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The Neo-Latin Context of Spenser’s Lyric
by Melissa J. Rack

 In 1598, Irish rebels under the forces of Hugh O’Neill drove out the English colonists from County Cork, burning and plundering their belongings. Among the structural casualties of this campaign was Edmund Spenser’s personal library at Kilcolman Castle, and its ruin is perhaps a large part of why so few of Spenser’s books survive today. Of the few volumes previously owned by Spenser that do survive, it is significant that one of them is a collection of Neo-Latin poetry. The book is Poëmata, a 1563 edition of the collected works of the German poet Georgius Sabinus (1508-1560). Spenser’s pseudonym “Immerîto” appears on the first title page, written perhaps in Spenser’s hand, but more likely added later by a subsequent owner.

While Sabinus has little renown apart from being the brother-in-law of the Lutheran reformer Philip Melancthon (1497-1560), Spenser expressed a keen interest in the text with which the Sabinus volume was initially bound. This is evident in the manuscript copy of a letter he wrote on the flyleaves which indirectly references that book – a collection of poetry by the German Neo-Latinist, Petrus Lotichius Secundus (1528-1560).[1] In 2002, Lee Piepho established that the autograph manuscript on the flyleaves was indeed written by Spenser, overturning Peter Beal’s previous assertion that the pages were inserted later when the volume was rebound.[2]

The authors of Spenser’s book participated in a continental poetics that was predominately Latinate. As a representative text, the Immerîto monograph helps us begin to locate Spenser’s lyric within a Neo-Latin context. As Piepho aptly recognized, Spenser’s work follows the strategies of genre-mixing that are evident in the eclogues of Sabinus and Lotichius. Piepho goes on to argue these two texts influenced Spenser’s unique rendering of pastoral’s epithalamic potential in ‘Aprill’ of the Shepheardes Calender (1579), and he notes that the distinctiveness of Spenser’s ecclesiastical satire in ‘Maye’, ‘Julye’, and ‘September’ is similarly reinforced by the strategies of these two poets.[3] 

While the Immerîto monograph provides historical evidence of Spenser’s engagement with the Latin verse of his international contemporaries, it also indicates a familiarity with the poetic tenets that characterized such work. This is revealed by a quotation within the letter that Spenser transcribed. The letter was written by Erhard Stibar (1552-1559) a pupil of Lotichius. In it, Stibar quotes two lines from Catullus 50, describing a poetry-writing game between friends. The lines read “scribens versiculos uterque nostrum / ludebat numero modo hoc modo illoc” [each alternately scribbling little squiblets / playing around with every kind of meter.] (7-8).[4] These two lines, appearing as they do in a Neo-Latin context, underscore the centrality of Catullan imitation in sixteenth-century continental verse, but what I want to suggest is that they also tell us a great deal about Spenser’s own habits of reading.

Recent work by Alex Wong and Julia Haig Gaisser have illustrated that Neo-Catullan poetry, or sixteenth-century Latin poetry informed by a Catullan aesthetic, was a distinct and recognizable genre in the Renaissance.[5] Latin was the transnational language of Europe, and Latin poetry facilitated international diplomacy, intellectual collaboration, and literary discourse. The revival of Catullan motifs was an early sixteenth-century fashion on the continent, particularly in France. While Catullus wrote several formally-intricate longer poems (including the epithalamia 61 and 62, and the epyllion 64), the most conventional styles of Catullan imitation more closely followed his shorter polymetrics. A prominent neoteric attribute was the hendecasyllable, a metre strongly associated with Catullus. This metre was common in Neo-Latin poetry following the three Catullan collections of Giovanni Pontano (1429–1503) in the mid-fifteenth century, and the Basia (Kisses, 1541) of Johannes Secundus (1511-1536) years later.[6]

Sixteenth-century poets revised and reconfigured the self-consciousness of Catullus’s programmatic tropes in both Latin and the vernacular. Typical Catullan aspects include the avowed insignificance of his small-scale genre, described in C.1.4 as nugae [trifles, frivolities], as well as the theme of the Lex Catulliana [Catullan Law] from C.16, which declares that a poet may remain chaste, even when his poems are not. The counted kisses of C.5 and C.7, and the enigmatic pet sparrow of his mistress Lesbia from C.2 and C.3, make numerous appearances as well.[7] Catullan poetry celebrated lyric brevity in a self-reflexive manner, and as such it ignited a sixteenth-century vogue for shorter lyric forms, particularly the anacreontics, which closely followed Henri Estienne’s (1528-1598) Carmina Anacreontica (1554), a collection of 50 poems by ancient authors written in the voice of the archaic Greek poet Anacreon.[8]

Apart from critical acknowledgement that Catullus provided a model for Spenser’s epithalamium, his influence on Spenser’s poetry has long been understood as minimal; yet, Catullan imitation was the in fact the originary aesthetic of what was known as the continental “new poetry”. In Spenser studies, the term “new poetry” is primarily associated with The Shepheardes Calender  (1579), but a number of critics, including Piepho, Roland Greene, and Jacob Blevins, have rightly acknowledged the relevance of Neo-Latin continental verse to the work of a writer who declares himself the “new Poete” at the outset of his literary career.[9] This poetic newness is suggestive of one of several Catullan buzzwords - novus [new] was a common neoteric marker, alongside lepidus [witty, charming], nugae [trifles or frivolities], and expolitum [polish]. The Catullan programme is encapsulated in the first lines of C.1: ‘Cui dono lepidum novum libellum / arida modo pumice expolitum? [Who’s the dedicatee of my new witty booklet, / all fresh-polished with abrasive?]’ (1-2). Expolitum refers to intricate metrical artistry, and the dimunitive libellus [little book] declares the poet’s intention to write small (Alexandrian) verse. 

This fondness for diminutives is a Catullan convention that gestures to the smallness of lyric set in contrast to the vastness of epic. This celebration of lyric smallness is one that Spenser interestingly transposes into English (a language with very few diminutives) via tiny creatures, which functionally serve as the metaphoric subject or object of some act of artistic creation.[10] Certainly, bees and butterflies are abundant in Spenser’s lyric. The tiny butterfly of Muiopotmos (1590) is a proper exemplar, rendered as a small-scale Achilles elaborately armed for battle in a mini-ekphrasis that mocks epic convention. In the same vein, the series of small verses known as the ‘Anacreontics’, which mark the transition from the Amoretti to the Epithalamion (1595), portray a ‘gentle Bee with his loud trumpet murm’ring’ (poem 4, line 3). This ‘beast so small’ with ‘so great a voyce, / that wakens men withal’ and ‘threatens all with corage stout’ mischievously pesters and inevitably stings baby Cupid (poem 4, lines 6, 7-8, 10). In turn, Cupid’s own smallness is accentuated and further infantilized when the poet names him, at the very outset of the sequence, ‘Venus baby’ (poem 1, line 2).[11]

Spenser also consistently frames his poems as ‘smale’ by means of the paratext. In the opening proem to the Shepheardes Calender, ‘To his Booke’, he writes, ‘Goe little booke: thy selfe present, / As a child whose parent is vnkent’ (lines 1-2). When the Complaints volume was printed in 1591, William Ponsonbie’s preface, ‘The Printer to the Gentle Reader’, announces the poems within it are both ‘new’ and ‘smale’:

Since my late setting foorth of the Faerie Queene … I have sithence endevoured…to get into my hands such smale Poemes of the same Authors; … I have by good meanes gathered together these few parcels present … praying you… graciouslie to entertaine the new Poet.[12]

Although Ponsonbie alleges to have mastery over the volume’s compilation, his preface interestingly ventriloquizes uniquely Spenserian concerns.

The work of Anne Lake Prescott has established that the group of French poets known as La Pléiade had a significant influence on Spenser’s lyric. At the same time, this faction played a key role in the proliferation of what was known as the “new poetry”.[13] The core members were Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), Clement Marot (1496-1544), Joaquin du Bellay (1522-1560), Jean Dorat (1508-1588), and Jean-Antoine de Baïf (1532-1589) and among their international affiliates are a number of renowned poet-scholars, including the Dutch poet Janus Dousa (1546-1604), who would become the first librarian of Leiden University, and the German laureate Paulus Melissus Schede (1539-1602), who served as director of Heidelberg’s renowned Bibliotheca Palatina during the latter half of the sixteenth-century.[14] A number of Englishman writing in Latin were associated with this circle as well, notably the Scottish poet George Buchanan (1506-1582) and Philip Sidney’s friend Daniel Rogers (1538-1591).

A wide array of English, Scottish, German, and Dutch scholars visited Paris during the 1560s and were also personally acquainted with core members of La Pléiade. Many of these visitors were poets as well, and their imitative experiments tell us much about the way English poets first encountered French and continental Neo-Latin style and verse forms. La Pléiade indeed fostered a school of sorts, its pupils eager to master this fashionable, avant-garde style of poetry. Given his familiarity with the work of Ronsard and Du Bellay, the French fondness for Catullus certainly would not have escaped Spenser’s notice. Ronsard’s Livret de folastries (1553) bears a dedication to ‘A Janot Parisien’ (i.e. Jean-Antoine de Baïf) which overtly mimics Catullus 1:

            A qui donnai-je ces sornettes,

            Et ces mignardes chansonnettes?

            A toy mon Janot …

Pren le donc, Janot, tel qu’il est, …

Afin que toy, moy, & mon livre,

Plus d’un siècle puissions revivre.


[To whom do I give these trifles

and these dainty little verses?

To you, my friend Janot …

Take it then, Janot, such as it is …

so that you and I and my book

may live more than a single age.] (lines 1-3, 23, 29-30)

Just a few years prior, Du Bellay had endorsed the use of the Catullan hendecasyllable in French poetry; but, as Gaisser notes, the Paris lectures on Catullus by the humanist scholar Marc-Antoine Muret were key to popularizing Catullan imitation in France.[15]

Sidney was personally acquainted with close associates of La Pléiade, particularly Dousa, Melissus, Rogers and Estienne.  Dousa was a pupil of Dorat, Melissus wrote a number of poems to Sidney and other members of the English court, and Sidney’s friend Rogers knew Spenser as well as Gabriel Harvey. An elegy by Rogers written in 1579 indicates a close friendship with Sidney, as well as with the English poet-scholars Fulke Greville and Edward Dyer. Jan Van Dorsten’s fine study of the poetry and correspondence of the founders of Leiden university follows Rogers throughout his literary and diplomatic career, and notes a unique camaraderie between Rogers, Sidney, Greville, and Dyer, as indicated within one of Harvey’s Familiar Letters:

You [i.e. Spenser] may communicate as much, or as little, as you list, of these Patcheries, and fragments, with the two Gentlemen [Sidney and Dyer]: but … not with any else, friend or foe, one, or other: unlesse haply you have a special desire to imparte some parte hereof, to my good friend M. Daniel Rogers: whose curtesies are also registred in my Marble booke. You know my meaning.

Nosti manum et stylum. G.[16]

In Van Dorsten’s reading of Harvey’s letter, Rogers appears as a character in the ‘Immerîto’ correspondence, as well as a confidante of Sidney and Dyer, and one engaged with the Anglo-Latin poetic experiments of Harvey and Spenser.[17]

Whereas Spenser’s Neo-Latin contemporaries rendered a plethora of kisses and sparrows in a myriad of classical forms, Spenser seemingly eschewed the more conventional Catullan motifs and looked instead to Catullus as a model for generic hybridity. This aligns with Piepho’s assertion that Spenser derives from Neo-Latin poetry an expansion of the epithalamic potential of pastoral. Consider C.64 as an example of traditional Neo-Alexandrian genre-mixing. The poem is often upheld as the formal exemplar of the classical epyllion. While epyllion is a relatively modern term, it usefully distinguishes a small-scale poem that miniaturizes epic narrative within a conspicuously lyric form, reframing selections from Homeric myth, preserving epic language and convention, and focusing on episodes that allow for the amplification of character.[18]

The subject of C.64 is the wedding of Peleus and Thetis; but the poem’s most prominent display of formal elegance is manifest in Catullus’s plaintive inset narrative – an ekphrastic rendering of Ariadne’s seaside lament for her departed lover Theseus. Ariadne’s lament is the often unrecognized source of Virgil’s Dido, and her portrait is woven into a poem that is at once an epithalamium, an epyllion and a complaint. In Neo-Alexandrian verse, inset plaints are often elaborately developed via ekphrastic digression or character development. The figure of Ariadne is a portrait of longing, an icon of love-lament; her character is a crafted art-object – a mere image, yet part of the elaborate adornment of a wedding coverlet which ‘heroum mira uirtutes indicat arte [portrays in marvelous art the brave deeds of heroes]’ (50-51). In this way, the artistry of Ariadne’s portrait participates in the poem’s formal intricacy, reflecting in turn the narrative’s concern with poetic artistry.

Spenser’s inset narratives are similarly figured as portraits of wailing women. The Ruines of Time (1591) opens thus: ‘I did behold / A Woman sitting sorrowfullie wailing, / Rending her yeolow locks’ (8-9). The primary narrative itself is structured as a procession of plaintive portraits in Tears of the Muses (1591), linked by visual and auditory descriptions of each individual Muse-figure. The inset narratives within Astrophel (1595) mirror this interlocking structure, and the ‘Doleful Lay of Clorinda’ effectively operates as an inset narrative in the context of the series of elegies which follow. While the latter featured diverse authorial voices, the transition the turn from the voice of Spenser’s poem is mediated by the ambiguity of the Lay’s authorship.

In Daphnaïda (1592) Spenser similarly follows this Neo-Alexandrian practice of framing. The poem’s sympathetic narrator is unnamed, and plays only a minor role in the poem, introducing the poem’s subject by reflexively mirroring the primary narrative in his own contemplation of ‘this worlds vainnesse and lifes wretchednesse’ (lines 34). The narrator’s psychological state is subsequently echoed and enhanced by Alcyon, who is feminized in his intemperate grief.  Framed by the narrator’s plaint, Alcyon’s plaint (71-539) arguably functions as both primary narrative and inset narrative. In turn, his lament frames a third plaint via an additional refractory tale (263-292): an anti-lament through which Daphne’s ghost intimates the possibility of consolation. Unfortunately, she does so rather unconvincingly, and departs with words that merely affirm Alcyon’s despair:

            Our daies are full of dolor and disease,

            Our life afflicted with incessant paine,

            That nought on earth may lessen or appease

            Why then should I desire here to remaine? (274-277)

Daphne’s character is not only the voice which allows the framing of a third plaint, her affirmation also enables further genre-revision as it sustains the poet’s deviation from formal elegy as anti-elegy.[19]

The lineage of Neo-Catullan inset narratives traditionally follow C.64, and Catullan influence is similarly evident in the structure of Ovid’s Metamorphosis, in which inset narratives are framed and reframed in this way, like a series of Chinese boxes.[20] Generic mixing via the inset lament is a common lyric strategy in Spenser’s late pastorals, but whereas in C.64, Ariadne’s plaint is light and airy, her voice carried on the wind over the sea, the language of Spenser’s plaintive is much more violent, functioning as a disruptive rather than a creative force. For Spenser, this making of tiny epics so to speak, requires the deterioration, fragmentation, even the failure of epic, as if the poet mourns its loss, and perhaps even, given the circumstances in which Spenser left Ireland, the loss of its landscape as well.

This tension and contrast between epic and lyric composition is at the very heart of Catullan poetics. Catullus looked to the Greek Alexandrian scholar-poet Callimachus (310/305–240 BCE), for inspiration, much as Renaissance poets looked to Catullus. As such, Catullan Neo-Alexandrianism admonished the narrative sprawl of epic and forwarded a revisionary and distinctly lyric poetic. In the programmatic foray to his epyllion Aetia, Callimachus sketches the evaluative attributes which distinguish good poetry from bad, the music of men from the rasping of mules. He writes,

ἐνὶ τοῖς γὰρ ἀείδομεν οἳ λιγὺν ἦχον

τέττιγος, θ]όρυβον δ’ οὐκ ἐφίλησαν ὄνων.

θηρὶ μὲν οὐατόεντι πανείκελον ὀγκήσαιτο

ἄλλος ἐγ]ὼ δ’ εἴην οὑλ[α]χύς, ὁ πτερόεις,

ἆ πάντως, ἵνα γῆρας ἵνα δρόσον ἣν μὲν ἀείδω

προίκιον ἐκ δίης ἠέρος εἶδαρ ἔδων,

αὖθι τὸ δ’ ἐκδύοιμι, τό μοι βάρος ὅσσον ἔπεστι 


[… for we sing among those who love the clear sound

of the cicada, and not the din of asses.

Let another bray just like the long-eared beast,

but let me be the little one, the winged one.

Oh, yes indeed! that I may sing living on dewdrops,

free sustenance from the divine air;

that I may shed old age, which weighs on me] (29-35)[21]

Here, inspired poetry is a small, winged creature nourished by lightness. At the same time, the aural strength of the cicada’s song (such insects are surprisingly loud for their size) lends Callimachus’s small lyric a bit of tonal gravitas without the weight of a sprawling narrative. Poetry marked by precise crafting and sharp intellectual acumen, Callimachus argues here, is akin to a transcendence that alleviates the heaviness of the body’s physicality. Given the Aetia is an epyllion, it similarly underscores the fragmentation of epic narrative that is necessary for such composition.

Much ink has been spent on the ‘incompleteness’ of the Faerie Queene and the puzzle of Spenser’s late-career return to lyric composition.[22] Yet if we consider his lyric poetics in an international context, in light of his engagement with the “new poetry”, we can see that in the 1590s, Spenser is still writing epic – just epic reimagined as lyric. Muiopotmos, for example, is widely considered an epyllion in critical discussions of the genre. Patrick Cheney has argued that we should read Colin Clout (1595) as an epyllion, and both Andrew Zurcher and Humphrey Tonkin have proposed that The Mutabilitie Cantos (1609) might be read as a freestanding epyllion.[23] Spenser’s placement of the anacreontics immediately before the overtly Catullan Epithalamion (1595) suggests that these verses might be formally classified in a similar manner. If the two texts are grouped as a continuous narrative (with the anacreontics as a transition), and considered as a sequential whole that is self-consciously fragmented (made sequential by the paratext), the anacreontics might be better understood as a micro-epyllion, an epyllion of which smallness is its narrative subject, or as a series of micro-epyllia, in which form reflects content.

Returning again to the two lines of Catullus on the flyleaves of Spenser’s book and recalling this neoteric impulse to miniaturize, it becomes evident that this word versiculos is particularly significant. It is the accusative plural of versiculus [a small verse, or versicle] and a diminutive form, (in keeping, of course, with the Alexandrian commitment to smallness). At the same time, a versiculus is smaller than a versus [a line of verse]. The word is the same as the one Catullus uses in C.16, in which her threatens to bugger Aurelius and Furius in defence of their charge that his versiculis are unmanly.[24]

As C.16 also refers to the ‘milia multa basiorum [countless, thousand kisses]’ of C.5, this suggests that C.5 is also a versiculus. In this light, a versiculus is both a lyric poem about love, and something small. Catullus is likely referring to the shorter poems in his libellus – the polymetrics – the ‘numero modo hoc modo illoc [poems in every kind of meter]’. At the same time, as an über-diminutive, a versiculus, which Peter Green endearingly translates as ‘squiblet’, is a building block of poetry – a fragment that self-reflexively points up its own smallness. In effect, it is the linguistic equivalent of Spenser’s ‘tiny things’.

Recent criticism has laid the foundation for reconstructing a continental literary context for English writers in the Renaissance, yet there remains a sparsity of philological considerations of that influence. My intention here is to present to you a transhistorical reflection on how Renaissance continental poets appropriated the tenets of Neo-Alexandrian poetics and how such poetry served as an intercessory for Spenser’s reception and implementation of Catullan strategies. While my precise methodology plots the influence of Catullus on Spenser’s lyric, this is complicated by the fact that the classical intertextuality of his lyric is mediated by its contemporary intertextuality.

Broad strokes are necessary here, but I hope to point up the potential for further study and offer new insight into the context of the continental new poetry, which I believe is key to understanding Spenser’s lyric poetics, and particular his return to lyric composition in the 1590s. Neo-Catullan or sixteenth-century neoteric poetry, with its wide readership and Catullan borrowings, reimagined classical form as a medium for the avant-garde. As such, it offered Spenser a myriad of possibilities for lyric experimentation. Mapping the Neo-Latin context for Spenser’s lyric benefits not only Spenserians, but also scholars seeking to understand the larger arc of sixteenth and early seventeenth-century English poetics, for as the continental “new poetry” shifts from Latin into the vernacular, it would play a vital role in the English transmutation of classical verse forms in the Renaissance, and as such, in shaping the trajectory of English lyric.


Melissa J. Rack

University of South Carolina, Salkehatchie



[1] For text images see “Annotations in the Poëmata of Georgius Sabinus (1563), possibly entered ca. 1579.” Luna Digital Images, The Folger Shakespeare Library, digital image 62675, source call number V.a.341.

[2] Lee Piepho, “The Shepheardes Calender and Neo-Latin Pastoral: A Book Newly Discovered to Have Been Owned by Spenser.” Spenser Studies 16 (2002): 77-103; For Beal’s assessment, see the Index of English Literary Manuscripts: Volume I 1450-1625, comp. Peter Beal (London: Mansell, 1980), part 2, 523.


[4] Peter Green, trans. The Poems of Catullus (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 2001). All quotations from Catullus in this essay are from Green’s edition. All parenthetical citations refer to line numbers.

[5] Julia Haig Gaisser, Catullus and His Renaissance Readers (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); and Alex Wong, The Poetry of Kissing in Early Modern Europe from the Catullan Revival to Secundus, Shakespeare and the English Cavaliers (Woodbridge: D. S. Brewer, 2017).

[6] Pontano’s three Catullan collections were Pruritus ([Erotic]Itch, 1449), Parthenopeus sive Amores (The Neapolitan, or Loves, 1457), and Hendecasyllabi sive Baiae (Hendecasyllables, or Baiae, ca. 1500).

[7] Victoria Moul, ‘Chapter 3: Lyric Poetry’, in The Oxford Handbook of Neo-Latin (Oxford University Press, 2015), 48.

[8] Stefan Tilg, ‘Neo-Latin Anacreontic Poetry: Its Shape(s) and Its Significance’, in Imitate Anacreon! Mimesis, Poiesis and the Poetic Inspiration in the Carmina Anacreontea, edited by Manuel Baumbach and Nicola Dümmler (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 163-197.

[9] Roland Greene, ‘Spenser and Contemporary Vernacular Poetry’, in The Cambridge Companion to Spenser, edited by Andrew Hadfield (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006); Jacob Blevins, Catullan Consciousness and Early Modern Lyric in England: From Wyatt to Donne (Burlington: Ashgate, 2004). For the ‘new Poete’, see E.K., ‘Epistle’ to The Shepheardes Calender (1579), in The Yale Edition of the Shorter Poems of Edmund Spenser, edited by William A. Oram (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989), 13.

[10] Melissa J. Rack, ‘”Thou thyself likewise art lyttle made”: Spenser, Catullus, and the Aesthetics of “smale poemes”’, Renaissance Papers (2018): 105-120.

[11] Edmund Spenser, ‘[Anacreontics]’, in The Yale Edition of the Shorter Poems of Edmund Spenser, edited by William A. Oram (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989).

[12] Edmund Spenser, ‘The Printer to the Gentle Reader’, in Complaints; edited by Risa S. Bear (The University of Oregon, 1996). This html etext of the Complaints was prepared from Alexander B. Grosart’s The Complete Works in Verse and Prose of Edmund Spenser [1882] and from Ernest de Sélincourt’s Spenser’s Minor Poems [Oxford, 1910].

[13] Anne Lake Prescott, French Poets and the English Renaissance (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1978).

[14] The Palatinate library was the repository of some 5000 printed books and roughly 3500 manuscripts, including a diverse array of theological (chiefly Protestant) literature. See Karin Zimmermann and Maria Effinger, ‘The Story of a World-Famous Library’, translated by David Ennever, Bibliotheca Palatina digital, 2012.


[15] Gaisser, 150.

[16] Three proper and wittie familiar letters lately passed betwene two Universitie men (London: Henry Bynneman, 1580). The works of Gabriel Harvey, ed. A.B. Grosart, London, 1884, I, p. 159.

[17] J.A. van Dorsten, Poets, Patrons, Professors: Sir Philip Sidney, Daniel Rogers, and the Leiden Humanists (London & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), 40.

[18] For an excellent discussion of the genre, Marco Fantuzzi and Richard Hunter, Chapter 5: ‘Epic in a Minor Key’, in Tradition and Innovation in Hellenistic Poetry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 191-245.

[19] For a discussion of the poem as anti-elegy, see R. Clifton Spargo, The Ethics of Mourning: Grief and Responsibility in Elegiac Literature (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

[20] Joseph B. Solodow, The World of Ovid’s Metomorphoses (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), 40.

[21]Callimachus: Aetia, translated by Susan Stephens (Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2015).

[22] See Patrick Cheney, Spenser’s Famous Flight: A Renaissance Idea of a Literary Career (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993); Richard Helgerson, Self-Crowned Laureates: Spenser, Jonson, Milton and the Literary System (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1983); and David Scott Wilson-Okamura, ‘Problems in the Virgilian Career’ Spenser Studies 26 (2011).

[23] See Patrick Cheney, ‘Colin Clouts Come Home Againe, ‘Astrophel’, and the ‘Doleful Lay of Clorinda’ (1595),’ in The Oxford Handbook of Edmund Spenser, edited by Richard A. MacCabe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 241; Humphrey Tonkin, The Faerie Queene (New York: Routledge, 1989), 43-44; Andrew Zurcher, ‘The printing of the Cantos of Mutabilitie in 1609’, in Celebrating Mutabilitie: Essays on Edmund Spenser’s Mutabilitie Cantos, edited by Jane Grogan (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2010).

[24] Lines 12-13 read ‘vos, quod milia multa basiorum / legistis, male me marem putatis? or Just because you’ve read about my countless thousand kisses, you think I’m less than virile?’


  • فروشگاه آرانو 1 year, 7 months ago

    great research!

    Link / Reply
  • residential landscaping 10 months ago

    Through the use of the paratext, Spenser also consistently presents his poems as "smale."

    Link / Reply

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Cite as:

Melissa J. Rack, "The Neo-Latin Context of Spenser’s Lyric," Spenser Review 52.2.3 (Spring-Summer 2022). Accessed April 14th, 2024.
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