [Footnote 8: Vide that to Queen Anne.] [Footnote 9: Cornwallis's Essays, p. 99.] [Footnote 10: Camden's Remains, folio, 1614, p.164.] [Footnote 11: Iliad, Z. 265.] [Footnote 12: Faery Queen, Book VI. Canto x.] [Footnote 13: Sonnet lxix.] [Footnote 14: Sonnets lxxiii, lxxv, and lxxxii.] [Footnote 15: Sonnet i.] [Footnote 16: Sonnet viii.] [Footnote 17: Sonnet xvii.] [Footnote 18: Sonnet lxi.] [Footnote 19: Sonnet lxxix.] [Footnote 20: Sonnet lxxxiii.] [Footnote 21: Stanza 9.] [Footnote 22: Stanza 13.] [Footnote 23: Verstigan's Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, p. 226.]

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