Tradition and convention: A study of periphrasis in English pastoral poetry from 1557–1715 9783111632445, 9783111252278

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Table of contents :
I. The Style, the Mode, and their Relationships
A. What Periphrase Meant
B. What Decorum Meant
C. What Pastoral Meant
II. Periphrasis with a Purpose
A. Periphrase in Practice
1. Sir Philip Sidney: Periphrase in Arcadia
2. Edmund Spenser: Periphrase at the Service of Decorum in the Eclogues
3. Pastoral Language in Spenser’s Imitators
B. The Mechanics of Periphrase
1. Introductory and Transitional Periphrase
2. The Meaningful Use of Incidental Periphrase
3. Periphrases less Directly Connected with the Pastoral Mode
C. Creation of the Artificial Scene through Conventions of Allegory and Periphrase
D. The Relation of Periphrase to Pastoral Realism
1. The Relation of Periphrase and Pastoral Realism to Mixed Allegory
2. Sheep, and the Changing Effects of Conventional Allusion
E. The Power of the Tradition and its Relation to Periphrase
III. Periphrase without Purpose
A. Pastoral Reality in a Metaphorical Field
B. The Golden Pastoral
C. Periphrastic Expression of Natural Sympathy
D. Nymphs and Shepherds
IV. Conclusion
A. The Tradition
B. Natural Sympathy, Divorced from Observation of Nature
C. Realism through Comic Particularity
D. Periphrase without System
E. Convention
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DOROTHY SCHUCHMAN McCOY University of Pittsburgh




© Copyright 1965 by Mouton & Co., Publishers, The Hague, The Netherlands. No part of this book may be translated or reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publishers.

Printed in The Netherlands


I wish to express gratitude to all members of the University of Pittsburgh library staff who have generously assisted with the tedious and necessary details of this dissertation, and who have borne with its disturbing presence during many terms. Special thanks are due for the careful work of my friend and proofreader, Mrs. Robert Winter; and for the practical assistance and interest of my family, and Mrs. Sara Mitchell. For the many kinds of assistance given by the English Department, I am very grateful; particularly, for the stimulus to study provided by Professor Frederick Mayer, in whose eighteenth century seminar my topic began to take shape, and for the encouragement and tactful correction of Dr. Charles Crow, the director of the study.


Acknowledgements Introduction I. The Style, the Mode, and their Relationships A. What Periphrase Meant B. What Decorum Meant C. What Pastoral Meant II. Periphrasis with a Purpose A. Periphrase in Practice 1. Sir Philip Sidney : Periphrase in Arcadia 2. Edmund Spenser: Periphrase at the Service of Decorum in the Eclogues 3. Pastoral Language in Spenser's Imitators . B. The Mechanics of Periphrase 1. Introductory and Transitional Periphrase . 2. The Meaningful Use of Incidental Periphrase . 3. Periphrases less Directly Connected with the Pastoral Mode C. Creation of the Artificial Scene through Conventions of Allegory and Periphrase . . D. The Relation of Periphrase to Pastoral Realism 1. The Relation of Periphrase and Pastoral Realism to Mixed Allegory 2. Sheep, and the Changing Effects of Conventional Allusion E. The Power of the Tradition and its Relation to Periphrase

5 9 17 20 33 43 51 54 54 61 84 87 87 96 109 115 123 126 138 151



III. Periphrase without Purpose A. B. C. D.

Pastoral Reality in a Metaphorical Field . The Golden Pastoral Periphrastic Expression of Natural Sympathy. Nymphs and Shepherds

161 . .

161 175 200 218

IV. Conclusion A. The Tradition B. Natural Sympathy, Divorced from Observation of Nature C. Realism through Comic Particularity . . . D. Periphrase without System E. Convention

249 249 259 267 273 278




As everyone knows, the question of what kind of poetry the poet is writing is not irrelevant to a discussion of whether the poetry is good. Pastoral poetry may be poetry made more interesting by the characteristics of the mode, or it may be worse poetry for being pastoral. The relationship exists, for better or for worse. And it exists in varying degrees in every poem. All poems, whether more or less self-consciously, do have preconceived legs to stand on. "Kind" or "mode" is always there, as Northrup Frye reminds us, no matter what lengths we go to avoid it. Attempts to make the writing correspond to a kind are expressions of the poet's aim toward an established literary valuation. When we are tired of conventionality we like to pretend independence. Certainly the relationship of poetic goodness to patterns of mode or of diction is not a fixed one; and the relationship of poetic goodness to poetic intention depends upon the value of the intention. To pattern a poem upon a preconceived form is not valuable in itself, although advantages to the poet's pocketbook often come of it. But if, in a sense, all poems relate to preconceived forms, there must be some means of naming ways in which they relate, in order to express our notions of their more or less value. To fill this need I propose to use the terms "tradition" and "convention" - the first to suggest the relationship of the poet to forms which he tries to recreate in an individual or contemporary spirit, and the second to suggest the relationship to forms which passes, not through the medium of the poet's individuality, but only through his habits of language. "Traditional", in other words, will refer to poetry that appears to be a growth rooted in the understanding



and in the authority of feeling as well as of form; whereas "conventional" will refer to poetry which takes its forms at face value. These terms have a particular interest when they are applied to pastoral poetry, since here more frequently than elsewhere, they are used interchangeably. Their interchangeable use is easy to understand, for although their distinction maintains itself in common speech, it cannot do so in an area of poetry where popularity many times has quickly made commonplace associations out of fundamental ones. Thus the phrase "pastoral convention" may refer to precisely the same element of pastoral poetry as the phrase "pastoral tradition". In my discussions of pastoral theory that lie ahead I shall attempt to maintain the distinction between them by referring to all the separable elements which characterize and determine the surface pastorality of the poetry as "conventions". The word "tradition" I shall use only in the singular, so that it may be considered to refer to the whole body of the conventions as they are related to the theme and the diction of particular poems. As adjectives, the "conventional" use of materials will refer to the less thoughtful acceptance of popular patterns; "traditional" will refer to a use based upon the better grasp of what has gone before. To make all-pervasive distinctions by means of these terms is of course next to an impossibility. But in narrow areas, dealing with a few poems, one may isolate enough of the elements of mode and diction that some differences may be seen. For judgment, one must attempt to understand the expression of thought and feeling in its contemporary patterns. Still, the truth of such judgment depends in part quite legitimately upon a semi-informed and spontaneous reaction of modern readers. The more conventional the poem in its own day, the more difficulty it offers to modern readers who accept their own surroundings without much question. If such readers happen not to enjoy the music and pathos of Breton's "Good Muse rock me asleep", and happen to enjoy instead one of Bartholomew Yong's wooden translations of a Montemayor lyric, or to enjoy no pastoral poetry at all, their responses are of course legitimate within their own experience. The cheering likelihood is, however, that it will be the other way around. This



kind of response may be an evidence that the tradition maintains itself when purged of the conventional. If so it is a step toward the establishment of valid principles on which to base studies like this one. Spontaneous reaction should and often does lead toward rational and communicable validity. Both the understanding and the valuation depend upon careful and particular investigation of the intentions of the poet as they are controlled by his surroundings - and centrally as they are controlled by his literary surroundings. His responses may be profound or superficial or somewhere in between. And although we may, for little apparent reason, enjoy the superficial more than the profound, our communicable evaluations depend upon our being able to do some reasoning about the enjoyment. We need to see what the poet as a perceptive being has contributed to his surroundings. Long-standing tradition and native associations form him, and current conventions sway him. Traditional association of pastoral settings with the "exaltation of content", love, and love of natural beauty, themes which, as Ε. K. Chambers tells us, "rest upon broad permanent tendencies of human nature", 1 may be expressed in a variety of popular veins - the Spenserian, the courtly or the Italianate pastoral, bumpkin's pastoral; they may be mixed with nymphs, magic, and pilgrims, or they may be abandoned altogether in favor of the more decorative aspects of this kind of poetry. Similarly, in the use of language as well as of thematic conventions, the poet's intention as to the kind of poetry he is writing depends upon what he knows or does not know of the preceding associations of his material. We need to be interested in what he knows or does not know of the study of rhetoric in his own period, and in his reaction to current habits such as the excessive use of figurative language in the Euphuistic style. One can evaluate the poet's response to these formative agencies only by attempting to know them and to know the poet's intention through them. In order to limit this kind of study enough to gain some precise knowledge about these agencies, I shall discuss them in relation to a 1

Edmund K. Chambers, English Pastorals (London, 1895), p. xxxviiff.



single figure of speech - one prominent in Renaissance rhetoric books, prescribed in these books for the gaining of certain effects of diction, maligned by Nashe and Pope for attempting these effects, closely related to the use and misuse of pastoral machinery, much abused in practice through all periods of literary history, and much abused in the criticism of our own period, especially before attention was given to problems of early rhetoric by such investigators as Rosemond Tuve and Sister Miriam Joseph - the figure of periphrasis. The study of periphrasis, or of phrase substitutions for single words (chiefly nouns), reveals a great deal about poetic purposes in the individual. Any deviation from simple and direct expression arouses a "why" in the mind of an unindoctrinated reader. Periphrastic treatment of a word or an idea is often unwieldy. Its failure is likely to be more evident and its triteness more annoying than that of other figures. Why, then, should any poet tempt his literary fate by using roundabout language in a kind of poetry associated, according to the critical consensus of the Renaissance, with simplicity, innocence, freedom, the humble occupation and the resigned disposition? His intention may be simply to do what is momentarily popular. From the mid-sixteenth century into the eighteenth, the pastoral mode is accepted with many ups and downs of seriousness. Sometimes the distaste of the modern reader for the pastoral is entirely justified by this looseness of intention, sometimes not. In any event, it is not my aim to fix for all time the understanding of a poet's intention, something which can never be finally determined, but to show how clues to the depth of a poet's pastoral indoctrination may be detected in his use of language. To see whether the intention goes beyond pursuit of momentary popularity the critic must penetrate not the poetic hedge of Sidney's day at the spot so easy to leap over, but a critical thicket of several hundred years' growth. When one thinks of the themes of pastoral poetry it is most often the pastoral love poetry which presents its machinery and its personages to the imagination. And of the personages, it is more often an almost-Petrarchan lover who appears, or a court wit, than a homespun shepherd or an honest



countryman, and more often a silken shepherdess or unemployed nymph than kind Amaryllis, the wanton country maid. C. S. Baldwin even asserts that these conventional personalities are the central figures of pastoral, and that attempts toward greater seriousness and verisimilitude such as the Shepherds Calendar are anomalies.2 If frequency of appearance justifies them, he is right, for these figures continually present themselves as the vehicles of expression for a pastoral existence. It is the immediate response of many readers, who naturally distinguish one mode or style of poetry from another by taking account of its most frequent and conventional characteristics, to accept these characteristics as part of a made-up world which only magic will permit them to enter and which consequently has little relevance to their own affairs. The Muses' Elysium is one of these magical conglomerates. Drayton, however, presents it with the warning that it is "bold upon a new strain". What was new? It is difficult to decide. Drayton's nymphs are more voluble than other nymphs and there is perhaps a more dramatic interplay of songs and speeches than in other eclogues. There is a relative absence of the movements of a nature controlled by classic mythology, but beyond this, little seems new in the use of pastoral properties or figurative language. One meets here, as elsewhere, crystal fountains or floods, tuneful lays and mournful ditties, flocks and oaten reeds, more frequently than grass-blades; and Phoebus, Cynthia, Philomela, heavenly lamps (eyes or stars), and other objects under alias almost as frequently. It seems unlikely that a mode of poetry impoverished through the possession of the retired currency of the ages could express a thought, much less a significant thought. The central problem of this investigation will be to find where, within the pastoral mode, meaning or significance is conveyed, and under what conditions both mode and words remain meaningful. This problem is closely involved with studies of the individual uses of a common diction, such studies as those produced by * Renaissance Literary Theory and Practice (New York - London, 1939), p. 84.



Donald Davie, John Arthos, Josephine Miles, and many other critics who deal with the diction less directly. To understand what is meant by a "common diction", it is necessary to understand not only what part of the word choice is imposed by the pastoral mode, but also what part may be imposed by a rhetorical tradition distinct from the tradition of the pastoral and its language. A consciousness of the "three styles" of diction has done much, as a part of the rhetorical tradition, to control the quality of pastoral poetry. Disregard or ignorance of rhetorical controls seems even to have done much toward forcing redefinition of poetic modes. Periphrase, a figure which usually is considered to elaborate, elevate, or decorate, serves almost as a barometer to measure the poetic pressures at work to make the pastoral exceed its critical outlines. A study of this sort must proceed by using examples of the periphrase to represent the varieties of use possible and the amount of meaning they convey within their setting of verse and poem. The method of study is a very old one, much older than Puttenham, who has analyzed words and phrases with regard to classic prescriptions of particular kinds of words for particular kinds of context. It is used by Mr. Davie in his study Purity of Diction in English Verse,3 and it is rooted, for moderns, in I. A. Richards' principle4 that a part of the meaning of a word is derived from its verbal surroundings. The meaning of a periphrase may, as much as that of a single word, increase or decrease according to the appropriateness of its surroundings; and the amount of meaning which a periphrase succeeds in conveying usually determines a degree of goodness or badness in the verses which contain it. It has been my assumption, one which I hope thoroughly to support, that periphrase written in the consciousness of the traditional rhetoric is more likely to have meaning than periphrase adopted as a part of patterns established by poetic idols such as Spenser or Milton, or worse, by such colorful personages as Greene, Browne, Gray, or Thomson. If this association seems only to establish a truism, it should be remembered that during the period of rebellion against mythological periphrasis writers like Thomson 3 4

Donald Davie, Purity of Diction in English Verse (London, 1952). The Philosophy of English Rhetoric (New York - London, 1936), pp. 37-39.



and Armstrong abandoned the mythological for scientific or simply pompous circumlocution without, apparently, considering the weight of their rhetoric in relation to the weight of their intentions. We should also remember, in pastoral, our weakness in tending to lump the use of a childlike diction with a childish, and the use of the common language of men with the use of the commonplace - weaknesses which are shared by the poets themselves. A study of the relationships of mode and figure in the practice of writers can tell much about the abuse of conventional apparatus - not simply that the apparatus is abused, for the abuse is obvious enough as the original associations of pastoral weaken - but that it was abused because conventional agreements about the matter of pastoral poetry were not linked, eventually, with a conscious agreement about style. The study must be detailed, for an understanding of the variations and the flexibility of such links is the only means by which one can follow any distinguishing subtleties in the attitude of the poet to his subject. The requirements of such a study are many. With apologies to the mature scholar who would have much material at his easy command, I have carried out all the requirements which I could foresee. I have studied the pastoral poetry by major authors, especially the eclogues, from 1557 to 1715 (excluding the dramatic poetry). The period chosen begins with the publication of Tottel's Miscellany, in which pastoral interest is slight. It is extended to 1715 in order to mark the most significant of changes in pastoral and rhetorical practice by inclusion of Gay's Shepherd's Week, Pope's revisions of Windsor Forest, and John Hughes' edition of Edmund Spenser. I have also covered a large part of the minor poetry, so far as it was available to me in reprint, collected works or anthologies, or on microfilm. Specifically, this has included an examination of Bullen's and Lee's anthologies of Elizabethan poetry, the Rollins reprints of the major Elizabethan anthologies, and the pastoral poems in the works of Sidney, Spenser, Drayton, Breton, Carew, Ralegh, Browne, Milton (including the periphrastic translations of his Latin exercises), Prior, Dryden's translations of Theocritus and Virgil, Pope, Philips, and Gay. In selection, I have



examined Greene, the Fletchers, Denham, Rochester, Dorset, Marvell, D'Urfey, and some others. I have listed, as exhaustively as possible, the examples of periphrasis in the Elizabethan pastorals and in those of Pope and Philips; less fully, I have catalogued examples from the Restoration writers. I have noted some of the related figures, antonomasia, epitheton, and allegory, especially when these were accompanied by or were difficult to distinguish from periphrasis. I have tried to keep account of the proportion of periphrase to the number of lines of the poem, but since the purpose of the study is to analyze the meaning rather than to measure proportionate use, the incompleteness of this accounting is probably only slightly detrimental to whatever contribution it may make. My study of the criticism of the period from 1557 to 1715 has been divided, for purposes of limitation, into two categories: modern discussion surrounding the words "tradition", "convention", "decorum", "periphrasis", and "pastoral"; and critical discussion surrounding these words by literary commentators contemporary with the poets themselves. Through this examination I hope I have presented a small but indicative part of the theory of which some of the poets then writing were conscious. Through a bringing together of these materials I hope to be able to make clear the effect of the traditional rhetorical theory, or absence of it, as represented by the uses of periphrasis, upon a number of the poems written in the pastoral mode. The relationships will show, upon the basis of frequency of previous use of pastoral language and pastoral associations, that what is "imitated" and what is "original" are distinguishable, even within a narrow tradition. It will show that the pastoral tradition was particularly vulnerable to abuses of diction by rebellious or imitative or merely inadequate poets; that the abuses of diction were also often abuses of meaning; and that this combination of mental and lingual platitudes can be usefully analyzed by comparing the various applications of periphrastic speech.


The purpose of this chapter is to show that periphrasis has been considered as a figure of speech with valuable specific functions. These functions were determined by a rhetorical system which provided boundaries for a literary as well as an oratorical tradition. For my central purpose of showing words or phrases at work within a kind of poetry, the distinction between "pastoral tradition" and "pastoral convention" is essential. In much Renaissance poetry the area for originality in diction is limited by a necessity to make word selection relate to "kind" and "style". If later the limitation is maintained through less impersonal criteria, or if it is abandoned, the diction is all the more likely to become conventional; for as fewer demands are made upon the understanding, the more pressing are the demands upon the faculty of mimicry. Discrimination among the uses of words in the poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries needs a tool appropriate to the criteria of its own time; and there is much in the comments of university graduates upon the "upstart crow" or the "rakehelly rout of ragged rhymers" to suggest that a distinction between those who grew and those who borrowed their plumes was familiar and inelastic. If a contribution to the study of figurative language may be made by relating the choice of language to the mode in which the choice occurs, the limitations of the study must be narrow, and they must have some significance in themselves. Periphrasis is not a random choice of figure by which it is proposed to judge a body of figurative language. In Elizabethan poetry, its presence sometimes cries out for explanation; for according to stylistic



decorum, periphrasis should rarely occur within the low style of the pastoral mode. Yet much pastoral poetry, within and succeeding the Elizabethan period, is written in a periphrastic style. For other reasons than for the uncertainty of rhetorical distinctions which this mingling seems to show, the figure of periphrasis is a useful choice. At present it is often associated with vicious poetic diction. Through the last four centuries of use and misuse, it has suffered an accruement to its Renaissance definitions of the meanings that for a Renaissance figurist were applied to the vicious figures periergia, macrologia, and for ourselves, euphemism. It is associated with the Marinism of the sixteenth century and the preciosity of the seventeenth. It has become so closely associated with Professor Greenough's term for an eighteenth century use, "the periphrastic Kind", consisting of a generic noun modified by a concrete adjective,1 that most students will respond to the word "periphrasis" with the examples "finny tribe", "scaly denizens", and so forth. Edmund Gosse has linked it permanently, whatever his intention may have been, with the fixed mythological substitution, such as "Cynthia is lifting her silver horn" for "the moon is rising", and the "treasures of Pomona" for everything from apples to grapefruit.2 Considering these associations, it is not surprising that periphrasis should be thought of generally as a fault rather than a figure. But though conventional repetition often results from its use, periphrasis is not really the equivalent of "fixed periphrasis". Some Renaissance definitions of the figure did encourage a fixed substitution. It is probable that the readers and critics were not over-sensitive to the repetition of a noun-epithet combination, since such repetition was a part of the classic heroic style; nevertheless, there are plenty of examples both in prose and poetry to show that variation, especially in circumlocution, was enjoyed both as exuberance of wit and as proof of the copiousness of the English tongue.3 Indeed, the inclusion of periphrasis as one of the 1 John Arthos, The Language of Natural Description in Eighteenth Century Poetry (Ann Arbor, 1949), p. 356. 8 From Shakespeare to Pope ([Boston], 1885), p. 9. 3 '...when wee would be rid of one, wee use to saye Bee going, trudge, pack,



figures which supply "copie" in writing provides a point for careful examination in Miss Tuve's study of Renaissance imagery.4 For her purposes it becomes necessary to decide whether the copiousness is admired for its own sake or for its appropriate application. Miss Tuve's examination thus emphasizes the other vice so closely associated with the word "periphrasis" that it seems sometimes, like the vice of triteness, to have become a part of its definition. She does not, of course, encourage us to think that periphrasis means over-elaboration to the Renaissance writer, or that mere elaboration was applauded. Her view of the vice of over-elaboration is supported by attitudes expressed by Puttenham. Puttenham distinguishes clearly between proper and improper use of periphrasis. The poem cited as a misuse of periphrase is also used later to demonstrate "surplusage". Another point of surplusage lieth not so much in superfluitie of your words, as of your travaile to describe the matter which yee take in hand, and that ye over-labour your selfe in your businesse. And therefore the Greekes call it Periergia, we call it over-labor ... or rather [the curious] for his overmuch curiositie and Studie to shew himselfe fine in a light matter.... His intent [Gascoigne's] was to declare how upon the tenth day of March he crossed the river of Thames, to walke in Saint Georges field, the matter was not great as ye may suppose. The tenth of March when Aries received Dan Phoebus raies into his horned head, And I my selfe by learned lore perceived That Ver approcht and frosty winter fled I crost the Thames to take the cheerefull aire, In open fields, the weather was so faire. Besides being excessive, the description is "also very ridiculous", for the writer did not need learned lore to tell him that March fell be faring, hence, awaye, shifte, and, by circumlocution, rather your roome then your companye, Letts see your backe, com againe when I bid you, when you are called, sent for, intreated, willed, desiered, invited, spare us your place, another in your steede, a shipp of salte for you, save your crédité, you are next the doore, the doore is open for you, theres noe bodye holdes you, no bodie teares your sleeve, etc.'Richard Carew, "The Excellency of the English Tongue", Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith (London, 1904), II, 292. 4 Rosemund Tuve, Elizabethan and Metaphysical Imagery (Chicago, 1947), pp. 118ff., esp. 120.



in springtime, "which every carter, and also every child knoweth without any learning".6 A love of falsely ornate speech did not prevail in the Renaissance, although figures may have been misused.


A review of several definitions of periphrasis will show occasional reason to attribute to critics the guilt of promoting the association of periphrasis with triteness or over-elaboration. Periphrasis, like metaphor, synechdoche, and metonymy, is one of a group of tropes or "turnings" of a word "from his natural signification".® Fraunce omits it from a brief list of tropes, although his frequent drawing upon so periphrastic a writer as Sidney makes the omission seem strange. The strangeness is perhaps explained by Fraunce's broad use of the figure of metaphor, which in (Cap. 7 (p. 15) is exemplified by several periphrases. Sherry's definition in A Treatise of the Figures of Grammar and Rhetorike (1555)' perhaps gives scope to both triteness and false elaboration, although he cannot be said to advise writers to commit these faults. Periphrasis is, when that, that may be spoken with one worde, is declared in many, and that in three maner wayes, By explicación of the name: as when for this word Philosopher, we saye: a man studious of wisedome. By diffinicion of the thyng, as for Logike, the art of reasoning. These two "wayes" are concise, and close enough to the function of definition to avoid much notice if their uses become trite. But the third "waye" might very well encourage an idea that the criterion for successful periphrase was a quantity of words. By notacion, that is, when by certain markes, and signes we do describe any thing: as, if a man understandyng anger, wil saye it is the boyling 6 George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, Alice Walker and Gladys Doidge Willcock, eds. (Cambridge, 1936), pp. 193, 194. All subsequent quotations from Puttenham will refer to this edition. β Abraham Fraunce, The Arcadian Rhetorike, 1588, ed. Ethel Seaton ( = Luttrell Society Reprints, No. 9) (Oxford, 1950), p. 3. 7 Ed. Richard Tottel (London), University microfilm series, Fol. xxv



of the minde, which bringeth palenes into the countenaunce, burning to the iyes, trembling to the partes of the body. (Fol. xxv)

The following substitutions, also Sherry's examples, seemed to beget many children: Also, when for the proper name we put the countrey, the sect, or some great act: as For Virgil, the Poet of Mantua. For Aristotle, the prince of peripateticall schole. For Scipio, the destroyer of Carthage and Numance (Fol. xxv)

Many are the "Poets of Mantua" serving as guides to pastoral verse. For Sherry, the purposes of periphrasis are . . . to hide thinges that be foule . . . and to garnish things that be good [l]y and to make that that is shorte, good and l o n g . . . . (Facing Fol. xxvi)

He does not within this section submit the figures to the principle of decorum. On the whole, Sherry cannot be considered a strong force for clarification or functionalism in the Renaissance handling of periphrase. Thomas Wilson, a few years later, carries the same possibility of understanding periphrasis as enlargement into his definition, stating that circumlocution is "a large description, either to set forth a thing more gorgiously, or else to hide it, if the eares cannot beare the open speaking"; but he allows us to see a functional integrity in some Renaissance usage by adding "... or when with fewe words, we cannot open our meaning to speake it more largely."8 There is no attempt to define the grammatical structure of periphrasis. Mere addition of words seems to be as important, in Wilson's examples, as substitution. Contradicting the notion that a functional imagery was the aim of Renaissance critics, Wilson moreover introduces us to tropes in rhetoric as non-integral ornament: "... another kind of Exornation, that is not egally sparpled throughout the whole Oration, but is so dissevered and parted as starres stände in the Firmament, or flowers in a garden, or pretie devised antiques in a cloth of Arras." 9 8 Arte of Rhetorique, 1560. Repr. of the 1585 edition. (The first edition, 1553, is incomplete.), ed. G. H. Mair (Oxford, 1909), p. 175. » Ibid., p. 170.



From these uncertain directives, Puttenham rescues us. In defining periphrasis, "or the figure of ambage", he is so far from encouraging trite word substitutions that he introduces the element of surprise as necessary to the successful use of the figure, which he describes as "holding somewhat of the dissembler". "For if the thing or person they go about to describe by circumstance [compare above, Sherry's declaration by "notacion"], be by the writers improvidence otherwise bewrayed, it looseth the grace of a figure .. .". 10 Following Puttenham's warning comes the first use of Gascoigne's poem on "the tenth of March when Aries received ...", as an example of a four-line periphrase representing the season when lovers go walking. The example warns as much against over-elaboration as against the prosaic statement of the season, which Gascoigne "blabbed out by naming the day of the moneth". For Puttenham, a figure used in order to seem eloquent is vicious; periphrasis, however, "is one of the gallantest figures among the poetes so it be used discretely and in his right kinde". It may also be used badly, for "many of these makers that be not hälfe their craftes maisters, do very often abuse it and also many waies".11 His specific warnings, both by precept and by analysis of example, help to shift our understanding of the use of the figure away from the extremes by the earlier definitions. But he does share with Wilson and Sherry the looseness of definition which allows to writers the privilege of using additional words which do not contribute to essential meanings of the poem. Although the necessity for Puttenham of leaving the reader "somewhat to Studie and gesse upon", and his caution against allowing periphrasis to be merely "language at large" distinguishes his use from theirs (for it is a use which shows a steady consciousness of the relation of the single figure to the general style), it does not come near to making him an adherent of the principle of functionalism in diction. Nor does his definition limit the figure to a particular kind of grammatical construction such as Sister Miriam Joseph 10 11

Puttenham, pp. 193,194. Ibid., p. 193.



suggests in her definition of periphrasis as "the use of a descriptive phrase for a common name". 12 Angel Day's definition is still less limiting, and Henry Peacham's, in 1593, repeats part of Sherry's definition, although it limits the purpose of the figure more clearly.13 Webbe in his Discourse of English Poetrie, 1568,14 is not concerned with specific figures, but we can adapt some of his "generali cautions" of Horace to the discussion of the excesses connected with periphrasis. His advice is that the "ornaments or colours must not be too many, nor rashly ventured upon, ... neither must they be used everywhere and thrust into every place", and that "wayghty and great matters be not spoken slenderly". The latter advice is an encouragement to use periphrasis, to which the references seem a little more applicable than they do to other figures; but cautions as general as this can affect practice very little. They can indicate, however, that figures in general were supposed to be controlled by judgment. The controlling judgments were to be based, of course, upon decorum, or "proprietie of speeche". Webbe has little else, even of Horace, to say for himself about the use of figure in poetry. Hoskins in 1599 makes matters more confusing by contrasting his definition of periphrasis with that of the related figure "paraphrasis". If a short ordinary sense be oddly expressed by more words, it is Periphrasis; but if by as many other, it is Paraphrasis, as: many false oaths, plentiful perjury; to make a great show of himself, to make a muster of himself in the island..."

Neither the definition of periphrasis nor the examples used limit the meaning to the substitution of a descriptive phrase for a noun. In the many examples which Hoskins takes from Sidney's Arcadia, 11

Shakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language (New York, 1947), p. 125. The Garden of Eloquence (London, 1593), University microfilm. 11 William Webbe, A Discourse of English Poetrie (London 1568), University, microfilm. 15 John Hoskins, Directions for Speech and Style, ed. Hoyt H. Hudson (Princeton, 1935), p. 47. 18



lengthy elaborations of the verb are more the rule than substitutions by description of the thing: ... when they had slept awhile is ordinary; but when they had awhile hearkened to the persuasion of sleep is extraordinary. [The words are

familiar] yet the bringing-in and fetch of it is strange and admirable to the ignorant. We therefore call it periphrasis, or circumlocution; and it is much helped by metaphors; as before, inclined to sleep is expressed by a metaphor taken from an orator, who moves and inclines by persuasion Hoskins' definition far exceeds Puttenham's in connecting what is "strange and admirable" with the use of periphrasis. Where Puttenham merely insists that the value of the figure is lost if its literal intention is "blabbed out", Hoskins shows himself to be apparently the admirer of "strangeness" to startle the bourgeoisie instead of to delight the intelligent reader. The functional use of periphrasis seems far from his purpose. Of the diseases particularly attacking periphrasis, triteness is to be shunned (Sidney "shunned usual phrases"), but over-elaboration or "language at large" is not only permitted but praised. On the other hand, Hoskins' view upon the use of the related trope, metaphor, might modify the vigor with which a careful imitator flung himself into Sidney's form of periphrase. Metaphor, according to Hoskins, is to be valued because it "enricheth our knowledge with two things at once, with the truth and with similitude ..." (p. 8). Similarly, perhaps, 'shunning of the usual phrase" might be expected to convey a more than usual truth, but Hoskins does not say so. His stress is entirely upon the odd in opposition to the ordinary, and the reader is clearly pictured as unillumined and open-mouthed. It is difficult, after so much evidence that the figure was diversely defined in each decade of the Elizabethan period, and that its definition in three of the critics might have encouraged the kind of associations which many modern students have absorbed, to maintain that a careful writer did not produce his periphrases merely with a view to amazing the reader, or to get cheap effects out of the sentiments connected with much used names, such as 16

Ibid., p. 46, 47.



"the Poet of Mantua". The appeal to practice, however, is more hopeful than the appeal to criticism. The critics are often weak in their choice of examples; even Puttenham produces an example (his own) of disguised reference or periphrasis, which sounds like an effort of the White Knight rather than that of a serious poet and critic.17 The poets either understood these critics better than we are now able to do, or else they did not read them. For even in poems which are not closely integrated structures of figure and intention, purposes very unlike those prescribed for periphrasis are discernible. The submission, perhaps automatic, of figurative speech to propriety in speech may have been so much a part of the poet's early training that he did not need to be distinctly cautioned about it; and the "general cautions" of the critics, which sometimes occur apart from the definitions of figures, may have been sufficient to brace the poet's own judgment against the awkward single definitions. For the pastoral poetry before 1600 gives more than enough evidence that periphrasis was frequently used with an effect, not of swelling or of cheapening with trite associations, but of enriching the verse. Enrichment may be the effect even of some of the pastoral devices which are at first glance most open to the misuses of conventionality, such as the long periphrase using many deities to bring dawn or dark to the opening of a pastoral scene. It is an effect legitimized in Miss Tuve's discussion of "the criterion of rhetorical efficiency".18 If moving the reader is a fundamental aim of the poetry, then the ornaments known to delight or to persuade him must be, to a certain degree, functional for the Renaissance poet; not functional in expressing the thought but functional in making it listened to. This proposition is perhaps distressing to the student of modern poetry, for it insists upon less rigidity in determining what is "essential" to a poem. To a student of conventions in pastoral poetry, it offers many delights, for it 17


Whom Princes serve, and Realmes obay, And greatest of Bryton kings begot: She came abroade even yesterday, When such as saw her, knew her not. Tuve, Chapter 8.

(Puttenham, p. 193)



justifies from the audience viewpoint the mythological periphrases which frequently open the pastoral poem: Before bright Titan raised his team, Or lovely Morn with rosy cheek, With scarlet dyed the Eastern stream, On Phoebus'day, first of the week; Early [!], my goddess did arise.1"

Miss Tuve of course does not lean so heavily upon the affecting of the reader that the triteness in such an opening would be entirely excused upon the ground of its effect. Nor does she expect conclusions to be drawn in favor of the kind of writing that we would now call loose or elaborate. She does supply a fresh conception of the total function of many Renaissance poems, and thus makes "efficacy" of an image a part of the total judgment upon it. It is only incidental that rhetorical efficacy could be and often was a criterion which led to the choice of words already assumed to be efficacious. And though this efficacy may belong more appropriately to the sort of poems which E. K. would classify, as he does some of Spenser's eclogues, as "persuasions", than to all poems in the pastoral mode, some persuasive intention is a part of all poetry. The long introductory periphrase, even without elaborate justification, had some virtues. It performed a mechanical function pleasantly; its description was often ingenious, and almost always melodious. It must have satisfied the demand of readers for the familiar. The reader of pastoral probably enjoyed the touches of skill with which some writers had adapted such familiar phrases as "Titan raised his team" to a particular poem. He must have been alert for small changes in the convention. It is in some of these small changes that we can find reason to accept the mythological periphrases as a part of the poem by more modern standards. They are not all pointless elaborations. The "transfusion of conventional diction and pastoral machinery" which disturbed H. E. Rollins20 in Englands Helicon was sometimes assimilated into the bloodstream. To discover the variations 19

Barnabe Barnes, Ode 16 in Parthenophil and Parthenophe, Elizabethan Sonnets, I, ed. Sidney Lee (New York, 1903), p. 297. so The Phoenix Nest, 1593, ed. Η. E. Rollins (Cambridge, Mass., 1931), p. ix



which may make the conventional periphrastic introduction unique is to discover also how much each poem can mean to readers who are oriented toward the poem as an aesthetic object. And the question of what a poem can mean for us, as well as what it did mean for the Renaissance reader, will be a legitimate one so long as there are readers who are not scholars, and even so long as there are older scholars and younger scholars. Some Renaissance writers, in spite of what Douglas Bush calls their "classical measles", have shown impatience with Phoebus. The impatience suggests their understanding that the sun god did not really belong in the poem, only the sun. "Philon the Sheepheard" opens with "While that the Sunne.. ."21 (first published 1589 in Byrde's Songs of Sundrie Natures). Even in the standard astrological season-setting, Phoebus is sometimes neglected for a more literal statement of natural effects. One pleasant morne whenas the Sunne did passe The fiery homes of raging Bull betweene .. ,22 The more customary use occurs in Sidney's "Dispraise of a Courtly Life": "Walking in bright Phoebus blaze ..." (DPR, p. 9). Sidney is more often the experimenter than the conventional poet, but he is not always wary of mythological substitutions. And there is no real reason why he should be, for in the hands of a skilful poet euphony, metrics, and sequence of thought can supply what originality in the selection of single words or phrases does not. It seems to be the opening of the poem, and a necessity, real or imagined, for giving the reader the time of day or year which is most productive of Renaissance periphrasis. Among these periphrases is a group still more popular than the Chaucerian and Spenserian astrological periphrase, and more prominent, for it passes less easily as a matter of dignified business. This group is built upon the passage of the sun from east to west or, in its most familiar form, the passage from the'gates'of Aurorado the arms'of " Englands Helicon, ed. Hugh MacDonald, from J. Bodenham ed. of 1600, with additional poems from the edition of 1614 (Cambridge, Mass., 1950), p. 162. All subsequent mention of the text will refer to this edition. " Frances Davison, I Eclogue, A Poetical Rhapsody, 1602-1621, ed. Η. E. Rollins (Cambridge, Mass., 1931), vol. I, p. 25. All subsequent mention of this text (DPR) will refer to this edition.



Tethys or Thetis. The figures of gods and goddesses seem to be drawn into the time statement indiscriminately, with no more reason for mentioning Apollo than for mentioning Big Ben. In spite of appearances, many of these introductions can support our interest as readers of a poetry in which every image must be "functional" in the sense that it contributes something directly to the progress of thought in the poem. I shall develop this point further in discussion of the use of the Philomela story; here the problem is a little more difficult, for the time-setting lends itself more readily than the setting of mood to the exercise of ingenuity in varying and ornamenting. Unlikely as purposeful phrasing is under these conditions, there is still some to be found. Thomas Watson, in "Amintas for his Phillis", uses the convention with a surer touch than does Barnes in the example quoted above (p. 26); and the material which elongates his statement is not so commonplace. Watson does not talk about Titan's team and Phoebus' day in one breath as if they had nothing to do with one another, and he is more sensitive to the sounds of words, particularly in his placement of consonant repetitions. Aurora now began to rise againe, From watry couch, and from old Tithons side: In hope to kisse upon Acteian plaine, Young Cephalus, and through the golden glide On Easterne coast, she cast so great a light, That Phoebus thought it time to make retire From Thetis bower, wherein he spent the night, To light the world againe with heavenly fire. No sooner gan his winged Steedes to chase The Stigian night, mantled with duskie vale: But poore Amintas hasteth .. .23 Unfortunately, beautifully as the words roll off the tongue, this passage crowded with image and periphrase has nothing to say but that Amintas is going out just about as early as Barnabe Barnes' goddess did. It has little to do with the lament that follows, except that one may charitably assume that Watson has an erotic purpose in wakening us to a day set afoot by events in 88

Englands Helicon, p. 127.



the amours of the gods. But it is more likely to be chance which presents the heavenly lovers in the same poem as the earthly Amintas mourning for his love, for the opposing figures are never drawn together by later statement or imagery. The opening periphrases of Christopher Brooke's "Epithalamium" (first printed in England's Helicon, 1614), although they contain a fault which I am tempted to call catachresis, are introductions to intention as well as to time of day. Aurora's Blush (the Ensigne of the Day) Hath wak't the God of Light, from Tythons bowre, Who on our Bride, and Bride-groome doth display His golden Beames, auspitious to this Howre.24 The blush, the bower from which the sun rises, the good omen of his light cast upon the bride and bridegroom, move directly into the pattern of activities of the marriage day. Two more periphrases, of Watson and Daniel, which place the time at noon, bring the reader quickly into the action or statement of the poem. The first, which opens Thomas Watson's "Corins dreame of his faire Chloris", has more purpose in setting the time at noon than Watson's previously quoted poem did in making Amintas lament at dawn. Noon is made to sound like a hot and appropriate time for the nap in which the coming dream must occur. What time bright Titan in the Zenith sat, And equally the fixed poales did heate: When to my flock my daily woes I chat, And underneath a broade Beech tooke my seate. The dreaming God which Morpheus poets call.. .25 appears in time to save the poet from a more roundabout approach. In Daniel's Delia (1592), "An Ode" avoids Phoebus and introduces its theme by means of an immediate metaphorical transfer: Whilst the greatest Torch of heaven with bright rays, warms FLORA'S lap; My field, of flowers quite bereaven .. »

Ibid., p. 219. England's Helicon, p. 90. 2 · Lee, Elizabethan Sonnets, II, 136. 85



This is indeed a sort of conventional diction, and the form of opening is indeed a part of the machinery common in the pastoral mode. But the periphrase "Flora's lap" for the productive surface of the earth is not unnecessary to the poem. Without the periphrastic humanizing of Daniel's reference to nature, and without his reversal of the device of natural sympathy, the poem would convey less meaning and less feeling. It is not impossible for the poet to overcome these limited and Petrarchan statements of a lover's feeling. Not conventionality of construction or wordselection, but an absence of vital reaction "perverts" the texts of England's Helicon. Unlike his more conventional associates, when Sidney says, Is that love? Forsooth I trow, if I saw my good dogge greeved: And a helpe for him did know, my Love should not be beleeved: but he were by me releeved. 27

he is using pastoral machinery - the "shepherd" and his dog- but he has aroused a complex of feelings which remove him from the need of other enrichments. The conclusions which it seems to me must be derived from these comparisons are that the periphrases of these poems, and especially those of England's Helicon, are sometimes varied purposefully; even their unwise use is at least as delectable as the piling up of sensuous notations characteristic of some schools of poetry; and in the event that they are used in a completely empty poem better periphrasis than nothing! The "nothing" is well represented by the work of Bartholomew Yong, in the poems reprinted in England's Helicon from his translation of Montemayor's pastoral romance, Diana Enamorada. Yong uses only a few periphrases and those the most commonplace. His choice of themes is of course directed by the poems which he translated, but his diction must surely be inferior. In 1925 Hugh MacDonald calls Yong*s translations "dull poems". In his 1950 introduction he remarks that they "vary in merit". In both introductions they are the "subject of the most serious criticism 17

England's Helicon, p. 10.



brought against England's Helicon". Apparently their lack of matter and lack of ornament is more displeasing to many commentators than the "conventional diction and pastoral machinery" of the collection in general which displease Rollins. Of the twenty-four poems (to no other poet but the ubiquitous Ignoto are attributed more than fifteen) most are long and few are interesting. If Montemayor had written in a style ornamented with choice periphrases, it is doubtful that Yong would have known how to reproduce them. The substitutions "Aurora" for "dawn" and "the Sheepheards starre" for the "morning star" appear in "The Sheepheard Faustus his Song" in one of the better passages, which is a description of the bad omens surrounding the marriage of the "faire Mayde" to "prying Jealousie" (p. 93). In the same poem Yong spoils his periphrase by combining it with its literal statement - "That Cupids force, and love thou should'st embrace" - an explanation which leaves us nothing to studie and gesse upon. He is more successful in "The Sheepheard Firmius his Song" (p. 99), where interest is supplied by means of the legal allegory. "The Nimph Dianaes Song" (p. 103) uses Titan and Phoebe for sun and moon. These substitutions (antonomasia rather than periphrasis) only slightly affect the verse statement. The rapid movement of narrative and meter makes this an excellent poem, one which would not gain from the delaying effects of periphrasis. In "Alanius the Sheepheard, his dolefull Song", (p. 107) the figure of antonomasia turns the cruell Nimph into a fell Sheepheardesse within a few stanzas, by means of no magic but the spirit of vituperation, a spirit later to become familiar in the Restoration pastorals of the court wits. "Your fields with their distilling favours cumber" periphrastically dignifies Yong's blessing upon the Bride and Bridegroom of "Arsileus his Carol..." (p. 136). "Flora", "Atropos" and "the vitall string" (life)» and a few more mentions of love and the beloved by means of the most usual substitutions, complete the list of Yong's periphrases and related figures. Only one of the examples shows any sign of reaching beyond cliche in its application. So, when after the half-dozen or more adoring names for the beloved of "the Sheepheard Delicius" (p. 125), one finds Aurora again rising in the next poem (not



Yong's), the periphrastic dawn actually brings relief from Yong's more casual tropes. Bartholomew Yong is an ineffective poet not only because he does not use periphrasis. He is usually ineffective because he has little command of any figurative language. He depends upon dialogue or narrative for interest, and sometimes produces, or rather reproduces, a good narrative monologue, such as "The Nimph Diana's Song". But when the verse needs the flavor supplied by figurative language, he can supply only a smattering of pastoral epithet and a pinch of antonomasia. To supply anything as vague as flavor or enrichment is not the ostensible purpose of the use of periphrasis in Renaissance verse. Those purposes which are mentioned among the definitions of this figure were of first importance among the poets : to illustrate or amplify (Hoskins, Sherry, and Peacham); to "hide thinges that be foule" (Sherry, Peacham, Wilson); to "set forth ... more gorgiously" (Wilson) or "pleasantly and figuratively" (Puttenham); for intellectual exercise, to give the reader "somewhat to Studie and gesse upon ..." (Puttenham); to supply the want of a word (Peacham); and to make matter "more evident and lightsome", (Peacham, Wilson) that is, to clarify what cannot be expressed as accurately without periphrasis, a purpose which is also to be understood by most Renaissance uses of the word amplify?* A Renaissance poet, if guided by these expressions of purpose, did not ornament indiscriminately, though his discriminations did not always correspond to ours. Of these statements of purpose, none clearly expresses our modern insistence that the choice of words be directed by their suitability to the structure of the single poem. There is, however, another motion of the Renaissance criticism which controls these purposes,29 at least for the learned and their imitators, in the same 28 Fraunce, unlike most of the others, does not mention and does not seem concerned about the purpose of "Metaphor", the trope most closely related to periphrasis, which he does not mention in the Arcadian Rhetorike. He does say that "by these hyperbolicall métaphores the speach is made very lofty and full of majestie" (p. 18). He seems chiefly to be making a virtue of allegorical personification. 2 » Tuve, Chapter 9.



way that the Primum Mobile controls the Ptolemaic processions of the spheres - the principle of decorum. It is this principle which tells us that Bartholomew Yong, in being dull, is perhaps trying only to reproduce the simplicity of the base style traditionally appropriate to pastoral, although his poor handling of what figures he does use makes us suspect another reason. It is also this principle which brings us closest to the Elizabethan ways of seeking out the "functional" in poetic structure.


Granting Miss Tuve's extension of the term "functional" to devices for the persuasion of the reader, one must still see the action of decorum and its "three stiles" of diction as informative rather than persuasive, except perhaps in the practical speech of oratory and letter-writing. For the three styles are guides at once to the suitability of words within a poem or narration and to their suitability to the objects which they represent. And though one sometimes finds that the wish to persuade controls the truth of things represented, for instance in accounts of the sufferings of unsuccessful lovers, the critics of poetry do not advise the poets to perform in this way. Even Gascoigne, who emphasizes finding the new angle in the lover's old story (rather than penetration or psychological truth), does not think of poetry as dealing in distortion. Puttenham states directly a fear of the distorting effect of imagery. A critic may insist, without being conscious of his narrowness, upon associating truth with decorum in the representation of character, as Puttenham does in objecting to the statement in Stanyhurst's translation of the Aeneid that Aeneas "was fayne to trudge out of Troy" as a beggar might do (p. 273). But we should be able also to attend to the broader and more complete statement of Puttenham: ... neither is all that may be written of Kings and Princes such as ought to keepe a high stile, nor all that may be written upon a shepheard to keep the low, but according to the matter reported ... ; for every pety pleasure and vayne delight of a king are not to be accompted high matter



for the height of his estate, but meane and perchaunce very base and vile.30 A n d if later Puttenham tells us that soldiers take to their heels, but captains and kings depart (p. 273), perhaps that is a valid distinction based upon the amount of forethought necessarily involved in their actions. If he intended to describe a cowardly king, Puttenham would be the last to hesitate in calling him so. He and other advocates of decorum must be listed upon the side of truth. Few can be justly called supporters of decorum as mere manners, or as means for the common man to adapt himself to communication with the aristocracy. The association really made by Renaissance critics is that the high style requires the use of figurative language. Whatever the style may be called - high, "grande", sublime, or great - it is the style suitable in speaking of great matters and suitable for representing the speech of great personnages in regard to these matters. Periphrasis, since it is too elaborate a figure to avoid notice, would seldom, if decorum were in complete control, escape into the mean or base styles. Yet the poets, by nature more opportunist than the critics, occasionally mix periphrasis and frequently use antonomasia in verse or prose which, by all other characteristics, must be considered to belong to the lower orders of style. Some of these poets are university men, like Greene and Nashe, who know what is decorous and reject or modify it. 81 Nashe is in active rebellion against the rules for two very good reasons: one, his own ability to draw upon the "extemporall vaine in anie humor", and two, his judgment that the rules have grown too easy and familiar: I am not ignorant how eloquent our gowned age is growen of late: so that everie moechanicall mate abhorres the english he was borne too, and plucks with a solemne periphrasis, his ut vales from the inkhorne: which I impute not so much to the perfection of arts, as to the servile imitation of vainglorious tragoedians, who contend not so seriouslie to excell in action, as to embowell the clowdes in a speach of com,0

Puttenham, p. 273. See the defenses of apparent indecorum by Miss Tuve, op. cit., p. 247. These apply chiefly to the use by the Metaphysicals of genres whose matter demands a modified attitude, as satire. 81



parison; thinking themselves more than initiated in poets immortalitie, if they but once get Boreas by the beard, and the heavenlie bull by the deaw-lap.82 Moreover, the poets' "idiote art-masters" as well as the vainglorious tragedians are to blame; apparently even the learned, for Nashe, are not masters of eloquence. It is among reactions such as these which one must work if he is to try to sort out the prevailing and often unspoken attitudes of the times to a set of literary criteria. In the poetry, more frequently than in the extant criticism, the clouding of the rhetorical distinctions provided by the three styles appears. In the poetry one can occasionally relate a misunderstanding of dogma to poetic malpractice, and can sometimes see writing which gives little evidence of critical control. This writing gives reason for misunderstanding of the principles by subsequent writers, and by the time one reaches Dryden and Pope, the "styles" are affectations, and figures of speech have become their corresponding vices. Miss Tuve says that Dryden's comment upon the metaphysical mixture of style and matter shows "a certain ossifying of the more flexible earlier notions of decorum; he does not think Donne's nice speculations of philosophy are suited to love poems". 33 Pope is ready to announce that "Periphrasis or Circumlocution is the peculiar talent of Country Farmers ..." To illustrate his category "The Buskin, or Stately" style, "frequently, and with great Felicity mixed with the [Cumbrous]" and its "Load of Metaphors" and "long Train of Words", he uses the following verses, carefully culled from the contemporary poets.34 Will not every true Lover of the Profound be delighted to behold the most vulgar and low Actions of Life exalted in this Manner? Who Knocks at the Door? For whom thus rudely pleads my loud-tongu'd Gate, That he may enter? [no source noted] See who is there? " Thomas Nashe, Introduction to Greene's Menaphon (1589), ed. G. Β. Harrison (Oxford, 1927), p. 4. " Tuve, p. 237. " Martinus Scriblerus (Alexander Pope?), The Art of Sinking in Poetry, ed. E. L. Steeves (New York, 1952), pp. 69, 70.



Advance the fringed Curtains of thy Eyes, And tell me who comes yonder. Shut the Door. The woodden Guardian of our Privacy Quick on its Axle turn. -


[no source noted]

Light the Fire Bring forth some Remnant of Promethean Theft, Quick to expand th'inclement Air congeal'd By Boreas's rude Breath. [no source noted] Open the Letter. Wax! render up thy Trust.

(Theob. Double Distress)

Such writing, as Pope and the Scriblerus Club well knew, would not have been excused by the "Rules of the Ancients". But vague notions of what the high style was intended to be, during the years preceding this satiric selection of illustrations, may very well have encouraged such writing. Pope's mischievous sampling from Philips, Davenant, and Dryden, Theobald, Lee, Waller, Quarles, and many others, does not show the intended end of the principles continually proposed and explained during the Renaissance. There are a number of comments in the early criticism which reveal the real and usual relationship of periphrasis to the high style. The clearest of these is the previously quoted comment by Nashe, in his Introduction to Greene's Menaphon (1589). Nashe implies the proper relationship by a demonstration of its abuse. Other comments are clear enough in their implications, but less direct in their statement. Day, in 1595, relates the use of figure to the function of the verse. Roger Ascham differs in preferring to relate the choice of words and figures to "Genus" rather than to "stile", "as the matter of everie Author requireth". 36 The difference in effect should be very slight, for Ascham is still concerned with the relationship of style to the subjects dealt with (not just persons but ideas), just as the theory surrounding the "three stiles" suggests. Wilson's popular Arte 86

See I, 2, 411-12 for a correction of Pope's quotation. Of Imitation, The Schole Master (1570), in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith (London, 1950), I, 23.




of Rhetorike (first edition, 1553) says that in the "great or mightie kinde ... we use great wordes or vehement figures", whereas in the "lawe" [sic] kind, "we use no Metaphores nor translated words, nor yet use any amplifications, but goe plainly to worke, and speake altogether in common wordes". 37 Day recommends "many excellent Figures and places of Rhetorique" for the sublime style.38 Puttenham does not limit the use of figure to the high style, but finds some figures "common to all three" 39 while others would be appropriate to only one of the styles. Abused or not, the connection of periphrasis with the high style was established in the minds of most writers from Barclay to Pope. It seems to me that modern writers are likely to over-emphasize the social implications of the system of styles. But periphrasis may be seen as a part of the high style which had a fixed purpose not only in the rhetorical but in the contemporary social scheme. If even a few ancient writers make the association, discussion is necessary here, since the amount of meaning carried by a periphrastic phrase will be related to the purpose for which it is used. If it is used simply for the sake of shunning the usual phrase, (the motive which Hoskyns sees and approves of in Sidney's Arcadia), the periphrase or other figure will carry little meaning. If it is used only as the result of established social requirements for speech between the upper and lower classes, a motive implied by W. S. Howell,40 the phrases will again be likely to convey little meaning. And if "good style is a systematic and deliberate repudiation of the speech of everyday life" (Howell, p. 117), and is understood to be so by the generality of writers and critics, the figurative language loses all connection with those motives which seem to be most fundamental to its use in the Renaissance - the fitting of style to subject, to the "fayned" or real person represented as speaker, and to the intended audience. It will even lose connection with a purpose not often spoken but much evidenced by "

ed. Mair, p. 169. There were eight editions between 1553 and 1585. Angel Day, The English Secretorie... (London, 1595), p. 10. University microfilm. " Puttenham, p. 153. 40 W. S. Howell, Logic and Rhetoric in England, 1500-1700 (Princeton, N. J., 1956), pp. 4-10. 88



these writers, the personal emotion or attitude which they attach to the subject. In Renaissance criticism, the confusion of good style with superfluous elegance meets the same ridicule that it does today. Hoskins, who, from his praise of Sidney for the unusual, might be expected consistently to confuse good style with elaborate style, cautions his readers not to waste the time of their betters with "superfluous and wanton circuits of figures".41 Hoskins' warning is applied to letter writing, and it has a distinctly aristocratic bias, but other critics extend similar warnings for other forms. Wilson advises the orator rather to imitate Demosthenes in speaking "simply and plainly to the common people's understanding, than to overflourysshe with superfluous speach ..." (p. xxx) ; and he associates the wish to remove oneself from common speech with such personnages as the Lincolnshire applicant for a "voyde benefice", who sprinkles his application with periphrastic phrases such as "he that rules the climates" for God (p. 163). This is a style quite different from the style Wilson is recommending when he says "In waightie causes grave wordes are thought most needful" (p. 166). Both the periphrastic letter of application and the speech of the man with the wine pot who wished to impress the scholars of King's College (p. 164) demonstrate the ways in which the system of decorum must have become confused in use; and they also demonstrate the attempts of critics and scholars to control this confusion. The real distinctions in style do not result from the attempts of the humble to address the aristocracy. Even the more fundamental distinction in speech between the learned and the unlearned does not result in a view of good style as the repudiation of common speech. It is true, however, that the use of figure is thought of as the artful varying of the common speech. Sister Miriam Joseph quotes the influential definition of Quintilian, that a figure is "a form of speech artfully varied from the common usage". 42 The variation is apparently a variation from the literal meaning of words when the figure is a trope, or "turning", and in other instances, a variation from the normal or conversational use 41


Op. cit., p. 6. Op. cit. p. 32.



of grammar or word order. The low style is not necessarily the style of low people. Puttenham admits the use of figures into his description of the low style (p. 153). Angel Day (1595) thinks of the Humile, or lowest style, as possessing a kind of "Elegance" especially appropriate to familiar letters (page preceding C2); Wilson confines "vehement figures" to the high style, and sees the middle style performing its function at the times when we wish to "moderate our heate by meaner wordes" {Arte of Rhetorique, p. 169); Sherry lists the virtues and faults of each kind, and sees the "small kind" or middle style in oratory as a style "lette downe even to the moste custome of pure, and cleare speakying ..." (Microfilm, Hiiii). Each of the styles is considered in these examples as an instrument for particular literary functions. It is only Hoskins who advises the use of periphrasis and other figures to avoid "baseness" (p. 47), and in this he partly does an injustice to the source of his examples, the Arcadia. Others do not deny poetic life to common speech but give it a definite place in the pattern of decorum, only insisting that the common speech should not be seen at its worst. The earlier poets as well as the critics are consistent in their association of the more "vehement" figures, such as periphrasis, with the high style. Pastoral eclogues seldom use periphrasis. As Alexander Barclay says in the prologue to his "Ecloges"43 (c. 1513, 1514), in apology for his "lack of eloquence", It were notfittinga heard or man rurali To speake in termes gay and rhetoricall. So teacheth Horace in arte of poetry, That writers namely their reason should apply Mete speeche appropring to every personage, After his estate, behavour, wit and age. Spenser and Drayton, and rather feebly in their distant footsteps, Philips, carry out this prescription. E. K. professes ignorance, in his preface to the Shepheards Calender, as to whether Spenser chose his archaic style in an attempt to follow decorum or merely to follow the old poets, but no modern reader of Spenser can be " Alexander Barclay, Eclogues, ed. Beatrice White, from the original edition by John Cawood, EETS (London, 1928), p. 3, vs. 83-88.



in much doubt. Eclogues, by a false derivation, are "goteheards" talk, and in English poetry from Barclay at least to the Fletchers, they remain so. It is true that periphrasis can occur in forms which do not, or ought not upon these principles, pretend to be written in the high style, forms such as the lyric, or love poem. In comic writing or in comic intrusions upon serious writing, periphrasis may be employed to give the effect of bombast or over-laboured expression. To illustrate this purpose, Miss Tuve cites the speech of the player king in Hamlet in Act III. This speech makes an excellent contrast with the usual use of the mythological and astronomical periphrases of the pastoral. Although these previously quoted lines seem to make much ado about the time of day, they are at least sonorous, colorful, and graceful. In the pastoral sonnet sequences of some poets, periphrasis or epitheton frequently intrudes to praise the beloved by elaborate comparisons or to conceal the expressions of delight in her private beauties. These uses are typical of Barnabe Barnes in parts of his pastoral sequence Parthenophil and ParthenopheWilliam Smith in his Chloris, or the Complaint of the passionate despised Shepherd (1596) (Lee, Vol. II) is still more free with the figure of periphrasis, perhaps because of his admiration for Spenser's grand style. Lodge, working with his translations of Ronsard, Desportes, Ariosto and others,45 uses some periphrasis to round out a full-figured style. The influence of his sources, particularly the prescriptions by the Pléiade for an ornate diction, may be supposed to have contributed to his abandonment of the more usual English pastoral style. Satire, decorously considered, belongs to the domain of the base style, yet periphrasis can occur in satire. Donne, whose consciousness of decorum has been ably presented,46 uses periphrasis in his Satire I for the purposes both of concealment and lowering of the subject. These purposes sometimes clothe the word substitution in other rhetorical titles, as "meosis". Love themes are considered to be properly dressed in the mean style; and consistently, one 44

" "

Lee, I. See especially Canzon 3. Ibid., I, lxvii. Tuve, pp. 74, 141-42, 210, 237, 240.



finds a more frequent use of periphrasis in those poems which are not laid in a pastoral setting than in the obviously pastoral verse, even of effervescent writers like Barnes. Since such varied usage appears, it cannot be maintained that the three styles are always clearly distinguished in practice. But a part of their mixture comes not from ignorance, carelessness, or rebellion of the writers, but from the fusion of the modes which in simpler circumstances would have helped to direct the choice of styles. As has been pointed out by Miss Tuve, the Elizabethan age was an age of experimentation; and even in a writer so closely associated with the Italian classic authorities as Sidney, the urge toward experiment is evident. If the poet's use of single genres is good, Sidney believes, their conjunction cannot be harmful. Tragic and comic, heroic and pastoral can be mingled, without necessarily offending the educated judgment. And the list of seven genres which Sidney presents, "perchaunce forgetting some, and leaving some as needlesse to be remembered",47 may consequently cross their limits in the use of the three appropriate styles. Style it seems, is to be directed by the subject matter immediately at hand. Destruction of values is not the necessary result of lack of rigidity, but to prevent this result a close understanding of the relations of style and subject is necessary. Critics generally liked to simplify their problem by relating style to genre. But the control by genre, at least among the critics where there is detailed evidence of thought, such as Puttenham, Chapman, and Daniel, does not exclude other circumstances. Puttenham pleads for "speciali regard to all circumstances of the person, place, time, cause, and purpose", and Chapman for the consideration of the "whole drift, weight, and height"48 of the work of the poet. If a rigid control by genre had been maintained, Mantuan and Barclay could not have adapted the pastoral poem for satire. The prescription of the narrower critics would have prevented Virgil from the use of allegory in pastoral, and Spenser as well. Lycidas could not have been written, the Court Wits could not have dallied so "

Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, I, 160. Smith, p. lxv, presents these quotations as examples of individualism in the classical judgments of the Renaissance. 48



frivolously with their mistresses in the pastoral mode, and not even Pope, in his youthful correctness and elegance, would have met the pastoral requirements. The clouding of distinctions between one mode and another has clearly not been all bad. But it has contributed to the departure of pastoral from purposes which seem naturally allied to its surroundings, and has forced modern critics, particularly Empson, to make a distinction between "the polite pretense of pastoral" which is concerned chiefly with the expression of a "feeling for Beauty" and the "realistic sort of pastoral" 49 which is likely to have purposes less suspect to the bourgeoisie. For pastoral writing, as it was practised, ended by going in all directions. In many of those directions there was no place for a reasonable suiting of style to subject. Lacking this, there was not a sufficiently firm base for the control of figurative language. The awkwardness of the situation is expressed by Wycherley, after a century of indeterminate development. His occasion is the publication of Pope's Pastorals. His complaint about the problem of appropriate language is less specific than it would have been earlier, and his praise allows Pope all his pastoral elegance, but it suggests, as also would have been suggested earlier, that "vehement" figures would be out of place. Some, in a polish'd style write pastoral: Arcadia speaks the language of the Mall. Like some fair shepherdess, the sylvan Muse Should wear thoseflowersher native fields produce; And the true measure of a shepherd's wit Should, like his garb, be for the country fit: Yet must his pure and unaffected thought More nicely than a common swain's be wrought; So with becoming art, the players dress In silks the shepherd and the shepherdess; Yet still unchanged the form and mode remain, Shap'd like the homely russet of the swain. Your rural Muse appears to justify The longlost graces of simplicity:80 49

William Empson, Some Versions of the Pastoral (London, 1950), pp. 12,17. To Mr. Pope, On his Pastorals. Recommendatory Poems, in Works of the English Poets, ed. Alexander Chalmers (London, 1810), XII, 133.




When one looks at the pastorals to which these verses apply, it is extremely difficult to distinguish the shape of the homely russet in the glimmer of the silk. The "simplicity" of Wycherley is far removed from the base style of the Renaissance, although a concern for decorum remains. We have come a long way from the freedom of thought recommended to Elizabethan critics by Samuel Daniel in his Defence of Rhyme (71603). Daniel's freedom is possible without destroying rules, traditions, and authorities, and without creating artificial concepts of the use of language. We must not thinke there but that were Scipioes, Caesars, Catoes, and Pompeies borne elsewhere then at Rome ·, the rest of the world hath ever had them in the same degree of nature, though not of state. And it is our weaknesse that makes us mistake or misconcieve in these deliniations of men the true figure of their worth. And our passion and beliefe is so apt to leade us beyond truth, that unless we try them by the just compasse of humanitie, and as they were men, we shall cast their figures in the ayre, when we should make their models upon Earth.51 In the Defence, Daniel's application of this comment helps to defend rhyme against qualitative experimentation by insisting upon the value of new circumstances and the testing of the old heroes upon "the just compasse of humanitie". Traditional concepts, he says, must likewise be tested, concepts which involve the torturing of syllables (p. 376) as well as the idealization of character.



With all respect for ancient models, Daniel has demonstrated what Wycherley's casual recommendation is not able to demonstrate the necessity for new judgments to be related to what is real, not to an apparel "according to the fashion of every nation". 52 Freedom from rigid prescriptions of mode need not imply the abandonment of established modes, and for the Elizabethan critics, and in a less degree, the writers, did not. A brief review of what the word pastoral meant to the more rigid classic writers will show in " "

Smith, Essays, II, 371. Smith, II, 372.



what respects the freer uses of the mode deviated from firm and reiterated critical principles, and in what respect it deviated merely from the apparel of the various times and various nations. Classical criticism seems to have confined pastoral to a specific and clearly stated environment. Theocritus' Idylls might wander from field to town to seashore, but it was only the field in which critics of the pastoral permitted themselves to be entertained. The piscatory "eclogues" or dialogues did not succeed in establishing a mode to themselves (at least until the seventeenth century, with Drayton, Fletcher, and Walton), nor did they succeed in entering the English pastoral domain. Samuel Johnson's rather confusing attitudes toward the pastoral mode seem to summarize earlier views of pastoral limitations. Johnson tells us, in Rambler 37,63 that the pastoral has "nothing peculiar but confinement to rural imagery, without which it ceases to be pastoral". A little later, in his comment upon Sanazzaro's attempt (1504) to provide variety in simple surroundings by engaging his peasants in fishing, he reports the classic objection that Sanazzaro fails because these surroundings do not provide "peace, and leisure, and innocence: . . . the sea is an object of terror, and by no means proper to amuse the mind, and lay the passions epasle ...". Johnson is partly in sympathy with the classic objection. He feels the seahore to be inappropriate. But his reasons are different; he even defends the seaside by the assertion that it is as easy to find the sea at peace as it is the forest. This defense stresses thematic associations of pastoral which he has not consciously admitted. And one of his phrased objections, that the unfamiliar seascapes cannot arouse the same feelings in men as their childhood surroundings of field and forest, again points to the thematic limits of pastoral rather than to its limits in scenery. In spite of these evidences of penetration by Johnson, the scenic limitations had remained strict for the conventional critic. These attitudes are discussed in Rapin's famous and sometimes maligned essay, "A Discourse upon Pastoral Poetry", which was translated 83

The Works of Samuel Johnson, ed. Arthur Murphy (New York, 1851), I, 69. "A Treatise de Carmine Pastorali", in The Idylliums of Theocritus, trans. Thomas Creech (Oxford, 1684), pp. 26-27. Rapin notes that Servius has 61




into English by Thomas Creech in 1684. As a consequence of these limitations we find in pastoral poetry all the delightful lack of scenic variety which Johnson at once recommends and complains of: the oaten quill, reed, or pipe, or more simply, the oat; the crystal brooks, streams, floods, or fountains; Philomen, or, without benefit of antonomasia, the nightingale; the nymphs and satyrs, somewhere accepted into the mode as woodland appurtenances, although they do not manifest themselves as active beings in the Idylls and only in the sixth pastoral of Vergil; the cypress boughs, or myrtle, and the grasses and flowers which respond to the woes of shepherds; and above all, the swains, nymphs (both tangible and intangible), sheep, and shepherds who along with an assortment of gods and goddesses ornament Arcadia. All these properties, at least as long as there were able poets to keep them from descending to nonentity, might be called upon for the easy and familiar associations which by the end of the seventeenth century have altogether lost their meaning. More important to the survival of the mode were certain thematic properties of pastoral, equally familiar but less open to the accusation of vulgarity. Johnson's recognition of some of these characteristics has already been cited. Rapin's earlier comments, influential during the decline of the pastoral, prohibit any "lofty subject" : "Let it not recede one jot from its proper matter, but be employ'd about Rustick affairs " There are to be no fights. Songs and sports are acceptable. "... all things must appear delightful and easy [no serious quarrels or costly gifts], nothing vitious and rough." "Simplicity" and "Candor" must characterize the verse.85 Rapin regrets that Aristotle had nothing to say about the pastoral (p. 16), but reports that Vossius included pastoral poetry in Aristotle's discussion of the epic in these words: "... besides there are Epicks of an inferior rank, such as the Writers of Bucolicks." Sinceras, says Rapin, finds a place for pastoral as the lowest form of epic but the most pure. Rapin also discusses the rustic disguise of loftier thoughts and characters. pointed out the ten pastorals among Theocritus' thirty Idylliums. Similarly, only seven of Vergil's ten eclogues are accepted by these critics as pastorals. " Rapin, p. 25.



Classical comment, as he reports it, seems sometimes to take for granted and sometimes to prohibit the use of allegory in the pastoral (pp. 18-20). It does not clearly discuss the function of allegory which Spenser later exploits, the suggestion of heroic matter or lofty themes in simple language. The limitations of theme which belong to this form are reported by Chambers as follows: the exaltation of content, the preoccupation with love, and the refreshment of natural beauty.56 These, says Chambers, "rest upon broad permanent tendencies of human nature, the twin faculties of imagination and observation, the instincts, if you will, toward realism and idealism".57 Rapin, for all his temporal association with the decline of English pastoral, likewise implies that these themes are important;58 moreover, for him they are important enough to exclude narration of the wanton love story from the pastoral mode. One again wonders, in thinking of the wanton and witty poems which are being written at about the time of the publication of this essay in English, whether the impulse which produced the poetry was not simply an impulse to subvert the criticism. But Alexander Pope is Rapin's real exponent, rather than the earlier writers. Of the themes or notions which support the poet in his expression of attitudes about nature, love (successful or deprived), and contentment, only a few need be listed. These classically approved contrivances may be productive of almost as much repetition and vulgarity as the conventional scenery of pastoral, or as productive of delight. Some are chiefly characteristic of the "artificial" pastoral, for instance, the representation of shepherd life in the Golden Age; the reference to natural phenomena in the periphrastic terms of classical mythology;59 and the pathetic fallacy, or the animated responses of nature to the passions of the shepherd-poet. Other contrivances are chiefly characteristic of the rough pentameter "eclogues", that is, the dialogue poems which seriously considered themselves to be an elevated but not elegant form of 56 English Pastorals, pp. xxxix-xli.


Ibid., p. xxxvii. Op. cit., pp. 62-67. 6 ' The briefer related figure "antonomasia" is more likely to occur in the serious or the "realistic" pastoral. 68



discussion between real shepherds or goatherds. Here occur the references to technicalities of sheep-herding or the actualities of pastoral housekeeping and merrymaking. In these eclogues, the sympathies of nature are unforced, generally; the shepherd will probably comment upon the beauties of nature in contrast to his own unhappy state, or upon the effect of nature on him. He may use attributes of nature to describe his beloved, but he seldom introduces impossible comparisons or actions. The relationships of man and nature are presumed to be significant without the intrusions of a picturesque animism. Flora does not have to "rear her head above the banks". Personification of abstractions is less likely to occur. In both kinds of pastoral the relationships of art and nature may be touched upon or may serve as a central theme. These relationships are in fact often more central to the pastoral poem than the city-country relationship which is said to be an indispensable part of its identity. But this theme generally is controlled by its surroundings in a way that is no longer possible after Hyde Park and the myrtle grove have replaced the oaks and bays of a less crowded landscape. And it is later seen most clearly as the retirement theme of the eighteenth century. Its earlier form is rather the expression of joy in the simplicity of pastoral life, and in this form it is a part even of some of the most despairing of lover's laments. The joy, however, can become platitudinous through overstatement without even the help of purling streams or mythological periphrasis. His cottage low, and safely humble gate Shuts out proud Fortune with her scorns and fawns; Singing all day, his flocks he learns to keep, Himself as innocent as are his simple sheep.60

(Canto xii)

The theme of love in conflict with honor is a part of seventeenth century pastoral. Elizabethans wade deeper into this theme and splash less. Honor as a restraint to love is important in such Elizabethan pastoral expressions as Sidney's "In a grove most Phineas Fletcher, "The Purple Island", in The Poetical Works of Giles and Phineas Fletcher, ed. Frederick S. Boas (Cambridge, 1909), II.



rich of shade" and Samuel Daniel's translation of the Golden Age Chorus from Tasso's Aminta. These themes and others may be more or less closely related to the pastoral machinery of expression, and relationship may be expressed in either a realistic or an artificial manner. My earlier discussion of the low style demonstrated that periphrasis was not a figure considered to be appropriate to this style by the critics of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It remains to remind ourselves that the low style was considered by the informed to be the proper mode of expression for pastoral poetry. For if this figure, as a representative of a "vehement" figurative language, a figure whose presence adds a great deal to complications of thought and elegance of expression, is used without thought of theme or relation to attitude, the poetic reality can only become what Wycherley in his sophistication found it, the silken shepherd and shepherdess of a pastoral drama whose "form and mode remain" under lip-service to "the homely russet of the swain". It is not necessary to make a detailed explanation of the classic viewpoint about the place of the low style in pastoral poetry. An established ground for the mixture of styles is shown in Rapin's report of the comment of Minturnus (based in turn upon a comment of Sincerus) that the pastoral is the lowest form of epic but the most pure. This minority encampment raises the banner of Aristotle, but does not overrun the classical pattern of criticism; the style of pastoral, even if it is considered as a part of epic, is to have certain limitations, and it shares in the distinctions of the drama and of oratory between the high and the low, between "Dignity and meanness".61 In an attempt to sift from this mixture of comments what is most characteristic, Rapin concludes that the expression should be "plain and easy, but elegant and neat" (p. 35). It is proper that "there should be a great deal coucht in a few words, and everything it [pastoral poem] says should be so short, and so close, as if its chiefest excellence was to be spareing in Expression: such is that of Virgil; "

Rapin, p. 19.



These fields and Corn shall a Barbarian share? See the Effects of all our Civil War. How short is that? How concise?" Other examples illustrate vehement passions and sparing expression, while Rapin reminds us, "This grace Virgil learn'd from Theocritus ...." (pp. 39, 40). Rapin's summary of traditional views expresses his concern for clearing pastoral from the charge of baseness. This concern may have adversely affected English eighteenth century adaptations of the pastoral mode; the criticism may have served somewhat to discredit the inelegant specificity of Theocritus, with whose Idylls it appeared in Creech's translation in 1683. But Rapin's intention is not to encourage a mixture of the styles nor to ornament the low style. He sees at one extreme Mantuan, who "makes Shepherds blockishly sottish, and insufferably rude" (p. 33), and at the other the Italian school of Tasso, Bonarellus, Guarini, and Marinus, who are "too polite", exhibiting "all the neatness of the Town, and Complement of the Court" in the manners of their shepherds (p. 31). The condemnation of each of these extremes is reflected in Rapin's most general rule for the choice of language. Pastoral style should have "no insolent words, or bold metaphors, but ... something familiar, and as it were obvious in its Composure All its Ornament must be like the Corn and fruits in the Country, easy to be gotten, and ready at hand" (p. 56). These are views, classically derived, which need not have turned the pastoral into sugar. But unfortunately even the speakers of such views, no less than the hearers, applied them in misleading ways. Sanazzaro, springing up in 1504 as a crystal fountain of English Arcadian pastoral, after a long passage in which natural beauties are preferred to artificial, and the pastoral form is proposed as the voice of nature, murmurs on his polished oat, I may well on these deserted slopes, to the listening trees and to such few shepherds as may be there, tell the rude eclogues springing from the vein of nature, leaving them as bare of ornament as I heard them sung by the shepherds of Arcadia to the liquid murmur of their fountains.'2 62

Quoted in C. S. Baldwin, Renaissance Literary Theory, p. 84.



Surely Sanazzaro's claim for his pastorals is mistaken if these mellifluous phrases represent the way his notions are expressed in his own language. In view of such distances between speaker and doer, it is not difficult to see how the classic rhetorical prescriptions could have been applied and misapplied to the matter of pastoral poetry, with a final result of such confusion that writers lost the ability to see the Nature which they were diligently copying, except through the means of the sophisticated wit of the town. The passage from Sanazzaro exhibits several items of the conventional surroundings, the trees, the fountains, the songs, and the shepherds. Elizabethan poets make an excellent and varied use of these items; Jacobean poets use and question them; the wits invade Arcadia or Elysium to destroy them; Pope and others revive them; while the rural activities of mankind concurrently go on.


The effects of periphrastic writing within the pastoral mode can be usefully examined. The relationship of mode and style within a poem may demonstrate the relationship of the poem to a critical tradition, wherever literary practice establishes such patterns as mode and style. It may also demonstrate the validity or weakness of a tradition. Since I am proceeding to discuss the good uses of a figurative technique it is perhaps necessary to make this restatement of the assumption which underlies the explanations of the first chapter. I am not assuming that all of the periphrases which occur in pastoral poetry indicate lack of knowledge of a prevailing poetic and scholarly tradition, or that all these periphrases are ineffective, or even that they make it difficult for the poet in question to come into contact with the permanent and fundamentally appealing pastoral themes. Even if the low style is abandoned, and periphrases abound, the poet may lull with melody and delight with mythology, as Greene and the colorful and conventional among the Arcadians do. The themes may be soothingly present amidst the gingerbread. Or the poet may enter the still not unpleasant world of an artificial pastoral which by exaggerating and codifying the pastoral paraphernalia creates a setting that establishes rules of its own, rules well recognized by writers at least from Spenser's Astrophel to Drayton's Muses Elizium. Those writers who follow the patterns of Theocritus are generally free from this kind of conventionality. John Arthos reminds us1 that 1 John Arthos, The Language of Natural Description in Eighteenth Century Poetry (Ann Arbor, 1949), p. 70.



realistic observation, even a highly particularized observation, is a characteristic of the Idylls. Theocritus' English followers are free of the Italianate conventions at least to the extent that objects in nature are frequently matters of daily observation and practical use, not the crystal fountains of luxurious report. Thus there is much less opportunity here than among those who claim Vergil for a master for the kind of conventional treatment of nature or man which encourages periphrase. Moreover, even the more imaginative turns of word substitution would be discouraged by an interest in the particulars of observable reality or by the emotions of a particular man. For the shepherd who expresses the emotions is a shepherd first and a poet second, if he is a poet at all. Theocritus' Idylls are the direct expressions of an actuality rather than situations made up to represent an actuality; hence their vocabulary is not likely to bring thought any closer to full expression by finding equivalents for the real names of real objects. But even with this support, drawn from a more modern critical feeling, of the classic pronouncement for simplicity in pastoral language, the point to be made in the chapter is not that periphrasis is out of place and ineffective in good pastoral. And it is not to show that the mode, so far as it existed in a sort of thematic essence, is destroyed by the use of periphrase. Whatever the use of periphrase in an inappropriate area may have done in its later effects, it does not destroy late sixteenth and early seventeenthcentury pastoral poetry. On the contrary, as we have noticed in Englands Helicon, Bartholomew Yong is less interesting and less vivid than the average writer partly for the lack of it. Actually, periphrasis may increase, from either a classical or a twentiethcentury viewpoint, the thematic or narrative or informative impact of the pastoral poetry. A transitional question perhaps remains. Does the use of periphrasis immediately remove a poem from the category of the real to that of the artificial? We have assumed, as any Renaissance reader would, that not all that is obviously artifice is obviously bad, but we have not determined the degree of "right artifice", which conceals artifice. What is the step beyond which good poetry cannot pass in ad-



mitting both the direct representation of emotion in the shepherdlover's "If I saw my good dog greeved . . . " and the indirect expressions of a created pastoral world of gods and goddesses, sympathetic trees and sheep? Does the suggestion of the unlikely environment, supported by an unlikely language, immediately demonstrate that the shepherd has left the boundaries of his field and become a member of the translucent Elysiums of Drayton or Roydon, where "the skie, like glasse of watchet hew, / Reflected Phoebus golden haire"? The answer to this question is again, no. Periphrasis may be used by a skillful poet for many purposes, sometimes with the effect, as in Roydon's "Lament for Astrophil" and in Spenser's "Astrophel", of creating a very unreal pastoral setting. Sometimes, however, it effects only a slight change of mood or approach, as the close reader of the Shepheards Calendar can attest. Periphrasis and related forms of word substitution may, in the Shepheardes Calendar, be so closely interwoven with a satiric allegory or with a shepherd's announcement of his pastoral learning and duties, that the periphrastic coin is accepted as a part of the low style or of the rough style of satiric allegory. In addition, the periphrase may be used in a pastoral setting in full accord with the narrowest classical rulings, in order to characterize individuals by their language. Greene's Sephestia evaluates her lover Melicertus by his language; and though here the romance elements have already outrun the pastoral, the language continually plays around or alludes to the distinctions of the three styles. Sidney gives a more orderly, less flamboyant example of the use of periphrasis to characterize the speaker or writer and to indicate his social or intellectual status. Both Arcadias are inhabited partly by aristocrats in disguise or retirement, so that the effect of realism is destroyed by the fundamental conception of both tales; but the attempt to show something of a reality of speech habits is recognizable in Sidney, if not in Greene.




1. Sir Philip Sidney: Periphrase in Arcadia In the prose and in the poetry of both romances, views of a rhetorical decorum similar to those of Puttenham, in the fullness of their development, moderate the ornamental influences of Lyly. Sidney cannot often be caught using ornament for the sake of ornament. Greene has passed his most flamboyant period of Euphuistic imitation by the time of his pastoral romances Pandosto (1588) and Menaphon (1589).2 And although his use of a simpler language may be attributed to a disregard of rhetorical conventions, as his admirer Nashe asserts, evidences of system are still apparent. The elaborate and ornamental diction, a Euphuistic "high style", is the speech of both Greene and Sidney as narrators; whereas a plain or a ludicrous ornamental diction appears when the author or the aristocrat is replaced by the plebeian. With Sidney particularly, the rhetoric demonstrates a carefully controlled system, with a tendency to reach toward the real through the typical. Sidney's own comments show a sort of controlled inconsistency when they are compared with his practice. It is clear from his arguments in "The Defence of Poesie" that Sidney is not, theoretically at least, a defender of elaborate speech.3 Hoskins' editor H. H. Hudson informs us, however, that the Arcadia was "highstiled Arcady" to Sidney's contemporary Joseph Hall.4 Sidney himself deplores the keeping of fine phrases and figures ready to hand in notebooks, and its result - the disguise of the "honyflowing Matrone Eloquence ... in a Courtisanlike painted affectation" (Works, III, 42). He suggests control of such spasms of 1

James Winny, The Descent of Euphues (Cambridge, Mass., 1957). Winny attributes the change to Greene's native aptitude for the vernacular, as evidenced in the succeeding cony-catching pamphlets. 3 Sir Philip Sidney, "The Defence of Poesie", in The Complete Works, ed. Albert Feuillerat (Cambridge, England, 1922-26), III, 42, 43. Citations from Sidney in my text are from this edition, with the exception of the brief poems discussed in connection with Englands Helicon. 4 From his Virgidemiarum, VI, i, 257, quoted in John Hoskins, Directions for Speech and Style, ed. H. H. Hudson ( = Princeton Studies in English, No. 12) (Princeton, 1935), p. xvii.



wit in several ways. One suggestion is that the use of figures may be related to feeling. Unlike the Elizabethan notebookkeepers, their hero Tully, "enflamed with a well grounded rage ... would have his words (as it were) double out of his mouth, and so do that artificially, which we see men in choller do naturally" (III, 42). Figures should be used for eloquence' sake, but there is a way of use of which the foundation is, for Sidney, "nature". High-styled Sidney, the translator of the first two books of Aristotle's rhetoric,5 had adapted some consistent principles from his source, and can be found to recommend that art should be concealed rather than exploited (III, 43). In Sidney's practice, one finds that the concealment of art may mean the omission of many Euphuistic contrivances, but that it does not mean the regular omission of mythological allusion, paronomasia, antonomasia, and periphrasis. The highly figured style of Sidney as narrator appears frequently in description and in analysis of motive. Sensuous description, particularly an enumeration of womanly beauties, is likely to be periphrastic, as are similar descriptions in earlier poetry. This form of description is, however, a separate poetic convention which has little to do with the prescriptions of a style suitable to character or station or purpose. But in spite of these ornaments, a control of the use of figurative language is provided by Sidney's acceptance of the system of the three styles. The three styles keep Sidney's figurative imagination under some control in several ways. One of the most easily recognizable is that he characterizes individuals by their use of language. Second, in spite of his critically self-justified mixing of modes, it is not difficult to see that he distinguishes the traditionally simple pastoral mode from his other styles. The distinction is particularly clear in the poetry of the Arcadia, where his language is more free from habitual complication and the ornaments characteristic of prose. The "poore pipe" of the pastoral may here be defended through the appeal of its themes, as E. K. Chambers has defended it, and as Sidney did, for the verses show great variety both of theme and style. Style is skilfully adapted to theme. Low burlesque, * H. H. Hudson, ed., Hoskins's Directions...,

p. v.



satire, and a simple style of love poetry are all adapted to the pastoral scene. Sidney's only lack in varieties of the pastoral mode seems to occur in the area which he himself stresses, the kind of pastoral song which reflects "whole considerations of wrongdoing and patience" (Works, III, 22). The motif which comes closest to a kind of religious utterance as a response to worldly disorders is lacking perhaps because of Sidney's aristocratic preoccupations. His common people are jovial or rebellious rather than serious or long-suffering. The mad youngsters Nico and Pas, "both indeed lads to climb any tree in the world" (I, 2, 344), represent a base style and jocose attitudes when they take part in the shepherds' songfests at the end of each book. Their phrasing is colloquial - "And are you there old Pas?" It nevertheless contains the sort of word substitution which may pass as idiomatic or as humorous affectation in common speech. In the word-battle which they maintain through several pages, among the conventional accusations of thievery, stupidity, and bad voice, the mutual compliments, the extravagant praises of the beloved, there occurs one expression of the mythological periphrase - a reference to "Apollos golden carre". Even here the figure of the sun's chariot is put to use as a means of transportation, so that the phrase rather names a mythological object than substitutes the object for a real thing for the sake of ornament. The young shepherds' competitive descriptions of Leuca and Cosma depend upon the conventional objects of comparison - cherries, roses, lilies. The style of the song contest does not lack ornaments of image and allusion, but these never go much beyond the pattern given for ornament in the song contests of Theocritus. In the pastoral tale upon another favorite theme, the jealous husband, with which Nico ornaments the marriage feast of Lalus and Kala, periphrasis plays an interesting but unelevated part. "The silly Innocent", the wife who learns to look about because of the husband's suspicion that she already does, begins to "gess there was some sweete, / In that which hee so fearde that shee shoulde meete."e So inoffensive and appropriate a circumlocution would 6

Italics mine.



hardly be thought of as avoidance of a more succinct expression except for the repetition of similar constructions such as "that whereto he feared she was inclined", and "the thing hee moste did feare". Finally the husband, thoroughly deceived and recently departed, receives "the blow that never smarted". Or, as Nico proses the matter, has his head decked with "Acteon's ornament".' Periphrase clearly has its part in the low style; and although we can judge from the delicacy of Sidney's somewhat periphrastic comedy that the low is only moderately low, this kind of adaptation is not destructive of stylistic barriers. It is rather a demonstration of the freedom of stylistic judgment which a skilled writer may exercise without destroying the principles of his profession. In the songs of Lalus and Dorus, Klaius and Strephon, and other more sedate shepherds, Sidney seems to dwell in the middle style, the appropriate language of love. Lalus give us assurance that he understands these matters in a song contest more serious and more ornamented than that of Nico and Pas: "No style is held for base where Love well named is And plaine speach oft, then quaint phrase, better framed is" (I, 127, vs. 4, 6). With this persuasion to song, Lalus moves Dorus to the expressions of love which befit an Arcadian shepherd or a disguised prince. Little periphrasis is used: Lalus reports that his sire has told him he is not fit to be a lover - "Thou art no souldier fitte for Cupids garrison" (v. 51); and Dorus describes the fainting fit of his beloved Pamela - "I saw with dread oppressed / Her whom I dread; so that with prostrate lying / Her length the earth in Loves chiefe clothing dressed" (vs. 85-87). There are other examples of metaphorical indirectness, but these are the two detailed periphrases in a poem five pages long. In the sestina "You Goteheard Gods, that love the grassie mountaines" (I, 141), which Strephon and Klaius sing, the only periphrase is "her two sunnes" instead of eyes. Though periphrasis is scant, there are other figures. Figures of repetition are frequent. A figure which seems to correspond to the mixed allegory of earlier verse, which Puttenham has described, is 7 In the section called "The Thirde Eclogues", Original Version of the Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia, in Works, IV (London, 1926), pp. 233-237.



important in parts of Lalus and Dorus's eclogue. Such phrases as "dungeon of my minde", "armour of my heart", "seeds of woe", "small birds of thoughts orethrowne" (all metaphorical representations of an emotion or thought) are used frequently, but not consistently enough to correspond to the allegorical technique of the Petrarchan war of the passions. This figure is notable, however, for the quality of passion or intelligence which it may express, especially if the phrase chosen is not one already codified as poetic diction. There are also examples of epitheton, a figure closely related to periphrasis. Like periphrase, it is a descriptive amplifier, and it names objects by qualities attributed to the object. The object, unlike the periphrased object, is already identified. These figures, since they are not used extravagantly, maintain the level of style suggested for the matter. The mean style, as Puttenham says (p. 152), is one of "smothnesse and pleasant moderation". Like the style appropriate to matters of state, it must make a right use of figures or the story will turn into "an ale-house tale" (p. 139). As for the high style, although Sidney has perhaps not intentionally made a place for it among the eclogues of his shepherds, several examples of an elevated diction occur in the eclogues at the end of Book IV, among the shepherds' laments for the king, Basilius. One of these, a rhyming sestina (II, 143), is mostly composed of periphrastic descriptions of the lamented ruler. These laments are the productions of ideal (but not unemployed) shepherds "whose hyest ambition was in keeping themselves up in goodness" (IV, 306). In these eclogues, the setting is the Arcadia of a Golden Age inhabited by shepherds with "quyet hartes". As they bemoan to their flocks their impending exile from Arcadia, they refer to Basilius by means of the periphrases "Arcadias gemme the noblest childe of nature", "the shepheard hie, / Who most the silly shepheards pipe did pryse", and many others. (IV, 321-325). These figures represent an organized use of the system of the three styles. If there is apparent contradiction in making shepherds use this figure within their dialogues, it is partly explained by viewing the caste of the person speaking as of less importance in determining style than the matter spoken - a reasonable enough assumption, granted that the speakers are the versatile Arcadians.



The choice of style is more obviously a conventional one than Sidney usually makes, for it is based upon the social conception of the high style as the language of ornate respect. This is not precisely the same principle as Puttenham's allowance for the control of style by matter. In the Book III eclogues pastoral narrative displayed a base style, suited to the matter, and unimpeded by elaborate figures. In the Book I eclogues, the love poems displayed a mean style. The relationship of mode to style in all these situations, though it varies, remains clear. A part of Sidney's acceptance of mode seems, however, to be modified by personal characteristics. The real residence of ornamented style is in the mouth of the author himself. In his own voice he is high-styled and periphrastic whether the occasion is love, labor, or combat. But since my topic is the poetry, not the prose, and since discussion of Sidney's style in the prose narrative is necessary only to suggest the limits of Sidney's practice of decorum, my comments will be tentative and brief. The pastoral romance of Arcadia is too much a romance to give a great deal of evidence of pastoral speech, and it is too much a chivalrous action and a political and moral commentary to give consistent evidence of a resolution of pastoral attitudes. Sidney's pronouncement that what is good singly must also be good intermingled may be true, but it is also true that the single elements may cease to be. Euphuism rather than decorum prevails; but the ornate style has been refined by a new individuality. The intermixture of modes increases the individual qualities of Sidney's diction rather than the conventional or the decorous. Somewhere between the extremes lies a sound relationship of the brilliance of individual effort to the succinctness which a tradition of literary form supplies. The question of Sidney's position cannot be settled here, but it will be worthwhile to point out a few characteristic uses of periphrasis in the prose. These periphrases may be framed in a variety of syntactical and imaginative constructions. Sidney may use the more commonly recognized epithet and noun substitution, or he may use an elaborate phrase as substitution for a simply stated action. In prose, instead of giving a wound, Zelmane gives (his, her) adversary "a sharpe



visitation to his right side" (I, 519). With Hoskins, Sidney's admirer, we can see the intention to amaze by ingenuity in such examples as these: for the action of decapitation, the verbal substitutions : "heads disinherited of their natural seigniories" "to divorce the fair marriage of the head and the body"8 These substitutions are controlled less by the patterns of decorous style than by the intention to amaze and by Sidney's individual interest in the workings of state and society. And in such examples one can also see the more laudable purpose which Hoskins assigns to the figure of metaphor, that it "enricheth our knowledge with two things at once, with the truth and with similitude". These examples do not demonstrate periphrasis in a conventional form. In spite of their relationship to the Euphuism of preceding decades, these are examples of thought - thought which is submitted to wit rather than to either personal emotion or convention. "For old and young malcontents, he saith [says Hoskins] such whom youthful age or youthful minds had filled with unlimited desires" (p. 47). There is no room in Sidney's pastoral vision for sympathetic amendment of the wrongs of a discontented rabble. The substitution reflects an attitude held in agreement with Spenser and no doubt many others of his time. But whatever the encroachments of political reality upon Arcadian speech, Sidney remains an ornate speaker who can think in periphrasis, not merely an ornamenter who can be unfavorably contrasted to Lyly.9 Ben Jonson himself seems a bit beside judgment when he asserts to Drummond "that Sidney did not keep a decorum in making everyone speak as well as himself".10 Jonson here seems to dis8

Quoted by Hoskins, Hudson ed., p. 8. • William G. Crane, Wit and Rhetoric in the Renaissance (— Columbia University Studies in English, No. 129) (New York, 1937), p. 107. Crane says "The Arcadia is profusely ornamented with tropes and with those figures, common to the romances, which attempt to arouse the feelings, whereas there are very few figures of the type upon which John Lyly mainly depended, those derived from the processes of dialectical investigation and directed to the reason." 10 "Conversations with Drummond", (1619). In Ben Jonson, ed. C. H. Herford and Percy Simpson (Oxford, 1925), I, 132.



regard the several varieties of shepherds in Arcadia, and their distinct ways of speaking. Indeed, however inspired the best of his shepherds have been, Sidney's figurative tongue has outdone them all. No one is tongue-tied, but the various voices can be distinguished. Joseph Hall's phrase "high-styled Arcady" merely points out the predominant vein of expression. Although the practice of decorum is evident, Sidney has apparently influenced succeeding generations to speak more ambitiously. With Michael Drayton, the verbal cannon invade the field: Sheapheard, why creepe we in this lowly vaine as though our store no better us affoords? and in this season, when the stirring swain makes the wyde fields sound with great thundring words ... (vs. 1-4)11 This is Motto's preparation for a more heroic theme in the Fourth Eclogue (perhaps in imitation of Virgil's Fourth). It reminds us that even the lowly pastoral might include elevated matter, and that some writers and critics continued to approve this inclusion. Edmund Spenser, the almost universally recognized patron saint, attendant spirit, and shepherd's god of pastoral poetry, is one of these. Drayton's Motto grasps at a situation which traditionally justifies the use of a loftier style. Spenser, however, does not reach. Except in the October eclogue, a lament for the state of poetry, he conveys his loftier thoughts by means of dialect, legend or folk tale, and allegory. And he receives his reward. Neither Drayton, the admirer and imitator of Spenser, nor Sidney, his patron and friend, ever reaches the point at which he can challenge Spenser's reputation with students of rhetoric and poetic. 2. Edmund Spenser: Periphrase at the Service of Decorum in the Eclogues Modern critical authority almost invariably directs us to the view that Spenser's poetic and rhetorical practice is impeccable. W. W. Greg's apparent preference for Drayton's "freer and more spon11

"The fourth Eglog", in Poemes, Lyrick and Pastorall (= Spenser Society, New Series, No. 4) (Manchester, 1891), p. 51.



taneous vein" in the Muses Elizium is, I think, unjustified and is certainly untypical. Douglas Bush comments that Spenser was "working in the light of the best critical opinion of his age". 13 Sidney and Gabriel Harvey, both close enough in their influence to have determined the nature of Spenser's output, seem only to have afforded him the bases of its development. What Spenser employs of critical principle is grounded in as thorough an understanding of the relationships of language, matter, and character as is the organized system of Puttenham. For Bush, "Spenser rather than Ben Jonson is the first modern English poet in whom critical theory supports and controls imaginative expression".14 Spenser's contemporaries expressed their approval of stylistic precision more specifically. Their disapproval of those who did not practice their art with the restraint Spenser used makes us understand the grounds for the unanimous approval of Spenser. Puttenham more persistently than others insists that those who do not show a clear understanding of decorum "do utterly disgrace their poesie and shew themselves nothing skilfull in their arte", for decorum, or decency, "is the chiefe praise of any writer".16 Nashe's attitudes are less consistent, but similar. He seems about equally ready to assault the "mechanicall mate" for resounding with periphrase and to praise Greene for doing the same thing on a somewhat higher level, for Greene is "the man, whose extemporall vaine in anie humor, will excell our greatest Artmasters deliberate thoughts; whose invention quicker than his eye, will challenge the proudest Rethoritian, to the contention of like perfection, with like expedition".16 Yet in spite of this preference for Greene's freedom of wit and fancy, he makes complimentary reference to Spenser as the proper representative of English wit at the "tutchstone of Arte". 1 ' George Whetstone, insistent like the others 12

W. W. Greg, Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (London, 1906), p. 106. Mythology and the Renaissance Tradition in English Poetry (Minneapolis, 1932), p. 87. 14 Ibid. 15 George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie, ed. Gladys Doidge Willock and Alice Walker (Cambridge, 1936), p. 149. 16 Robert Greene, Preface To the Gentleman Students, Menaphon and A Margarite of America, ed. G. Β. Harrison (Oxford, 1927), p. 5. 17 Ibid., p. 16. 13



about the selection of a proper level of diction, complains of the "grose Indecorum" of making crows speak like nightingales, or giving "affected speeche" to a "Clowne". 18 Upon Spenser's own practice, even the early comment is frequent and complimentary. Nashe, Sidney, and Puttenham are among those who commend his efforts. Puttenham's commendation is a grouping with those experts in the pastoral, Sir Philip Sidney and Master Challoner. 19 But Nashe's comment in 1589 points specifically to Spenser's prominence in critical acumen, along with his skill in handling "deep conceit". Ε. K. has, of course, only praise for the stylistic consistency of Spenser's eclogues, "so base for the matter and homely for the manner". The praise in E. K.'s letter to Harvey, 20 which introduces the Calendar to the public, is very high, and promises fame without reserve to "Immerito", as yet unknown and unregarded. His praise for "pastoral rudeness, his morali wisenesse, his dewe observing of Decorum every where, in personages, in seasons, in matter, in speach, and generally in al seemely simplycitie of handeling his matter and framing his words" names the essential relationship between Spenser and his critical tradition. And although E. K. professes not to know whether Spenser's archaic language is a consequence of exposure to Chaucer or a conscious choice of rudeness for the sake of decorum, it is not difficult to judge from Spenser's own remarks which of the two is more the basis of his poetic practice. In spite of his professed doubts, E. K. does not hesitate to address a plea for defence of the poet to Harvey, certainly a thoroughly grounded and thoroughly conscious rhetorician. His claims for Spenser are ones which just such a critic could allow. E. K. is moreover very awake to the involvement of matters of knowledge in the maintenance of decorum in the pastoral; he is not merely concerned with the suitability of words. Spenser's fixing 18 Dedication to Promos and Cassandra (1587), in Elizabethan Critical Essays, ed. G. Gregory Smith (London, 1904), I, 60. " Puttenham, p. 63. The Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser, ed. J. C. Smith and E. de Selincourt (Oxford, 1912), pp. 416-417. All references within the text to Spenser's poetry are based upon this edition.



upon January as the first month of the year is defended by appeal to the unlikelihood of a shepherd's knowing that the Egyptians and Romans began their years, respectively, with September and March. Such trivialities of critical justification gain more meaning as one reads again and again the comment that a shepherd has spoken too wisely or too foolishly. With Spenser and pastoral writers generally, until the intrusion of the lighter verses of Prior and the Restoration wits, the consequent limitations of style and matter remain clear enough to keep the mode active and to inspire production. Conscious as he is of the problems of decorous writing, Ε. K. supplies a number of explanations to his readers of the poet's occasional use of periphrasis or antonomasia. He is concerned, in his explanations, to show that many of these uses of figure do not destroy the stylistic chastity of the eclogues, but rather help to maintain it. Spenser's shepherds refer periphrastically to Elizabeth as "fayre Elisa", or to Leicester as "the worthy whom she loveth best", for shepherds are supposed not to have knowledge of names in the upper levels of society. The shepherd's knowledge of mythology, epic poetry, and the Bible must be considered limited also: in the July eclogue (p. 446), Helen of Troy is a "lasse" and Paris "thilk shephearde ... whom Ida hyll dyd beare" and E. K. supplies a full explanation of the references; the antonomasia "the soveraigne of the seas" intrudes upon a passage in the February eclogue (p. 424) where Thenot makes no other periphrastic reference to nature or nature's government - sea is sea, spring is spring, winter is "breme winter" - and the other vocabulary of the passage clearly suggests local custom and adage. E. K. explains here that the reference is to Neptune, but he does not add his usual justification that a shepherd would not know the name although he recognizes the rulership. Indeed, even Spenser's shepherds have tongues from which simple classical references rather frequently roll. The footnote which best demonstrates the method of E. K.'s Elizabethan justifications and explanations follows the lines: This [Moses] had a brother, (his name I knewe) the first of all his cote,



A shepheard trewe, yet not so true [sic] as he that earst I hote.

{July, vs. 161-164)

The explanation is: "he meaneth Aaron: whose name for more Decorum, the shephearde sayth he hath forgot, lest his remembraunce and skill in antiquities of holy writ should seeme to exceede the meaneness of the Person" (p. 447). These notes are all the more interesting as they chance to reflect the sympathetic critic's need to justify inconsistencies which may occur through license or mere chance in the best of writing; and as they reflect what part of the currency of periphrastic language may pass unnoticed and what seems to need justification. In The Shepheardes Calendar, the substitution of "Phoebus" or "Titan" for "sun" passes several times without apology. Ε. K. explains the references, and feels it necessary to tell his readers that "stouping Phebus", at the end of the March eclogue, "Is a Periphrasis of the sunne setting". The reference may have to be explained to the readers, but it is evidently clear enough to Spenser's shepherds. Spenser's own comments, like E. K.'s, show his strong consciousness of the critical tradition which he is attempting to satisfy. They also show that his critical friends had reason for their admiration of Spenserian decorum. His orderly approaches to matter and style need no other advertisement than his practice ; however, the direct expression of the opinions of a major poet usually contains a good deal of salt as well as sustenance. His dignified condemnation of the pursuit of the Muse by the uneducated parallels Nashe's undignified basting of mechanics and apprentices who pluck their periphrases from the inkhorn. Formerly, says Spenser, only Princes and high Priests practised poetry but now they suffer her prophaned for to bee Of the base vulgar, that with hands uncleane Dares to pollute her hidden mysterie. ( Tears of the Muses, vs. 566-68) The divine Polyhymnia, the muse at the moment lamenting, takes more seriously than Drayton's " M o t t o " does the intrusion into poetry of "Heapes of huge words uphoorded hideously, / With horrid sound though having little sence" (vs. 553-54). Number and measure "Have now quite lost their naturall delight" since



they have been "let to runne at libertie / By those which have no skill to rule them right" (vs. 552, 550-551). Thalia, the muse of comedy and pastoral, laments the pleasant spirit lost with the death of Willy, a spirit now shamelessly pursued "Without regard, or due Decorum kept" since "Each idle wit at will presumes to make, / And doth the Learneds taske upon him take" (vs. 214216). The verses of The Shepheardes Calendar are sent off to the public with the parental farewell "Goe but a lowly gate emongste the meaner sorte" (p. 467). Though we know that they actually set off in good critical company, at least they do not "presume to Parnasse hyll", as Colin explains to Hobbinoll {June, v. 70) in a partial rejection of Harvey's recommendation of Italian and classical masters.21 As is made clear by the comments of Spenser himself, his fixed purpose in the selection of words, figures and techniques, is the maintenance of decorum. As interpreted by Ε. K., the maintenance of decorum in The Shepheardes Calendar means the maintenance of a relation between the real pastoral situation and the poetic one - in other words, Ε. K. presents Spenser as attentive to decorum, and decorum, where its particulars are explained by Ε. K., represents the ways a real shepherd might think and act. Yet it would be wrong, since such words as realism have the unlimited faculty of changeable suggestion, to say that Spenser's aim is realism. He is not, in the eclogues, entering the imaginary world of the pastoral elegies Astrophel or Daphnaida, which allow an elevated diction and make elaborate use of allegory, periphrasis, anaphora, and other figures. He is not writing in the piscatorial-pastoral style of Colin Clouts Come Home Again. There is some attempt in this poem to remind us of the simple thought and simple speech of the retired and humble, but the involved topicality of this pastoral soon destroys any illusions of the reader that the poem was intended to be written in the base style, or that any of its allegorical language is used in the attempt to present complication more simply. But in The Shepheardes Calender, although Spenser gives some cause to his contemporaries to call his speakers "Learned Shepherds", these shepherds speak 11

De Selincourt, Works of Spenser, p. xviii.



in surroundings related to the purpose of their speech, not in a composite world of Arcadia-court, Arcadia-university, or Arcadiacountry estate. Both of Spenser's pastoral worlds may be golden, but they are as unlike as the Bower of Bliss and the Garden of Adonis. The line between is distinctly drawn for Spenser, although it may not seem so clear to us today. It is demonstrated within the eclogues themselves, in distinctions of style which are made between the speeches of the shepherds and the songs which they sing. The "shepherds' talk", their interchange of conversation, may be as colloquial in word order as it is archaic in word selection; witness the line in the opening of the September eclogue which gave Pope so excellent a chance for the satire of Guardian # 4 0 : Diggon Davie, I bid her godday: Or Diggon her is, or I missaye. The example is perhaps a rather imaginative selection from the common language of men; Pope, tongue in cheek, says it is an example of "the simplicity" natural to Wales;22 or perhaps it is closer to Jonson's accusation, "no language", than to actual dialectical forms. But whatever else it may be, it is an adaptation of coarse and simple language to the rhythm of poetry. The conversational part of the eclogues follows this pattern, somewhat less obtrusively than in the lines above. Like Sidney's shepherds, Nico and Pas, but with more off-hand language and less off-hand purpose, Spenser's Piers and Palinodie use the colloquial terms of insult when they disagree: "Truly, Piers, thou art beside thy wit, / Furthest fro the marke, weening it to hit ..." {Maye, vs. 306-307). And Cuddie, the stubborn representative of the love of youthful pleasures, interrupts old Thenot's tale of the Oak and the Briar with: Now I pray thee shepheard, tel it not forth: Here is a long tale, and little worth. So longe have I listened to thy speche, That graffed to the ground is my breche: My hartblood is wel nigh frorne I feele, And my galage growne fast to my heele: (February, vs. 239-244) "

Guardian No. 40, Monday, April 27 [1713], (London, [n. d.]), p. 167.



The attempts of Ambrose Philips in the eighteenth century to follow the tradition of Spenser and Theocritus fall very fiat in comparison, partly from lack of the ability to characterize by language, in which Spenser excells, and partly from lack of unified thought. Philip's understanding of the eclogue tradition will be clarified by the comparison of his colloquial style with that of Spenser. Spenser gives the opportunity to distinguish a usual device from a static and codified one. When, in February, the shepherds conclude their talk by starting, as usual, on the homeward way, Cuddie tells Thenot, But little ease of thy lewd tale I tasted. Hye thee home shepheard, the day is nigh wasted. (vs. 244, 245) The implied characterization of both Cuddie and Thenot lifts these lines beyond the typical and conventional, although they consistently follow the pattern in which one shepherd announces the time of day or the kind of weather in order to provide a conclusion within the terms and conditions of pastoral existence. These references in Spenser, in keeping with the direct references of Vergil and Theocritus, are rarely periphrastic, and they rarely contain mythological allusions. The January eclogue concludes with a reference to "welked Phebus" and his chariot and to the black mantle of Night; the March dialogue, which contains Spenser's adaptation of Theocritus' tale of the hunting of Cupid (Notes, E. K., p. 430), and might thus provoke a hive of allusions, uses them infrequently. It does end with the periphrase "Stouping Phebus steepes his face" for the sun setting, which Ε. K. carefully explains to us. Of the twelve eclogues these provide the two exceptions to Spenser's habitual direct wording in the conclusions. The May and June eclogues use personifications dependent upon earlier mythological constructions. Piers, in Maye, uses a concealed metaphor: But now the bright Sunne gynneth to dismount... "Dismount" is a word which seems to E. K. to demand definition, but he does not tell us that the word choice is derived from the



metaphor of Phoebus and the chariot. Hobbinol, in June, personifies night. Then ryse ye blessed flocks, and home apace, Least night with stealing steppes do you forsloe. Otherwise, in conclusions night is night, day is day, and sun is sun. In examining the frequency of occurence of periphrasis here one begins to see clearly the use which Spenser makes of the patterns of language. Just as Milton's shepherd in the pastoral elegy Lycidas, in a period when trite mythological reference is much more fully discredited, departs with aplomb, with significance, and without periphrasis, so, most frequently, do Spenser's, at the height of a general acceptance of ornate language. And it is no less helpful in evaluating Spenser's practice to note that his linguistic balance is maintained in spite of the strong influence upon the poet of the Pléiade, particularly du Bellay, and perhaps the later and still more periphrastic Bartas. The nature of du Bellay's influence may partly be judged by the ease with which periphrases may be extracted from the text of Spenser's translation of du Bellay's Ruines of Rome, for instance, in the long periphrasis for Rome in stanza 4 (p. 509)23 which contains several single word substitutions; or the briefer examples "the Berecynthian Goddess" for Cybele; "that brave sonne of Aeson" for Jason; "her mothers bosome" for earth, and so forth. 24 On the other hand, Marot's Complaincte IV, de Madame Loyse de Savoye, Mere du Roy (1531),25 the basis of Spenser's November eclogue, uses the same directness of reference to most natural objects as does Spenser himself. Although Spenser's language is more colloquial, it is no more free of periphrasis than is Marot's language. Both lament elevated ladies in pastoral situations, and while Spenser's lady is more effectively presented as a country rather than a court dignitary, neither lament is offensively ornamental. *> De Selincourt. The Substitutions are: "Thetis" for Ocean, or West; "Morning" for East or eastern countries. 24 "DuBellay described the art of periphrasis in 1549 with a fullness of detail which suggests that he believed himself to be inaugurating a fashion new in France. It is more graceful, he says, to write "the thundering father" for Jupiter, "the virgin huntress" for Diana..." Bush, p. 93. 86 Oeuvres Complètes de Clément Marot, ed. Abel Grenier, Vol. I (Paris, [η. d.]), p. 546.



The openings of the eclogues perhaps also deserve separate comment. Here one might expect to meet the sort of periphrasis which is formally a part of the pastoral establishment of season of year or time of day. But in the Spenser eclogues, only three of these periphrastic allusions occur at or near the beginning of the eclogue: the typical astronomical periphrasis of the November eclogue ; ae a casual reference to "thys long lingring Phebus race" (v. 3) in the October eclogue; and a detailed reference in lines 17-24 of the July eclogue to the passing of the sun at zenith in August: And now the Sonne hath reared up his fyriefooted teme, Making his way betweene the Cuppe, and golden Diademe: The rampant Lyon hunts he fast, with Dogge of noysome breath, Whose balefull barkking brings in hast pyne, plagues, and dreery death. Even in the first of these references, the purpose of establishing a time is subordinated to the purpose of establishing a situation in which the subject of the particular eclogue may be introduced: the November eclogue introduces us to a season which "nis the time of merimake" in which Colin, unwilling to sing, may at last be persuaded to lament Dido; Piers' use of the phrase "long lingring Phoebus race" is a persuasion to Cuddie to help him pass a weary day in which the slow course of the god adds a little to the realization of tedium. The astronomical lore of the noontime periphrasis above is a reinforcement of the theme that the exalted life is dangerous. Examples of introductory or transitional periphrasis drawn from Englands Helicon may be compared with these for their unity of poetic purpose. Spenser habitually makes possible a far more purposeful accounting for his words. 26

But nowe sadde Winter welked hath the day And Phoebus weary of his yerely taske Ystabled hath his steedes in lowlye laye, And taken up his ynne in Fishes haske.

(vs. 13-16)



Although casual periphrasis and antonomasia do occur in the eclogues, they are infrequent enough not to disturb the feeling that a consistent level of style has been maintained. The more detailed astronomical periphrases can be justified as a part of pastoral speech by the argument that detailed astronomical knowledge was a necessary accomplishment of shepherds. Its mythological phrasing is not only common in polite literature but typical of the forms in which the lore of the heavens was circulated,27 so that its inclusion here is hardly an argument for the artificiality of the pastoral setting in the eclogue. Indeed, the lack of such transitional devices in the more formal pastoral elegies such as Spenser's Astrophel is another indication of the usually unrecognized stylistic differences within the pastoral mode. So many different attitudes are possible concerning the placing and intention of the eclogue in a literary scheme that it is difficult to know on what grounds to defend it. Empson insists that the pastoral is an evanescent creation of the aristocrats;28 W. W. Greg doubts that the world of affairs can have either time for or understanding of the pastoral; 29 C. S. Baldwin, apparently in partial agreement with Greg and Empson as to the unworldliness of pastoral, thinks The Shepheardes Calender a deviation from the pastoral tradition. 30 General opinion, like the experts above, often relegates the mode to fairyland without looking. Spenser's contemporaries, if they had made any objection, would have thought these shepherds a little too learned, as Samuel Johnson indicates that he does when the conversation moves from the "studied barbarity" of "Diggon Davie, I bid her goodday" to satirical religious allegory. "Surely", says Johnson, "at the " See the reprint and translation of Kalendrier des Bergers, 1493, under the title The Kalendar and Compost of Shepherds, ed. G. C. Heseltine (London, 1931). English translations, Pynson, 1506; R. Copland, 1518. See especially p. 134: The Golden Cup "in the 13th degree of the said sign [Virgo] toward the part meridional. The which star is of the nature of Venus and of Mercury, and signifieth that they wich be born under the said constellation to know of things worthy and sacred." Compare passage from July, above. *· William Empson, Some Versions of the Pastoral (London, 1950), p. 11. " Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama, p. 421. Charles D. Baldwin, Renaissance Literary Theory and Practice (New York, 1939), pp. 89, 90.



same time that a shepherd learns theology, he may gain some acquaintance with his native language."31 Most of the difference in attitude comes, however, from a failure to distinguish among the forms of pastoral: the relating of style to the matter of love, of satiric comment on low and high affairs, of laments for death and loss in surroundings either high or low. Pope does not fail to claim82 for his own the traditions of both Theocritus and Vergil. His appeals to Vergil are the more frequent. He satirically combats the confining of the pastoral to the peace and joys of pastoral existence. Seriously, grace of language is for him the accepted characteristic of pastoral style, and" simplicity" he represents by the ludicrous banality of his own mock pastoral, "Roger go vetch tha kee [cow]." There is no mention in Guardian 40 of Spenser's more formal and conventional pastoral style, a style quite different from that of Spenser's eclogues. Nor is there any question for the neo-classicist that the English pastoral as represented by Spenser and Philips is a rather ridiculous affair. Yet if Pope had suffered less from the overpraise of Philips' pastorals which appeared in the same volume of the DrydenTonson Miscellany as his own, he might have read certain of Spenser's eclogues more sympathetically. If he had, he would have seen much "downright poetry" (Pope's phrase for his own more mannered style). The language of the October eclogue, the lament for the state of poetry, is smooth and gracious, even where it does not attempt elevation. After the lavish and periphrastic assertion that Cuddie too could rage in rhyme, conditions being favorable ... Let powre in lavish cups and thriftie bitts of meate, For Bacchus fruite is frend to Phebus wise (vs. 105, 106) the descent is abrupt but not unpleasant. As E. K. says, "He seemeth here to be ravished with a Poetical furie. For (if one rightly mark) the numbers rise so ful, and the verse groweth so big, that it seemeth he hath forgot the meanenesse of shepheards 31

The Works of Samuel Johnson, ed. Arthur Murphy (New York, 1895), I, 69. 82 Guardian 40, p. 163. "Mr. Pope has fallen into the same error with Virgil".



state and stile" (p. 459). Cuddie's own remembrance of the shepherd's state serves as a rebuke to his own ambition: But ah my corage cooles ere it be warme, For thy, content us in this humble shade: Where no such troublous tydes han us assayde, Here we our slender pipes may safely charme. Pires And when my Gates [sic] shall han their bellies layd: Cuddie shall have a Kidde to store his farme. (vs. 115-120)

The March eclogue uses the usual archaic words, but through these, and the rhythms possible because of them, achieves a lightness of narrative style as pleasant as the tale which is narrated. Mythological allusion is mixed with more homely metaphor ("A stepdame eke as whott as fyre") (v. 41) and image ("thilke same unhappye Ewe, / Whose clouted legge her hurt doth shewe") (vs. 49, 50). The April eclogue, which introduces the long lyrical praise of Elizabeth, opens with both dialect and grace. Thenot Tell me good Hobbinoll, what garres thee greete? What? hath some Wolfe thy tender Lambes ytorne? Or is thy Bagpype broke, that soundes so sweete? Or art thou of thy loved lasse forlorne? Or bene thine eyes attempred to the yeare, Quenching the gasping furrowes thirst with rayne?

The June eclogue opens with something of the pastoral deliciousness with which Marot opens his lament for Loyse de Savoye, from which Spenser drew the November eclogue. Marot's Thenot speaks below: En ce beau val sont plaisirs excellens, Un cler ruisseau bruyant près de l'umbrage, L'herb à souhait, les ventz non violens, Puis toi, Colin, qui de chanter fais rage.88

Spenser's version for June is more than reminiscent; the pictorial qualities of both descriptions are echoed in the fluency of syllables. 88

Oeuvres Complètes, I, 546.



Hobbinol Lo Colin, here the place, whose pleasaunt syte From other shades hath weand my wandring mynde. Tell me, what wants me here, to worke delyte? The simple ayre, the gentle warbling wynde, So calme, so coole, as no where else I fynde: The grassye ground with daintye Daysies dight... (vs. 1-6) A discontented Pope would find little ground here upon which to rest his criticisms of pastoral. The pastoral introduction is little distorted in syntax or word choice, and wolves (to which Pope also objects, when he finds them in England)84 are mentioned only to indicate their absence. Further in the eclogue, the scene becomes that of the idyl peopled with Muses and resounding with ivory lutes and tambourines. These, according to Hobbinol, are drawn into the scene by Colin's music. Colin objects to this elevation of his skill and returns to a new lament, this time not for his loved lass but for the "God of shepheards, Tityrus" (Chaucer, says E. K.), and a somewhat more local background of allusion. Spenser has other ways of maintaining in his readers the sense of poetic decorum. One of the most important of these is word-substitution, sometimes in the form of substitutions for single words, sometimes as continued substitutions in the form which must properly be called allegory, even though each substituted word or phrase carries a distinct literal meaning. When Spenser's shepheards learned to talk theology, they did learn the use of their native tongue, though perhaps not its neoclassical grammar. Johnson has not wished to recognize their skill partly because he preferred a direct speech to an indirect. The learning in most of the satiric eclogues is carried so lightly upon the double level of pastoral occupation and moral preoccupation that the consciousness of this learning seldom obtrudes. In the Shepherds' Calendar, Spenser uses his shepherds in such a way that through their language we may understand the more serious associations which allegory permits without feeling that an elevated diction is being used. W. W. Greg, the most thorough 34

Guardian 40, p. 163.



of pastoral commentators, notes and accepts, with its precedents in Mantuan and Barclay, this pastoral agility of tongue.35 Anything in Spenser's eclogues that can be called periphrasis or circumlocution is generally related to the allegory of nature as representative of states of mind or growth, or to the allegory of shepherd life as representative of private occupations or social and religious problems. First of all, the substitutions may be made for proper names, as "the worthy whome she loveth best, / That first the white beare to the stake did bring" (that is, Elizabeth's favorite, Leicester) (October, vs. 47, 48). The name Leicester is so voluminously avoided because it is "not likely, that the names of noble princes be known to country clowne" (E. K., p. 458). Or proper names may be substituted for things: "Titan ryseth" (July, v. 59), "Phoebus face" (August, v. 83), "How Phoebe fayles" (December, v. 84), "Dame Cynthias silver ray" (August, v. 89). These are examples of antonomasia, which Renaissance writers seldom bother to distinguish from periphrasis. And in spite of E. K.'s occasional defences, these substitutions may be adventitious. They are sometimes there only because they were usual. They may have little specific purpose but in their own persuasiveness, picturesqueness, or euphony. Here, the exceptions do credit to Spenser's poetic conscience. The address to the moon, "Shewe thy selfe Cynthia with thy silver rayes", in the April eclogue (v. 82) in praise of Elizabeth, calls down a comparison of Cynthia to Eliza; Phoebus, in the same eclogue, when called upon to "thrust out his golden hedde" (v. 73) does it to see Eliza; and the comparisons are tactfully dropped with the concluding substitution, "I will not match her with Latonaes seede." Within the song of praise these ornaments with their obvious purposefulness - do not disturb the pattern of diction but rather make us conscious of its versatility; the songs allow a greater proportion of ornament and of periphrastic reference. They apparently are a product of the poet's labor for delight, and belong not to the common conversation of Arcadia "

Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama, p. 86.



but to the imaginative realm which later overflows into the conversational eclogues of Drayton and Fletcher. These are the simplest of the substitutions; simplest, that is, in their justification or lack of it, according to the critical biases of the Elizabethan period. They are a part of what Douglas Bush, in his discussion of periphrasis in The Faerie Queene, calls "the small change of the neo-classical treasury", 36 of which, he tells us, Spenser has very little. The other groups of substitutions are interesting critically, for their use brings up techniques more characteristic of Spenser than of his literary period or tradition. The use of seasonal symbolism is certainly not new with Spenser, nor is the reference to other duties and occupations by means of pastoral terms new with him. One sees them here, however, at the peak of pastoral form. Spenser's seasonal symbols are expressed in a language comparable to that of the mixed allegory prominent in Petrarch-derived love poetry; his satiric language seems a product of the satiric treatment of church or politics which the eclogues of Mantuan and his English successors Barclay and Barnaby Googe pursue; but the working together of symbol and illustration, manner and purpose, is Spenser's own. Greg, for instance, has remarked37 that both Mantuan and Barclay preceded Spenser in the use of argument between upland and lowland shepherds, but that Spenser, so far as he knew, was the first to use this setting to represent "prelatical pride". Spenser reinforced his debate with traditional symbols the suggestion of the separation of the sheep from the goats (the upland shepherd is a goatherd), a catalogue of Biblical and mythological shepherds which forms a part of the argument, and even an astronomical transition which is intimately related to scene, setting, and argument. The seasonal periphrases or allegorical statements are related to the theme of each eclogue with invariable consistency but much variety in method. The coherence of thought and language is such that none of Spenser's successors has approached it, although some have obviously attempted. Drayton and Philips cannot ae 87

Bush, p. 94. Greg, p. 86.



tighten either their style or their ideas enough to imitate this quality; and Pope's pastorals, although Pope demonstrates as well as announces the seasonal unity of metaphor and theme in his Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter, are too pretty to extend their suggestion very far into the reaches of human emotion. Much of Spenser's representation of the closeness of man and nature takes periphrastic or allegorical form; and in so doing avoids one of the artificialities of the conventional pastoral, the giving of feelings to inanimate objects, or as Ruskin expresses it, the pathetic fallacy. This is a topic to be taken up later, with the misuse of periphrasis and the over-growth of artifice. The pathetic relationship of man and nature effects an expression of the reason-for-being of the pastoral mode, but since its expression in Spenser reflects the traditional and inherent demand without distortion, it is only necessary at the moment to discuss what sort of language is used in the expression of this relationship. It is not an offensively obvious language. Any discussion of particulars will automatically destroy the effect of the scattered references by means of which Spenser achieves both atmosphere and pattern. But such discussion is necessary in order to make the pattern clear enough to be apprehended by a casual or halfinterested reader. It will be difficult to avoid probing the sore point of the pastoral - natural sympathy. Perhaps a limitation should be clearly stated: although Spenser's use of periphrasis and mixed allegory cannot be discussed without suggesting his treatment of the relationship of man and nature, the treatment here will accent words and phrases, not ideas. An apology is necessary for the inclusion of figurative language which would not be called periphrastic by the Elizabethan critics and would not in some cases be called periphrastic by the moderns. The construction of many of the phrases substituted for a reference to "age", "weather", and "season" (among others) does, however, correspond to the narrower definition of periphrasis: that it is a noun and epithet substitution for a single noun, for example, Spenser's substitution for "winter" in the October eclogue: Thilk sollein season. Some of the substitutions are substitutions of single words: for instance, the December eclogue three times



substitutes the word "spring" for "youth" in order to reinforce the seasonal pattern; "harveste" {December, v. 98, 129) or "sommer" (December, vs. 97, 128) may refer to maturity in human life. "Winter" often means "old age", but Spenser usually makes the form of substitution which can with more justice be called periphrastic: "winter sterne" (December, v. 129), "now my yeare drawes to his latter terme {December v. 127). "Stormie stoures" and "sharpe showres" {May, vs. 156, 57) represent, for Piers and Palinode, bad times or conflicts and personal pains or difficulties. Spenser's use of seasons, moods, weather, and age to represent each other interchangeably is in several passages built up to a high poetic level by means of a series of such substitutions. The method allows in many places a rather loose and suggestive reference to literal meanings rather than a substitution that is precise and self-contained. " . . . thilke same looser yeares" {December, v. 37) refers to the poet's youth and provides, without any direct explanation, a basis for the implications of a later stanza. And I, that whilome wont to frame my pype, Unto the shifting of the shepheards foote: Sike follies nowe have gathered as too ripe And cast hem out, as rotten and unsoote. The loser Lasse I cast to please nomore. One if I please, enough is me therefore. {December, vs. 115-120) The succeeding Unes continue to carry out the seasonal allegory in a way which provides moral commentary throughout all the natural description or natural reference of the Shepherds' Calendar. And thus of all my harvest hope I have Nought reaped but a weedye crop of care: Which, when I thought have thresht in swelling sheave, Cockel for corne, and chaffe for barley bare. Soone as the chaffe should in the fan be fynd, All was blowne away of the wavering wynd. {December, vs. 121-126) In such a passage as this each of the natural references achieves its intended moral meaning, but the literal term would have removed the poem from pastoral meditation to blatant didacticism. "Har-



vest hope" means the ambitions or successes which earlier in the poem are suggested by "timely fruite" (104) or "flattering fruite" (106). The "weedye crop of care" is self-explanatory; "thresht in swelling sheave" needs no explanation because it is carried by the established pattern both of Spenser's periphrases and the tradition of association upon which he draws, although the vivid picture of threshing out a sheaf of results, fruits, or successes is far removed from this literal statement. The "wavering wynd" has its own meanings; it maintains the literal statement of farmyard activities, and the seasonal commentary includes the moral as clearly as if one had said "uncertain fortune". The figurative structure here comes closer to what Hoskins called paraphrase, in reference to Sidney's word substitutions, since the substitutions are equivalent in number of words, if not in poetic suggestion. Allegory, however, does frequently use periphrase, and a large number of Spenser's substitutions may be read as periphrase, depending upon what one thinks the precise literal term might have been. The lyrical concluding stanzas of the December eclogue depend strongly upon these associations. Without them the sense of the importance of the farewell to the poet's flock would be lacking, and the reference to winter's bringing timely death would be stagey and without pathos. Periphrasis has a similar use in helping to establish the bases of satire in several eclogues. The seasonal references in the February eclogue are chiefly a part of the story. At the beginning, winter provides a setting for young Cuddie's complaint. Thenot's response immediately turns the complaint to moral purposes: "Must not the world wend in his commun course / From good to badd, and from badde to worse ..." (vs. 11, 12). Throughout the poem, "Age and Winter accord full nie", as Cuddie says; and the of winter winds and chills as representatives of age and trial may occasionally be called periphrastic. However, the allegory is maintained so well, and pastoral details appear so natural a part of the construction that it is difficult to name precisely the literal terms for which these particulars are substitutes. A clearer example of periphrastic treatment is Cuddie's phrase "Now thy seife hast lost both lopp and topp, / Als my budding



braunch thou wouldes cropp" (February, vs. 58, 59). Cuddie's budding branch is of course his young manhood with its youthful requirements and ambitions, so that it is a question whether this periphrasis is not a more direct statement than a literal one would be. These lines and those surrounding supply the structure upon which Spenser builds Thenot's tale of the Oak and the Briar. Metaphor as well as argument so well supports the introduction of the story (as it does in the best tales of Spenser's master "Tityrus") that a few more of the preparatory allusions in Cuddie's speech ought to be quoted. (The italics are mine.) Ah foolish old man, I scorae thy skill That wouldest me, my springing youngth to spil. I deeme, thy braine emperished bee Through rusty elde, that hath rotted thee: But were thy yeares greene, as now bene myne ... (February, vs. 51-54, 59) In the preparation, Spenser has made Cuddie establish himself as the bragging Briar of Thenot's tale, and the old man as the Oak, so that when the conclusion of the unflattering story has been reached, Cuddie can only interrupt his final characterization with annoyance. "Blustring Boreas", the winter wind, stands in this pattern of allegory, allusion, and suggestion as a clear example of what Ε. K. calls "periphrasis" and others "antonomasia". The more inclusive discussion which I have carried on is an attempt to show what the less formal word substitutions are conveying and contributing to imaginative and structural patterns. These are the redeeming members of a kind of figure which has been associated with an inappropriate or excessively ornamented poetic diction. In the May, July, and September eclogues, the base of the satire is perhaps narrower. For several of the characters of these eclogues a topical association is suggested by E. K. : Colin for the author, Hobbinoll for Harvey; and for Roffy, a character out of Marot, 38 there are particular contemporary associations, "But what, I certeinlye know not." 38

E. K., September, p. 455.



The real narrowing, however, is not personally or even politically topical, but topical in the sense that it is concerned with local and contemporary religious attitudes and events. Yet some of Spenser's most skilful poetry is produced here. Instead of the broader comment upon states of life and growth which characterizes those eclogues in which the symbolism of nature plays a large part, the satire which grows out of these dialogues is directed against specific situations within the established church. Still, these situations do not exclude the kind of suggestion which gives a topical approach much meaning at a far later date. For instance, the basic situation, and the base of many of the periphrases of the July eclogue, is that of the conflict between the humble and the ambitious in the church. The conflict takes the figure of argument between the shepherd on the plain and the goatherd on the hill. The debate of the May eclogue, as Ε. K. notes, and as we can see from the attitudes of each party, is put into the form of a Protestant-Catholic conflict. Their interchanges, however, are easily applicable to any conversation concerned with the relaxation of spiritual aims. This allegory seldom expresses itself in strict periphrasis, although the substitutions of "sheep" or "flock" for "congregation", "shepherd" for the literal "priest" or "minister", form the base for all possible wordplays on "charge", "fleece", unfed flocks, wolves. These are the conventional associations of the religious and the pastoral life which Milton's Lycidas has brought into a more classic and less real pastoral setting. The usual style in the May eclogue is a bare and simple narrative in allegory, without much hint of the controversial ideas behind it. This seems to be the style in which classical and medieval critics would have allowed the pastoral writer to reach for higher matters. Piers Those faytours little regarden their charge, While they letting their sheepe runne at large, Passen their time, that should be sparely spent, In lustihede and wanton meryment. Thilke same bene shepeheards for the Devils stedde, That playen, while their flockes be unfedde. Well is it seene, theyr sheepe bene not their owne, That letten them runne at randon [sic] alone. (vs. 39-46)



Piers continues, to make a still more pointed allusion to the practice of absentee spiritual care-taking: But they bene hyred for little pay Of other, that caren as little as they, What fallen the flocke, so they han the fleece, And get all the gayne, paying but a peece.

(vs. 47-50)

The allegory, though detailed, does not leave its pastoral character. As the debate develops, the allegory is occasionally less secure in concealing its references ; it is difficult for us to accept as part of a pretended literal narrative the Wolves who disguise themselves as shepherds. Tho under colour of shepeheards, somewhile There crept in Wolves, ful of fraude and guile, That often devoured their owne sheepe, And often the shepheards, that did hem keepe. (vs. 126-129) Still, the mixture is nothing very startling to our ideas of pastoral decorum. In more difficult situations, when it is necessary to state a basic religious concept such as that of the Last Judgment, the shepherds are equal to their task. The concept remains a part of the allegory through the usual circumlocutory pastoral language: I muse, what account both these will make, The one for the hire, which he doth take, And thother for leaving his Lords taske, When great Pan account of shepeherdes shall aske. (vs. 51-54) It is in such passages as these that one becomes conscious of the standard pattern of antonomasia adopted by Spenser and those after him. God or Christ is always "Pan", or "great Pan", or "the shepheards God". Accordingly, overt discussion of the soul, hell, or redemption is avoided, and when Spenser is devoting his full effort to remaining pastoral in the midst of theology, the soul becomes "that [which] great Pan bought with deare borrow, / To quite it from the blacke bowre of sorrowe" (September, vs. 95-97). Hell and redemption have become a part of the action of the



two-line passage, describing what the false shepherds have "paund" in the "shops of shame" where good name vanishes. The maintaining of the allegory is thus aided by means of periphrase. Ordinarily, as was demonstrated in the May eclogue, the detailed periphrase is not needed. In the September eclogue, the narrative moves forward upon a series of word substitutions such as the wolf (in sheep's clothing), the call of the shepherd, the sheepfold, all of which rather condense the meaning than extend the wordage. This series culminates, as is typical of Spenser, in a tale which complements the discussion - in September, the story of how the deceitful wolf almost killed RofFy's dog Lowder. But Spenser's doctrine is not always so well allegorized. Periphrasis does not help him avoid the use of the words "doctrine" and "faith" in line 107, or the assertion of the false shepherds that they know the highway to heaven and have the devil at command. The conventional associations of the pastoral vocabulary have betrayed the discussion to a more literal level than Spenser customarily chooses. September in consequence is perhaps the least successful of the satires. And Johnson's comment upon Hobbinol's and Diggon Davie's crudeness of dialect is perhaps justified, if through Johnson's blunt phrasing one can see an objection to this contrast between the thoroughness of Spenser's adaptation to local surroundings in the greeting of Diggon Davie, and the betrayal of these surroundings in the occasional failure of the allegory. Through these more particular comments of my last few pages, the customary uses which Spenser makes of periphrase should be evident. His uses are not ones which the strictest classicist, granted an understanding of Spenser's tradition and audience, could object to; he is almost pedantic (and Ε. K. certainly is) in maintaining the level of diction which he thinks belongs to the various topics of his eclogues. This consistency of purpose gives the eclogues the place which they have regularly enjoyed in English literature. It is a high one. The Shepheardes Calender kept pace in the number of editions published with the best known of the Elizabethan miscellanies, with Sidney's Arcadia, and with Greene's Menaphon, and was only seriously surpassed by Lyly's Euphues, among those Elizabethan favorites which have been mentioned



here. Spenser's eclogues cannot be shelved as unpopular highbrow exercises, as it seems to be a present tendency to do. The basis of their appreciation may have been poetic and rhetorical excellence, but it did not make them into unread classics. The poet was a weigher of traditions, and his contemporaries generally understood his purposes. One of the most revealing of remarks, if it is considered as a background for the appreciation of Spenser, is that of William Webbe, upon the techniques of Vergil, Theocritus, Calpurnius, and Mantuan: their language may seem ... rude and homely, as the usuali talke of simple clownes, yet do they indeede utter in the same much pleasaunt and profitable delight. For under these personnes, as it were in a cloake of simplicitie, they woulde eyther sette foorth the prayses of theyr freendes, without the note of flattery, or enveigh grievously against abuses, without any token of byterness.40 It was not only Nashe, with his praise for Spenser's "deepe conceit", and E. K., in his epistle to Harvey, with the explanation that his friend "chose rather to unfold great matter of argument covertly then, professing it, not suffice thereto accordingly . . . " who understood this mixture of artifice and simplicity. 3. Pastoral Language in Spenser's Imitators Spenser sparked an outburst of pastorals, some of which made contributions of value and originality while others did not. It will be sufficient to mention names of some of the obvious imitators, poets whose pretensions often exceeded their skill. William Basse, Browne of Tavistock, and the Fletchers are all easily identified as Spenserians. Unfortunately, the fixity and depth of purpose which make Spenser's eclogues into patterns of a lost art did not permeate these poets. One of their common marks is the misuse or weak use of a periphrastic style. Browne's eclogues in The Shepherd's Pipe (1614) are light and fluent, and if they are overloaded with anything it is with epithet rather than periphrasis. His verse 39

Menaphon, 1589, four editions before 1607; S. C., five editions before 1600; Arcadia, three editions by 1598; Euphues, 1578, ten editions by 1600. 40 In Smith, Elizabethan Critical Essays, p. 262.



romance Britannia's Pastorals is quite the opposite; instead of tempering the romance with pastoral simplicity, he uses every decoration which can be remotely connected with the pastoral scene. Douglas Bush's comment upon Spenser's use of periphrasis in The Faerie Queene suggests the direction in which Spenserian imitators most frequently went astray. The descriptive periphrasis, in which our later pastoralist Milton exercised his undergraduate Latin volubility, is often their downfall. Bush tells us that "purely descriptive periphrases, which are such a splendid ornament in Milton, are not characteristic of Spenser, whose style, however loose, is generally straightforward and avoids rhetorical indirectness",41 and goes on to the further justification that "most of his several dozen periphrases are statements of time". In other words, Spenser's use of periphrasis is Chaucerian, but Spenserian imitators are seldom Spenserian. The comments here should of course be qualified by the reminder, especially for the sake of Browne and the Fletchers, that even decorative periphrase may be useful to the expression of epic material. But in functioning as a part of epic elevation, this kind of dignity can become the bathos attacked by Pope or the rhetorical sublime attacked by Boileau. Both of these excesses are difficult to avoid in "purely descriptive" periphrase. Browne, with his "imps of Mneme" for Muses, "sable tears" for ink, "Phoebus view" for sunlight42 shows us the dangers. But not all language in poetry can be made up of what is prosaically necessary. When Bush speaks of Milton's use of descriptive periphrasis, it is safe to assume that he does not mean the pointless sort of ornament in which Browne's romance continually indulges. Milton learned the periphrastic advantages of the Latin language early in life43 and thoroughly exploited them, right down to that 41

Mythology and Renaissance Tradition, p. 94. A sampling from Brittania's Pastorals. The Poems of William Browne of Tavistock, ed. Gordon Goodwin (London, 1894), I. 48 See Elegies I, II, III, "On the Fifth of November", and others, in John Milton: Paradise Regained, the Minor Poems, and Samson Agonistes, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes (New York, 1937). All citations from the poems of Milton in the text are drawn from this edition. 44



universal Elizabethan favorite, "the gifts of Ceres". By the time he writes Arcades he is using periphrasis to underline the mood or change the mood in a passage, as in the description which the Genius of the Wood makes of his duties : [I] heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue Or what the cross dire-looking Planet smites

Or hurtful Worm with canker'd venom bites A n d early ere the odorous breath of morn

Awakes the slumb'ring leaves, or tassell'd horn Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about...

(vs. 51-58)

In Comus, the Attendant Spirit announces the English setting of the masque by a reference to "all the Sea-girt Isles / That like to rich and various gems inlay / The unadorned bosom of the Deep" (vs. 21-23). Many descriptive periphrases later, Comus offers the Lady "this cordial Julep here / That flames and dances in his crystal bounds" (vs. 672-673). These are periphrases very unlike the conventional descriptive substitution, common even in Milton, whereby the Fates carry "vital shears" (Arcades, v. 65), fish are a "finny drove" (Comus, v. 115), and the body is a "corporal rind" (Comus, v. 664); for the phrases first cited are drawn very close to the descriptive necessities of a surrounding group of words. Since the imaginative possibilities of the fixed periphrasis have usually been exhausted, the phrase cannot be tied closely to a specific context. Milton does, however, make us conscious that musical possibilities remain, even in the most trite of descriptive substitutes. The descriptive language of Lycidas comes closest to a support or justification, in the earlier poems, for Bush's comment upon Milton's use of periphrase. It is not a language consistent with the usual purposes of pastoral. The pastoral gauze is really not intended to conceal the outlines of an elevated matter. A comparison to the technique of the dirges or praises set into the cruder language of the eclogue would be more just than a comparison of Milton's lament with the forms of pastoral conversation. This is a rhapsodic language which never really does return "from the 'higher mood' ... to the level of pastoral poetry". 44 Periphrasis contributes 14

Notes to Lycidas, Hughes, p. 289.



to this impression, although at the same time it helps to maintain the pastoral setting by allowing indirect comment upon other-thanpastoral affairs, as it does in Spenser's eclogues. In Lycidas, the consequent elevation of style is not matter for burlesque. It is too full of meaning. The "Herald of the Sea" questions "every gust of rugged wings" about the fate of Edward King; the ocean upon which the nymphs are playing is calmly and appropriately the "level brine" or the "remorseless deep"; the "mellowing year" substitutes, with added suggestive power, for autumn; and the "vital shears" of Arcades are replaced by "th'abhorred shears [which] slit the thinspun life". These are periphrases which substitute description for naming, but each description is fitted to its position in a broader pattern. This is the care which ought to control the use of periphrasis, even when the figure has other apparent purposes. It is a principle of selection which supports the view, discussed earlier with reference to I. A. Richards, that words only have meaning as they adequately supply the thought implied by the rest of the sentence, or surrounding sentences. Whether periphrasis performs mechanical functions in the pastoral poetry, or helps to maintain and express its themes, or whether it merely extends the possibilities of emotional contact with the reader, all these depend for good use upon the poet's ability to fit his substitution into a scheme of words or ideas. Pope has devastatingly ridiculed the bluestocking substitutions of précieusité, as has Molière. A substitution which seeks only to elevate may provide a delightful game, but nothing more.


1. Introductory and Transitional Periphrase Sometimes it appears that the introductory periphrase, which can be a necessary part of the mechanics of a poem, has become a delightful game. In the discussion of the use of substitution "Phoebus", I showed some of the variations upon the customary



detailed description of the sun's rising or setting. Here is one of Milton's variations: The Star that bids the Shepherd fold, Now the top of Heav'n doth hold, And the gilded Car of Day His glowing Axle doth allay In the steep Atlantic stream, And the slope Sun his upward beam Shoots against the dusky Pole, Pacing toward the other goal Of his Chamber in the East. (Comus, vs. 93-101) Among half a dozen periphrases, the sun prepares to take his rest, but strangely enough, since Comus is speaking in order to allure his followers to lust, the sun does not fall into the arms of Thetis or Tethys. On the contrary, Comus is concerned with the heated axle of the sun's chariot and with the angles at which the sun's rays are approaching the darkness on the other side of the world. The emphasis is not original with Milton, but it differs from the examples previously given, partly in its rather surprising lack of sensuousness. Although I am not prepared to assert that either transition is typical, perhaps it would be valuable to compare Spenser's use in Daphnaida (1591) of almost the same image. After an introductory passage of twenty-one lines, in which Spenser mentions both the "sacred" and the "fatali" sets of Sisters, the "vitall bands", and then summons the "Queene / of Darkenes deepe [to] come from the Stygian strands", in order to establish an atmosphere suitable to lamentation, the poem moves into its particular time and setting as follows: In gloomie evening, when the wearie Sun After his dayes long labour drew to rest, And sweatie steeds now having over run The compast skie, gan water in the west, I walkt abroade to breath the freshing [j/c] ayre In open fields, whoseflowringpride opprest With early frosts, had lost their beautie faire. (vs. 22-38)



The evening is gloomy, the charioteer is weary after a day's hard driving, and the steeds are covered with sweat, so that there are some parts of the long periphrastic sunset which do provide an introduction to the matter and mood of the elegy as well as establish its physical setting. And although Spenser's care to water the horses contributes little to this setting, it is at least a rare enough approach to "Tethys' bosom" to be refreshing. The additional element of the time setting, the early autumn which oppresses the "flowring pride" of the fields, also shows the care with which Spenser winnows nature for the properties he wants to support a specific action. If the two passages are compared, their similarity of purpose and material and their difference of emphasis is clear. Both use wellworn material; Spenser adapts it the more specifically for his own uses, although the brightness of image and activity of verb and meter in Milton's transition prepares well for Comus' glittering nocturnal activities. Milton's verses here make more use of the descriptive periphrasis; but the contrast is somewhat weakened by the fact that Spenser has indulged himself in periphrases even more familiar in the earlier introductory lines of the poem. In his transition, however, he uses only the single long periphrase for "sunset" and the additional brief substitution for "flowers". Milton's sunset is composed of a pile of little periphrases. Both perform a transitional function gracefully. The major poets are not alone in their attempts to make the standby transitional devices fit their own purposes. Some of their followers succeed in this attempt, and some do not. One of the most difficult kinds of adaptation is making the state of the zodiac, the pattern so familiar to both shepherds and poets, belong to the state of affairs which the poet is concerned with. Spenser's successful weaving of astronomical information into the July eclogue is an example of what might be done. The lesser poets do not all produce bad writing, but one example here from Francis Davison's work will help to demonstrate the difficulty of sticking to one's point and at the same time including the various figures which express the movements of heavenly bodies in the zodiac.



The joyfull Sunne, whom clowdy Winters spighi, Had shut from us in watry fishes haske, Returnes againe to lend the world his light, And red as Rose begins his yeerely taske. His fiery steedes the steepy welkin beate And both the homes of clyming Bull do heate. But ah no Sun of grace aspires to me ... (I Eclogue)45 A contrast between season and states of mind is attempted, but crudely expressed, although periphrasis and a very closely related form of substitution (the climbing sun with his fiery steeds and the "Sun of grace aspires") provide a surface linking of ideas. In Spenser's November eclogue, part of Colin's plea to be excused from singing is expressed with reference to the sun's position in the zodiac. But nowe sadde Winter welked hath the day And Phoebus weary of his yerely taske, Ystabled hath his steedes in lowlye laye, And taken up his ynne in Fishes haske.

(vs. 13-16)

The transition or placement in time has become a part of the interchange between Thenot and Colin, and the movement from the calendar into the activity of the poem and the theme of the conversation does not have to be accomplished by the thin and abrupt syntactical contasi which Davison uses. The minor poets are not the only ones who may be belabored by the critic, and the astronomical setting does not supply the only forms of periphrasis which task the poet. Among the most familiar of materials, even Drayton goes astray. Spenser before him had not balked at bringing two figures together without a necessary relationship. Even in this master poet, mythology contradicted itself a little when "welked Phoebus gan availe / His weary waine", and at the same time, a personified night was casting her black mantle over heaven. But Drayton is guilty, not of a mild dissociation, but of making the celestial Cynthia commit a serious breach of etiquette. My italics set off the periphrases. " Francis Davison, A Poetical Rhapsody, 1602-1621, ed. Hyder E.Rollins (Cambridge, Mass., 1931), I, 287.



Now in the ocean Titan quencWd his flame,

that summon'd Cinthia, to set up her light, when she the neer'st of the celestiali frame

sat the most glorious on the brow of nighte;

(vs. 73-78)"

Cynthia's apology is her change of character; she has the mixed personality in these lines of a goddess, a moon, and a jewel. The point of discussing the use of periphrase must be very obvious here; whether the absent-mindedness about meaning of words occurs in a small section of transitional material or in so pervasive a part of the pastoral vocabulary as in the meanings of shepherd, nymph, or flocks, it can only damage and finally make ridiculous the forms which depend upon it. From the plethora of transitions dependent upon the movement of heavenly bodies, it is perhaps time to come to earth. The introductions, often periphrastic, which present the season of the year or condition of weather as earthly effects, seem unavoidably related to the subject or mood of the poem they belong to. The association of love and natural description may indeed be a Teutonic characteristic; certainly, the frequency of association is not due only to the mental organization of pastoral poets. It is a part of a more general human mental construction, and hence, in its conventional and local expressions, a part of the love poetry. As Northrup Frye says of "convention", 47 one may try to use it or try to avoid it, but in trying to avoid it, he merely supplies the proof of conventionalized realities. It is possible - and significant to think of love without thinking in terms of natural description. Their infrequent or satiric relation in sophisticated verse opposes the lyric quality which even a realistic pastoral poem may supply through their linking. Even the automatic setting of Love within Nature is revealing. When they are brought together in the same poem, the absence of apparent conscious relationship by the poet tells a good deal about his purposes or his technique. One of the things which a poet's introductory weather or season " Poemes, Lyrick and Pastorali (= Spenser Society, New Series, No. 4) (Manchester, 1891), p. 38. " Northrup Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (Princeton, 1957), p. 103.



may tell us is the depth of his feeling for the relationships of man and nature, and the other is the degree of his skill in demonstrating these relationships. The sympathy or lack of sympathy of nature with the lives which it surrounds is a fundamentalt heme of pastoral poetry and may be expressed in a number of ways - through the elegiac comparisons of the brevity of man's life to the continuous rebirth of nature; through the turn, if the resolution of the poem is Christian, to the continuance of life in the super-natural; through the shepherd's lament to listening or unlistening flocks; through the periphrastic activities of the gods and goddesses who animate nature with their presence and demonstrate, sometimes falsely, its correspondences with human life; and through the mere presence of natural objects. When the poet does not present an obvious comment upon the relationship of man to these objects, any one of the preceding common elements of the pastoral poetry may indirectly say it for him. A periphrase may supply the missing attitude, or enforce a stated attitude, as does the phrase "Phoebus weary of his yearely taske" in the November eclogue of lament for Dido, in the passage just quoted. It is not to the point here to enter an explanation of the part which periphrase plays in the promotion of the pathetic fallacy, or the concept of sympathizing nature; but it is good to keep in mind that these introductory periphrases for natural objects or occurrences are not immediate evidence of triteness and sterility in the pastoral form. They are evidence both of a pervasive association of ideas and of either variety or conventionality in the expression of this association. The examples which here illustrate the introductory and transitional uses of these pastoral properties will not show the frequency of literal descriptions. The literal descriptions may also take set forms. It is rare that one finds a pastoral setting without crystal rills, verdant meadows, and checkered shades, be they of beech, oak, or myrtle. But the following illustrations will display the functions of word-substitution, by means of which the pastoral poet may move into the imaginative and allusive world of poetry without sacrificing the local habitation of the shepherd. For the Elizabethan may be able to use periphrasis without sacrificing



either the locale or the mean or base style of the pastoral poem, even though the manner is on the way to assimilating the mode, and the mode is on the way to losing most of its limits. Robert Greene's opening stanza to "The Sheepheard Eurymachus to his faire Sheepheardess Mirmida" 48 uses the familiar figure of Flora's mantle and the periphrase "the dewe of Iris showers" to announce the season in which the lover makes his lament. When Flora proud in pompe of all her flowers sate bright and gay: And gloried in the dewe of Iris showers, and did display Her mantle checquer'd all with gaudie greene, Then I alone A mournfull man in Ericine was seene. The contrast of the bright surroundings and the mournful lover is a backdrop for the lover's vision of the salamander (desire) living contented in "hideous flame". The periphrases color but do not complicate the language; and the total effect is that of discovery that the expected may still be charming. Most of the seasonal introductions will show the concurrence of the appearances of nature and the emotions of man. This happy agreement is directly expressed in Fulke Greville's 76th sonnet from the sequence Caelica (1633)49 In the time when herbs and flowers, Springing out of melting powers, Teach the earth that heat and rain Do make Cupid live again .... It appears in the "Second Pastors Song" from The Passionate Shepherd50 Flora hath been all about, And hath brought her wardrobe out, With her fairest, sweetest flowers, All to trim up all your bowers. 48

From Francescos Fortunes (1590). In Englands Helicon, 1600, 1614, ed. Hugh MacDonald (Cambridge, Mass., 1950), p. 97. Hereafter in citations in the text, this edition will be referred to as E. H. " English Pastorals, ed. Edmund K. Chambers (London, 1895), p. 43. 50 Nicholas Breton (1604), Chambers, p. 93.



Flora and the "melting powers" await the cooperation of Cupid; the poet has provided for it; and the introductory lines are not merely mechanical. Breton's Flora carries the commonplace metaphor of Flora's mantle a little beyond commonplace (and beyond logic), while Greville's "melting powers" supply the place of mythological periphrasis with an effectiveness that the eighteenth century attempts seldom achieved. At least one example of the literal expression of these associations should be offered to show the pastoral lyric in its much-soughtafter simplicity. The poem is Nicholas Breton's "Phillida and Coridon", first printed in The Queen's Majesty's Entertainment at Elvetham (1591) and again in England's Helicon.51 In the merry month of May, In a morn by break of day, Forth I walk'd by the wood side When as May was in his pride; There I spied all alone Phillida and Coridon. Much ado there was, God wot; He would love and she would not... The lovers neither delay, dissemble, nor periphrase; the only sign of unconcealed art is that Breton has called them Phillida and Coridon instead of Betty and John. In Browne's conversational opening to the First Eclogue of The Shepherd's Pipe (1614),82 the contrasting ideas of the introduction, the cheerful spring and the mournful lover, are pleasantly united. Roget, droop not, see, the spring Is the earth enamelling, And the birds on every tree Greet this morn with melody: Hark, how yonder throstle chaunts it, And her mate as proudly Vaunts it; See how every stream is dress'd By her margin with the best Of Flora's gifts; she seemès glad For such brooks such flowers she had. 51 62

Chambers, p. 91. Ibid., p. 171.

(vs. 1-10)



After much more such joyous description, the poem ends with the persuasion of Roget to pipe something on his "oaten quill". The contrast of man's mood and nature's provides an attitude more open to interesting development, perhaps, than the immediate reflection of man by nature, but the preceding example only touches upon these possibilities. It provides the occasion of the plea to sing, and then dissipates into description, as Browne usually does. For better examples of periphrastic treatment of the natural sympathies we cannot turn immediately to Spenser's eclogues. In the four eclogues {Januarie, Februarie, Maye

and June) in

which an introductory section of description is fully developed, there is no periphrasis. The only suggestion of periphrastic mythology is the reference in Januarie to the "mantle mard" of the "barrein ground". The descriptions are literal, and the introductory emphasis of most of the eclogues is upon problems or occurrences, not scenes. The contrasts between man and his natural surroundings appear in the conflicting view of the young and the old in Februarie, of Piers and Palinodie in Maye, of the lover in June, and the "pastors" in July, while their correspondent relationships run through the patterns of the January and December eclogues. Spenser, however, does not enhance these relationships with introductory remarks about Flora. Nature is likely to be dressed in her own beauties - although these may be handme-downs from Clement Marot, like the November nightingale. The May eclogue might be examined in a little more detail to show what Spenser has done to create a consciousness of pastoral surroundings. The ecclesiastical debate between Piers and Palinode seems to belong properly in the setting it is given, although there is little apparent connection between the maintaining of argument upon ecclesiastical severities or laxities and the "mery moneth of May I When loved lads masken in fresh aray" (vs. 1-2). But the connection as well as the setting becomes clearer as a discussion develops in which these contrasts are frequently referred to : Palinode:

Our bloncket liveryes bene to all sadde, For thilke same season, when all is ycladd With pleasaunce ... (vs. 5-7) Piers, the "Protestant" (according to E. K.), supports with reliable



asceticism the view that material indulgences, even in May, are not the due of the clergy. When he produces the illustrative narrative of poor "Kiddie" tempted by the trinkets of the disguised wolf, one cannot help being impressed with Spenser's aesthetic reliability. The consciousness develops that Spenser's references to Chaucer as his master, rather than to Marot or to others of the then modern French poets, with whom line for line resemblances may be found, must announce the more profound influence. It is from Chaucer's ability to fit tale to prologue that such a skill must be derived. Spenser, even more than most of his lyrical contemporaries, seems to find periphrastic expression of the scene less tempting than periphrastic variations upon the time of day. The majority were likely to depend on literal description for the establishment of locale. The literal tendency, expressed by such opening lines as Sidney's "In a Groave most rich of shade" (E. H., 151), Breton's "In the merry moneth of May" (E. H., p. 23), Drayton's "Neere to a bancke with Roses set about" (E. H., p. 173), prevents the pastoral poetry of this time from becoming the pastoral formality of earlier French or later English writing. Titan, Phoebus, and Hyperion were the more tempting as symbols of a nature interpreted by man and malleable to his purposes; in laying the scene for love or holiday in the springtime, poets did well without Flora and her gifts. Flora could have added little to a structure such as that of the May eclogue, and could only have been distracting in the brief literal descriptions mentioned above. 2. The Meaningful Use of Incidental


The use of incidental periphrasis in the description of earthly objects and growing things is not so limited among the Elizabethans as the preceding comments perhaps suggest. These have been comments upon the introductory lines of the poems; and for the images using heavenly bodies, they have been comments upon lines showing a passage of time during the action of the poem. There are many substitutions for flowers or vegetation, and most do not have very specific uses. Most involve the goddesses Flora or Ceres. Later



writers of pastoral easily recognize the incidental quality of such diction and condemn it, while they accept other forms of periphrase without regard to decorum. Such uses will not be surveyed here. The periphrase which shows a useful ingenuity or concern for total structure is our present problem. The phrases which clearly contribute to artificiality of setting and technique will be discussed later. There is a least one group of periphrases often used incidentally which remains continually capable of evocative expression. In Yeats, Eliot, Keats, Andersen, and most precariously in Elizabethan pastoral poetry, Philomela resists the brutalities of convention. The name itself, when it is applied to the nightingale, is an example of the figure antonomasia, the substitution of the proper name for a common noun, or the descriptive phrase for a proper name. As we have remarked before, it is not always distinguished from periphrasis in Renaissance rhetoric. Philomela may be called upon in both introductory and supplementary description just as automatically as Flora, but her uses for setting the scene are increased by her deeper association with the mood of the poems, possibly because of the legend upon which these associations are often based. Although the tendency remains that she should become a minor detail of the pastoral backdrop, she is generally significant as a token of lament, of winter, and especially of forsaken lovers. Pope's and Philips's pastorals in the early eighteenth century show the other side of the pastoral coin. They supply four periphrastic references to the nightingale, and one literal reference, in Pope's Spring.53 All the periphrastic references treat Philomela as a singer of sweet nothings. She is "sweetest songster of the winged kind" (v. 49)54 and "the little minstrel of the grove" (v. 56).56 For Philips she is not Philomela but the competitive nightingale of another legend, trying her skill against Colin Clout. Philips, consistent with his purpose of naturalizing and "realizing" the pastoral, avoids some of the trite mythological associations, but 58

Chalmers, XII, 145, v. 13. Succeeding references to the pastoral poems of Pope and Philips will be taken from Chalmers, Vols. ΧΠ and XIII. Philips, "The Fifth Pastoral", XIII, 114. " Ibid. M



not the periphrases. It should be noticed, however, in defense of Philips, that the periphrases serve to set the singer of nature against the singer of art, and that however trite they may be or may have since become, they are not merely irresponsible and decorative substitutions. Pope, on the other hand, uses Philomel but not her mythological suggestiveness. "When warbling Philomel salutes the spring" (v. 27)5e is part of a setting which invokes cheerfulness. "Such silence waits on Philomela's strains" (v. 77)57 is part of an announcement of regret for Daphne, but it conveys no implications about the mournfulness of the bird. Perhaps the silent setting of her song "In some still evening when the whispering breeze / Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees" suggests to an ingenious critic the pursuit of Tereus, but the vaguer melodious and sentimental suggestions characteristic of Pope's treatment of nature in the pastorals seem more clearly evidenced here. Belaboring two representatives of the eighteenth century pastoral techniques for their conventional use of a piece of familiar pastoral business provides only an indirect approach to our present problem. A look at the scenery of the Elizabethan pastorals will reveal more about the periphrastic language and its effect upon the poems, for better or for worse. Not all the Elizabethans give Philomela her mythological associations. She is sometimes as much a cheerful representative of spring as Flora is. Sometimes she is part of a list of undistinguished birds, as Drayton uses her in Rowland's "Song in Praise of the fairest Beta". And crave the tunefull Nightingale to helpe ye with her Lay; The Osell and the Thrustlecocke, chiefe musique of our May. (E. H., p. 24) In "The Sheepheards Song of Venus and Adonis" (H[enry] C[hettle], E. H., p. 180), "Philomel records pleasing Harmonies" while "Vestaes beautie rich" salutes, along with the birds, "Paphos Goddesse". She is recording these harmonies before there is any cause of mourning and long before Thetis has retained Phoebus' " "

"Spring", XII, 145. "Winter", XII, 148.



steeds in the west (that is, before nightfall). The connection of the bird with the Venus and Adonis legend is only incidental; there are no implications, in the use of Philomela, of the coming laments of Venus. Philomela is only a part of the periphrastic tapestry. The following example is elaborately musical: Sweete Philomell is Phillis bird though Coridon be he that caught her: And Coridon dooth heare her sing, though Phillida be she that thaught her.

(vs. 51-54)58

In Breton's poem one of the chief charms of the pastoral in its lyric forms is present: the adaptation of the mechanics of a style and mode to the expression of a naive affection. Philomela needs her pastoral associations here but not her mythological ones, and not only the associations but the name itself are neatly fitted to the verse. The music maintains the conventional reference. Drayton's bushes in "Rowlands Madrigali" (E. H., p. 105) are "beset ... With sweet Nightingales". No myth is needed in this love song and none is suggested. In another listing of birds and other pastoral paraphernalia, 69 Philomela laments as a part of a general springtime rejoicing. Zephirus brings springtime, "the time that sweetly sententh / with flowers and hearbs" ; Progne "chirpeth" ; "Flora the Garlands white and red compileth". Only the lover does not enjoy this scene, and Philomela's lament seems to be automatic and unregarded. In an anonymous poem called "The Sheepheards sorrow for his Phoebes disdain", the problem of apt use of detail turns upon a problem of textual accuracy. The untitled version in the Phoenix Nest (1593) periphrases as follows: "the pretie greefifull burd". The later printing in Englands Helicon (p. 109, 110) reads: When I regard the pretty glee-full bird, With teare-full (yet delightfull) notes complaine; I yeeld a terror with my teares, And while her musique wounds mine eares, Alas say I, when will my notes afford Such like remorce, who still beweepe my paine? (vs. 19-24) 58


N. Breton, "Astrophell his Song of Phillida and Coridon", E. H., p. 52. From Master N. Young his Musica Transalpina, Ε. H., p. 185.



In the series of periphrastic references which form the pattern of the stanzas, the "glee-full" bird is necessarily Philomel. The phrase is a periphrastic game of identification. The earlier version makes a better identification, while the later leaves more to be studied and guessed upon. Although the later is not perhaps so absurd as Rollins says,60 it seems that the poet T. L.'s intention must be to phrase his substitution so that it clearly suggests the standard mythological reference. The next stanza centers upon the "haplesse bird", or the turtledove, whose misery is also needed to reinforce the mood of the poem. Most of the references in Helicon come at least as close as this one to making suggestive use of the Philomela legend. Some do not mention the story but suggest its sad consequences, as does Ralegh's response to the Passionate Shepherd in which "Philomell becommeth dombe, / The rest complaines of cares to come" (.E. H., p. 193). In Breton's "A sweete Pastorali" (Ε. H., p. 35), Philomel loses her voice as love departs and winter approaches. "Philomel's sweet lay" is heard as a "Chauntrie" over the mournful cypress shade which is Cupid's hearse, in Drayton's "The Sheepheards Antheme" (E. H., p. 173). Another example from Drayton is not so poetic as this description of the mournful pastoral shrine, but it is both more periphrastic and more classical. The possible thematic application, as well as the graceful last line, perhaps excuse the lapses in and out of prose and cliché. When Philomel, true augure of the spring, whose tunes expresse a Brothers traiterous fact, whilst the fresh groves with her complaints do ring, to Cinthia her sad tragedy doth act... (vs. 7-10)61

In his descriptive introduction Drayton demonstrates that everything is full of lusty pride except Rowland. These ideas are perhaps related, but Drayton's fluency has not apparently been directed toward a full expression of such a relationship. In a complaint by another unknown, 62 the Tereus legend is used Hyder E. Rollins, ed., The Phoenix Nest |(1593) (Cambridge, Mass., 1931), Notes, p. 156. n


"The First Eglog", Poemes, Lyrick and Pastorall, p. 36.

"Another of the same Sheepheards", E. H., p. 55.



without naming Philomela, and the shepherd's state is related directly to the bird's. "Even so poore bird like thee / None a-live will pitty mee." The sentimentality of the ending is redeemed by the simplicity of the narrative. "Fie, fie, fie, now would she cry / Teru, Teru, by and by." The machinery demonstrates some of its advantages here; since everyone knows the story, nothing more explicit need be said, and we can concentrate on the personal pangs of the poet - who since he is working with standard properties can intrude without the gusty offensiveness of some of the romantics. In Shepherd Tonie's story of Harpalus and Phillida (E. H., p. 40), Harpalus uses the nightingale to enforce his argument of love. Even the birds, he says, sorrow that Phillida loves Corin, who does not love Phillida. Harke sweet Phil, how Philomell, That was wont to sing so well, Jargles now in yonder bush, Worser than the rudest Thrush ...

(vs. 95-98)

The real classical allusion is missing, but the excuses for random antonomasia probably need not be repeated. The function of the reference in this poem is climactic: it is the last in a series of Harpalus' listings of the sympathetic actions of nature; and the effect of neglect on the bird is a summing up of Harpalus' plea against Corin. "The Sheepheards Sunne" (E. H., p. 202), also a product of Shepherd Tonie, gives the classical reference and makes it a warning: "faire maydes take yee heede of love." Birds carry on the ensuing debate, aroused by Philomela's lament over unfaithful men and light women. There are many of these conscious and often skilled uses of the allusion. It would hardly be expected that from the bed of thorns supplied to Philomela by the elaborating poets,63 her woes could be vitally reborn. But the spontaneous combustion of old machinery which we have seen earlier with Sidney's shepherd and his dog 6 * Barnabe Barnes, Sonnet LVII, Lee, Elizabethan Sonnets, I, 203; Ignoto, "As it fell upon a day...", E. H., p. 55.



occurs again with his Philomela. The nightingale is the center of the poem; 64 she is first a real nightingale and then becomes Philomela, so that Sidney can intensify his lament for unsatisfied love. Philomela as the augur of spring, Philomela and her thorn, her rape, and her complaint, and the "too much having" which Sidney makes the essence of her complaint, are rounded into a comparison with his own woes. Philomela is exhorted to take heart, since his "wanting" is worse than her "having". The summary destroys the delicacy of the comparison; and certainly further analysis is unnecessary. The elements which compose the poem have been quite fully presented as they occur piece-meal in other pastoral poems, which of course have their own stories to tell and organizations to create. These are not inferior to Sidney's poem simply because his presented a compact group of pastoral conventions and they have presented a scattering. But Sidney's superior fertility of imagination responds to the pathetic figure, and his skill in compression and interrelation of detail suggests that here he may illustrate on a small scale the classic (since Coleridge) opposition of cohesive imagination and scattered fancy. When we speak of the recreation of tradition, we recognize that it is within the mind and experience of a single poet that the conventional poetic components must be drawn together for this recreation, and that consequently the demands which criticism makes are much the same for all poets, new or old. A large part of the pleasure which comes from reading the pastoral lyrics has lain in observation of the enduring value of the dubious cliché. These are not merely clichés of verbal association, although that aspect is most important here, but also the clichés of attitude about man, love, loss, and nature which characterize the pastoral verse. The area is sufficiently limited that it is impossible not to recognize the conventions of theme, scene, and phrase. And since we are all victims of cliché and convention, a great burden of preceding words and precedent personalities can be lifted from the intellect when a poem fuses these conventions to produce an unexpected resolution. " "The Nightingale so soone as Aprili bringeth...", E. H., p. 176. From Poems appended to the 3rd ed. of Arcadia.



As a conclusion to this section in which I have, first, attempted a detailed demonstration of the effectiveness of periphrase as an introductory or transitional device, and then shown how incidental antonomasia or periphrase may develop into support for the theme of the poem, perhaps a review of what has been postulated will be valuable. The periphrase, most common in the details which the poet uses to introduce a time of day or to show passage of time, supplied a conventional ornament to what seemed to need exaltation. It might, however, be used with effects far different from mere ornamentation. The use might be a workmanlike acquiescence with the established patterns of transition, like Spenser's careful zodiacal preparations. But the best kind of poetic imagination could also work periphrastically. Philomela has supplied a transition for us to the more consciously themecentered uses of periphrase by showing the range of functions which a minor piece of pastoral business might perform, not only making preparation for but providing the central expression of the theme of a poem. The poet's consciousness of the conventional materials with which he is working seems to make this coherence possible. The use of the nightingale as a part of introductory scene-setting or incidental creation of atmosphere shows again the varying effectiveness both of the literal and periphrastic references. As a final blow to the conventional hanger-on, Richard Barnefield's "Sheepheards Ode" (E. H., p. 77) might be set against some of the preceding examples to show the incompetent and conventional mythologist at work among the deities of animated nature. Nights were short, and dayes were long, Blossomes on the Hawthorne hong, Philomell (Night-Musiques King,) Told the comming of the Spring:

(vs. 1-4)

Obviously, Spring is not Ver or Flora simply because neither rhymes with King. And Philomell assumes the masculine gender simply because Barnefield can alight upon no other word to rhyme with Spring. Furthermore:



Whose effect when Flora felt Teares, that did her bosome melt, [Is Flora's bosom (For who can resist teares often the earth?] But she whom no teares can soften?) Peering straite above the banks, Shew'd herselfe to give her thanks. [Is Flora the vege(vs. 29-34) tation itself, or a disembodied spirit?] Aurora weeps, the tears soften Flora, and she peers over banks which seem to owe their existence to a momentary necessity for something to peer over. The puppeteering of nature is not a task for amateurs. The treatment of Flora is confused, but the offense to Philomela is criminal. By 1681, a far better poetry is produced when Andrew Marvell periphrases the glowworm and leaves the nightingale alone. 85 Marvell's nightingale displays a new personality, whose art is no longer either unpremeditated or painfully reproduced by the scratching of a thorn. Ye living lamps, by whose dear light The nightingale does sit so late, And studying all the summer night, Her matchless songs does meditate ... For this pleasant and studious musician, Marvell supplies no periphrase; but each periphrastic attempt upon the essence of the glowworm introduces an allusion to the pastoral themes of musicianship, retirement, and love-longing. The mower who takes the place of the shepherd is no more attuned to literal expression of the natural than his lustful or satiric contemporaries of the Restoration court, but the periphrase for the lover renews allegorical use of rural surroundings, and applies them with structural purpose. Ye glow-worms, whose officious flame To wandering mowers shows the way, That in the night have lost their aim, And after foolish fires do stray ... This use of the glowworms, like Sidney's use of the nightingale, is "The Mower to the Glowworms", Chambers, p. 231.



not a casual or incidental reference. These are the instances in which a piece of pastoral property or background becomes the poem itself and manages to carry on or allude to the vital ideas of pastoral tradition. In close examination, these perhaps appear to be the most "poetic" and most justifiable of the applications of periphrase. We have already seen, however, that incidental references are not all as pointless as Barnefield's mention of "Night-Musiques King". The array of properties and hints of mythologies may add a passing interest without which the poetry would be poorer. Philomela's association with the happiness of spring as well as with the miseries of lovers may become tedious, but if the poet's treatment is sufficiently melodious or picture-making, this lesser Philomela ought not to be autocratically dismissed. The same thing might be said of many of the incidental periphrases which characterize the writing found in such collections as Englands Helicon a n d The Phoenix Nest, and generally in the w o r k

of the more skilfull pastoral writers. Lyric pastoral does not at this period avoid the brief periphrase. Sometimes the periphrase is merely habitual like the substitutions "bright Phoebus" or "Phoebus Chariot"; sometimes this habitude helps to create the unreal but really charming atmosphere of poems like Roydon's Astrophel ; and sometimes the periphrase which appears incidental has been chosen for a strong contribution to the total sense of the passage. This latter justification, the most stable as a critical direction, was the most neglected in such eighteenth century pastoral verse as I have examined. The double senses which the late seventeenth century satiric pastoral abounds in show how a figurative meaning may be supplanted by its literal connotation. When "Philomell becommeth dombe" in Raleigh's reply to the passionate shepherd (E. Η., ρ. 193), the spirit of all pastoral delight is silenced with her. When Matthew Prior's highly polished swain66 tells his Nymph " "The Lady's Looking Glass", Poems on Several Occasions, ed. A. R. Waller (Cambridge, 1941), p. 25. First published in Drydens' Miscellany Poems, Pt. 5 (1703/4), with subtitle "In Imitation of a Greek Idyllium". This version, the 1718 text. Notes, p. 345.



to look in "That large Glass", as they walk along the seaside, to see her changes of mood, the substitution still has meaning. Its effect, however, is to enclose nature within man, like the earlier uses of an automatic mythology, rather than to assess man's place in nature. Another poem of Prior's, a "modernization" of the Nut Brown Maid,®7 uses the device neither for its sympathetic nor its satiric possibilities. It is filled with such phrases as "the sprightly Reed" (pastoral pipe, pen, poetic equipment), "the fickle Sex", "the Fair", "Hymen's happy Power" (marriage), and Henry's assertion that "no future Flame shall move / The well-placed basis of my lasting Love" (vs. p. 155). Henry is, of course, the hero, Emma the NutBrown Maid, and the Muse presiding over this revision is Prior's Nymph Cloe, platitudinous and literal-minded. It is time to examine more fully some of the periphrases of the Elizabethan poetry in those poems where periphrase has been woven so closely into structure that the word-substitution seems to carry the theme of the poem. Drayton's "The Sheepheards Daffadill" (E. H., p. 15), Breton's "A Sweete Pastorall" (p. 35), Marlowe's "The Passionate Sheepheard to his Love" (192), and "The Nimphs Reply to the Sheepheard", Ralegh's answer (p. 193), will provide the material for examination and comparison. In three of these brief lyrics, the periphrases may indeed reveal central attitudes, as does the use of Philomela in Sidney's poem. In these delicate pastorals, the realistic adaptations of some of Sidney's lyrics, already discussed, are lacking, and a style of pastoral writing which seems to abound in the pastoral accouterments, used for scenic purposes, appears. The briefer and more precise form of substitution, antonomasia, is important. The recurring substitutions are "Philomel" for the nightingale and "Daffadill" or "that lovely flower" for the beloved. In Marlowe's "Come live with mee" all the many pastoral delights are named with their own names, and this fact serves to emphasize the purposes of substitution in the other lyrics. Drayton's "The Sheepheards Daffadill" uses the flower as the basis of a question-answer game about the whereabouts of the shepherd's beloved; a series of literal responses offered by the "

Ibid., p. 138.



answering shepherd provides picturesque natural detail. Such a use of word-substitution shows that the practice of punning did not need to deteriorate to low comedy. The phrase "that lovely flower", through which the possibilities of misunderstanding are developed, is an example of antonomasia. In the same poem, the shepherd's boy distinguishes his maiden Daffodil from the brighter flowers, the Rose, the pansy, and the marigold, who are "Phoebus paramoures". The periphrase accents the two major terms of the earlier description: that Daffodil is not as gaudy as the other flowers, and that she belongs to him, not to Phoebus. Applications of phrases of this kind have the spontaneity which seldom results from a fully conscious use of poetic techniques, and this periphrase seems to have nothing to do with decorum, of which Drayton is on occasion a very weak devotee. The four poems form a group representative of several degrees of seriousness in the themes of pastoral lyric. The fact that something approaching pun or periphrase is used in three of them has little to do with the directness of their ethical comment; but the manner in which language is used, and the way in which the wordsubstitution is applied, has a great deal. Marlowe's literal roses are fresh ones, and the belt of straw and ivy buds is sweet scented. His imagery tells his message more persuasively than any intellectual argument could; and given only springtime - as lovers most fortunately are often given - it is proof against the winter of experience. Marlowe does not need the sort of generalization and abstraction which may be suggested through the figurative language of word substitution; he can deal with the objects themselves. Periphrasis and punning in Drayton's Daffadill help to characterize a style which avoids the more sensuous application of image with which Marlowe's shepherd persuades. Batte describes his Daffodil as wearing the maiden colors green and white, and Gorbo persistently misinterprets the description to mean that Batte is looking for a real flower. The lyric, first published in England's Helicon and later as a part of Drayton's Ninth Eclogue,®8 is set into the eclogue as a piece of pastoral business, appropriate to the "

Poemes, Lyrick and Pastorall (1605), p. 92.



occasion (a sheepshearing holiday in June, where all the shepherdesses are present except Batte's); but it has none of the firmer connections with the total poem which one would expect in a Spenserian eclogue. It is a cleverly unpretentious set of verses which must stand upon its own capacity to delight. Breton's evocative use of the pastoral properties, like Ralegh's, suggests other meanings for his flocks, fields, and flowers, but does not use direct substitution. In both, Philomel is the only direct substitution, and in both she represents the loss of loveliness from material satisfactions. In Breton's pastoral the sense of loss is personal, and it is imposed or intensified because "Phillida the faire hath lost / the comfort of her favour". In Ralegh's, the loss is a general condition of mortality, and it is imposed by winter. Winter represents time itself, not the disfavour of the beloved, or even a sympathetic response in nature to the feelings of the individual. Breton laments: Sweete Philomele the bird, that hath the heavenly throate, Dooth now alas not once affoord recording of a noate.

(vs. 21-24)"

And Ralegh warns: Time drives the flocks from field to fold, When Rivers rage, and Rocks grow cold, And Philomell becommeth dombe, The rest complaines of cares to come. It is this added suggestive power both for moral and esthetic comment which maintains the life of the pastoral properties - a life of which even Samuel Johnson has shown himself to be both conscious and approving. The infrequent periphrase or antonomasia may contribute to the suggestiveness of these properties, as it does here, through the accumulation of plaintive associations. Thus, even the incidental uses may be controlled by theme more than is at first apparent, and they may be, for us, indications of the integrity of a poetic response, or directions to a poetic intention. ··

First published, Brittons Bowre of Delights (1591-97).


3. Periphrases

less Directly

Connected with the Pastoral

109 Mode

Not only the objects directly associated with the pastoral may reveal purpose, but also the objects common to any poetry of love or nature. For Pope, the "faded honours" (v. 32) of the trees are scattered on the bier of Mrs. Tempest.70 The leaves seem to have been transformed chiefly for funereal purposes; on the oak they were faded; but only in relation to Mrs. Tempest, not in relation to autumn, did they become honors. The less coherent may occur in Spenser also, but even here a far-fetched association is likely to rise from carefully prepared ground. The old shepherd Thenot tells in his story the complaint of the briar against the oak: And oft his hoarie locks down doth cast, Where with my fresh flowretts bene defast. (Februarie, vs. 181-182)

"Faded lockes fall from the loftie oke" in the November eclogue (v. 126) by reason of the autumn and of our own and Spenser's underlying association of human old age with old oak trees. Though it has no specific justification within the poem, the periphrase used in November is not off key; it is a part of a passage of responses of nature to the death of Dido, a passage less transparent in artifice than its pattern in Marot's "Complaincte de Madame Loys de Savoye".71 References to the human body, its coloring and its responses, may be made periphrastically to elevate, ornament, or disguise; to carry out a metaphor or to enforce a theme. If the body is "my weary clay", 72 "my frail and earthly bark... my brittle boat", 73 "these ruins", 74 "my pining carcase",76 it is likely that the lover has lost a beloved or gained a religion, or both. That a betrayal of these descriptions by cheerfulness in the poem seldom occurs 70

"Winter", or "Daphne", Chalmers, XII, 148. Oeuvres Complètes de Clément Marat, ed. Abel Grenier (Paris, [η. d.]) I, 546. Spenser, oblivious of the future irritation of Pope, permits Philomel to complain in November because "Sur l'arbre sec s'en complainct Philomene" in Marot's lament, p. 549. ™ "A Farewell", sonnet first printed in Henry Constable's Diana, Lee, I, 122. '8 Thomas Lodge, Sonnet XI, Phillis, Lee, II, 8. 71 Lodge, Sonnet XVIII, Phillis, Lee, II, 10. 75 William Smith, Chloris, Lee, II, 344. 71



does not mean that the associations are trite. They are simply permanent. If the body is a "beauteous Fort", 76 "Loves chiefe clothing", 77 a "bed, where Love's Proud Queen / In silent majesty, sweet sleepeth",78 or if the Lover plans to "enclose / Lilies faire mixture with the Rose", 79 the choice of words is an instrument to express mundane hope and energy. The body may be a "majestick Hall" borne about by "two piliers"; under which circumstances Amargana, the lady referred to, would have considerable weight in her "pretty tread". But periphrase here promotes a comic incongruity, for she is said to "Scarse ... the Primerose head depresse ... Whereon her foote she sets". 80 Drayton's temple also has pillars for legs. She is a "fane" with "halowed altars" (vs. 87, 90), but she does at least stand still. Moreover, in Drayton, the image of the place of worship denotes the virtue of chastity.81 The allegorical periphrase is the more acceptable, and more expressive of a consistent attitude. It is also worth noticing that these expressions of the quality or state of the body which imply praise or enjoyment are more varied than those which imply rejection or despair. The association of fire or flame with excessive passion is, on the other hand, so consistent that the words have become almost literally synonomous. It was impossible to make a complete listing of the flames of even a small group of pastoral poets. "Fiery Rage!!! Rage of Fire", 82 "sweet Fire", 83 "Etna's fire",84 "amorous fire",85 "the heate, / The burning heate", 88 "heavenly fire"87 suggest the pastoral range. Lodge, on fire, works the bellows of a chemical laboratory with great force. 78

Barnabe Barnes, Sonnet 86, Parthenophil and Parthenophe, Lee, I, 219. Sir Philip Sidney, Lalus and Dorus Eclogue, Arcadia, I, 129. Barnes, Ode 6, Parthenophil..., Lee, I, 300. '· Ignoto, "Another of the same nature", E. H., p. 195. 80 William Hunnis, "Happy Sheepheards sit and see..." E. H., p. 64. 81 "The fift Eglog", Poemes, p. 63. 82 Barnes, Son. 86, Lee, I, 219. 85 Barnes, Son. 87, Ibid. 81 Smith, Chloris, Son. XIII, Lee, II, 331. 8S Bar. Young, "The Sheepheard Delicius his Dittie", E. H., p. 126. ββ F. Davison, I, Eclogue, DPR, I, 28. 87 "To his Love", Ε. H., p. 164. 77




The aperries of my sighs augment the burning flame The limbec is mine eye that doth distil the same; And by how much my fire is violent and sly, By so much doth it cause the waters mount on high That shower from out mine eyes .. . 88 A rarer form of reference is Lodge's "But that I have a longing tooth." 89 The flames of passion are a long way from this lighthearted inclination, even in the habitual language of pastoral verse. Indeed, linked with other periphrastic names such as "wanton Wench", "Country-Kit", it suggests another level of pastoral diction entirely, not so much a burlesque, but a pattern, in the less serious verse, for the low rather than the mean style of diction. Sidney best demonstrates how far apart they are, and how great the range of figurative language may be, in his final sonnet of the Astrophell sequence. The poem is not really a pastoral, and perhaps the violence of expression in the rejection of passion would have made any association with the pastoral scene inappropriate. The series of apostrophes (epitheton rather than periphrase) to Desire is more closely related to the tone of recantation which concludes some medieval love poetry. Thou blind man's mark! Thou fool's self-chosen snare! Fond fancy's scum! And dregs of scattered thought! Band of all evils! Cradle of causeless care! Thou web of will! whose end is never wrought. Desire! Desire! ... i 0 We can attach a still broader array of periphrase to the emotion of love, although it is perhaps foolish to differentiate, even for literary purposes, among the various works of Cupid. "Love" may be called "Cupid", and "Cupid" may be used with all the force of "desire". Since, however, we have only to recognize the appropriateness of the substitution to its context and not to elaborate upon its operation in the soul, the task may not become too involved. 98

" ··

Son. 37, Phillis, Lee, Π, 20. "Condons Song" (Rosalynde, 1590), E. H., p. 114. Lee, I, 135.



The more usual references to love, besides the painful fires mentioned earlier, include the various attributes, possessions, and occupations of Cupid, and occasionally of his mother. Thus, instead of the word love, we are likely to find the wounds inflicted by Cupid's arrows, or the arrow itself : the "everwounding golden arrow", 9 1 the "impoison'd dart", 9 2 "fierie dart", 9 3 "fiery smart", 9 4 "loving smart", 9 5 "eternali wound", β β "ranckling wounds of Cupid's golden arrowes", 97 "Cupids arrowe", 8 8 "Loves arrow", 9 9 "winged Love's impartial cruel wound", 1 0 0 "the sore / Made by Love's shafts, which pointed are with fire".101 We are not likely to find the arrows placed carefully in a suitable context, for they are too much a part of habit; Milton, however, used his Ovidian inheritance by setting the weapons of Cupid against those of Diana. ... shall I call Antiquity from the old Schools of Greece To testify the arms of Chastity? Hence had the huntress Diati her dread bow, Fair silver-shafted Queen for ever chaste, Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought The frivolous bolt of Cupid ... (Comus, vs. 438-445)102 The typical and conventional use of the substitution is better demonstrated in these lines from "Another of his Cinthia", 1 0 3 a poem first printed for singing: 61

Barnes, Son. 40, Parthenophil... Lee, 1, 191. Watson, Son. 1, Teares of Fancie, Lee, I, 139. 93 Watson, Son. 41, Ibid., 155. 94 Barnes, Son. 70, Lee, I, 211. 96 Bar. Young, E. H„ p. 133. 99 Watson, E. H., p. 128. 97 Ralph Knevet, "Rhodern and Iris", I, iii (1631). Quoted in W. W. Greg, Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (London, 1906), p. 354. 98 "Another of his Cinthia", Ε. H., p. 165. 99 M. H. Nowell, Ε. H., p. 191. 100 Smith, Son. XI, Chloris, Lee, II, 330. 101 Son. VII, Chloris, Ibid., 328. 102 Ed. Merrit Hughes, p. 242. 108 E. H., p. 165. Verses first printed in Dowland's First Booke of Songes. 92



Away with these selfe-loving Lads, Whom Cupids arrowe never glads. Away poore soules that sigh and weepe, In love of them that lie and sleepe, For Cupid is a Meadow God: And forceth none to kisse the rod. God Cupids shaft like destenie, Dooth eyther good or ill decree.

The poem pleases without metaphorical consistency. It even seems to interrupt its own intention. The dual substitution of either Cupid or Cupid's arrows for love never becomes troublesome, although the phrasing derived from the basic image challenges restatement: Desert is borne out of his bowe, Reward upon his feete doth goe.

The praise of the power of Cupid is interrupted by another figurative comment, Where Honor, Cupids rivali is; There miracles are seene of his.

Here Cupid has to be an affection or quality, and not just a god. The expression "Cupid's yoke" 104 is a version perhaps individual with Sidney. The more frequent uses are "God Cupids lawes"105 and "Venus lawes".106 Sidney also supplies a variation upon love's arrow which comes close to Ralegh's use of suggestive substitution. No, the more fools do it shake In a ground of so firm making, Deeper still they drive the stake.107

The ground, since it may be used literally in this sense as well as figuratively, makes an excellent base for a figure upon the heart or the affections. "Venus sweet delight" (E. H., p. 213), "Cupids 1M

Sir Philip Sidney, Fourth Song, "Other Songs of Variable Verse". Lee, 1,70. Drayton, "The seaventh Eglog", Poemes, p. 78. ιοβ "Faire Phillis and her Sheepheard", E. H., p. 179. 107 Eleventh Song, "Variable Verse", Lee, I, 87. 106



cates and dainties" (2?. H., p. 120), " . . . sweete greefe ... Sweet miracle ... "sweete wound" (E. H., p. 127) represent the more saccharine attitudes of "Ignoto" and Bartholomew Yong. When Cupid himself stands for love, the epithets which characterize him usually reinforce the character given to love in the poem. The usual periphrase, not wholly adapted to its surroundings, is the word God or boy, plus the modifier little, naked, or winged, or, less often, blind. He may be "wanton" or "vaine", but when he is, the poet, we know, has a particular kind of experience to communicate. In other poems, Cupid acquires greater range of character. He may be a "naked poor boy", 108 "that self-loving Boy", 109 or a "fell conqueror". 110 The word "Love" may be used as a substitution for Cupid: "little love sore wounded lyes", 111 or "spightful Love alas hath slaine".112 The affections which tease Lodge's Rosalynde fly about as a wanton boy or bee (E. H., p. 140); in Drayton's pastoral setting, Cupid or love is a "wanton bantling". 118 When Cupid is acting as a mythological rather than an allegorical personage, the phrases describing him are also varied, although they parallel the substitutions for other purposes. Spenser's "little Love" in the March eclogue is in turn "lustie Love", "the little God", the "naked swayne" - all variations mostly for the sake of variation and atmosphere. Watson's sonnets include references to "the God of amarous Desire", "the winged boy", 114 "the God of Love",116 and "the feathered boy". 116 Barnes, who is exuberantly inventive, frequently suits his substitution to the matter and develops a metaphor upon the qualities he has suggested - usually with more confusion than success. Cupid is a "Captain blind" in Sonnet LX 117 (with the possibility 109 10> 110 111 112 118 114

11β 117

Barnes, Son. XCIII, Parthenophil..., Lee, I, 223. Smith, Son. XXI, Chloris, Lee, II, 335. Smith, Son. XXXVII, Ibid., 343. Drayton, E. H., p. 173. Anon, in Tottel, Surrey in E. H., "Harpalus Complaynt...", p. 38. "The seaventh Eglog", Poemes, p. 77. Son. II, Teures of Fände, Lee, I, 139. Son. IV, Ibid., 140. Son. VII, Ibid., 142. Parthenophil..., Lee, I, 205.



that the figure might represent the glance of the beloved), a proud beggar" and a "beggar boy" (Son. 93, p. 223), and "Love's Sergeant known" (Ode 16, p. 301). Other variations may or may not include a suggestion that Cupid is performing his activities in the heart as well as upon the external scene. In general, even of these groups of commonplace substitutions, it seems possible to say that the poets who substituted a standard poetic phrase for the literal word or idea remained conscious of the context surrounding the substitution. The stilting consequences of repetition sometimes appear, but seldom do the echoes resolve into complete nonsense.



The trite periphrase of the Elizabethan period is seldom entirely trite, because of the adaptability evidenced above. Its frequent use, or even occasional use, may nevertheless assist in creating scenes in a pastoral world far removed from the world of nature. But the scenes are not necessarily destructive of the realities they partly hide, nor does their artificiality inhibit the ease of the verse. In the charming anonymous poem "How Cupid made a Nymph wound her selfe with his Arrowes" 118 a use of periphrase occurs which demonstrates the flavor of such phrases. The God appears early on the scene. When Chance or else perhaps his Will, Did guide the God of Love that way ... Cupid's identification as the god of Love is a more casual and familiar phrase than the following substitution "The crafty boy that sees her sleep." Here the boy is observed replacing the nymph's arrows with his own, so that the staring shepherd whom she surprises and shoots is wounded only by love, and leaps up again to his pursuit. The "new-come Guest" (a periphrase not for Cupid but for love) enters the nymph's heart when she tests the arrow upon her own breast in spite of the observant poet's warning 118

Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, p. 12.



"Alas, thou knowest not Cupids craft." The inevitable then occurs, while The God of Love sittes on a tree, And laughes that pleasant sight to see. The "crafty boy" and "the new-come Guest" relate the substantive idea directly to the action of the poem. "The God of Love", used twice in the poem, has only the somewhat random justifications of meter and euphony. The style of the poem is light, and its summation of the action, as the action progresses through fifty-six light-metered lines, has the air of aphorism: "The more his wounds, the more his might, / Love yieldeth strength in midst of paine"; "Alas, thou knowest not Cupids craft, / Revenge is joy, the End is smart"; "Though mountaines meete not, Lovers may." This is a tempo in which the brief periphrase is much at home, whether its purpose is specific or not. The abrupt and well-ordered statement of action, as well as the quick formality of the generalization, makes a fitting situation for the added formality of periphrase. Triteness is somehow beside the point, unless it were blatant, in a performance which so well carries out its intention to formalize and make timeless, though more warmly than does Keats' urn, certain of mankind's continuous pursuits. What is true of this short narrative pastoral is even more clearly demonstrated in a less light-hearted poem, Matthew Roydon's contribution to the series of laments printed in 1595 as Astrophel, A Pastoral Elegìe upon the death of the most Noble and valorous Knight Sir Philip Sidney.119 This poem, entitled "An Elegie, or friends passion, for his Astrophil", was printed earlier as the first entry and title-piece of The Phoenix Nest, along with the Ralegh and Greville laments which also found their way into Astrophel. In the first place, the setting is not only formal, making use of the vision pattern of medieval poetry and the gradually built scene of forest creatures, trees, and birds set singing upon trees, a scene which rises familiarly with the description of many a medieval garden; but it makes use of scattered devices from 11

* In Spenser, Works, ed. Smith and de Selincourt, p. 556.



many other well-established themes, modes, and scenes. The immensely exaggerated picture of the lamenting lover appears, robed in bathos and cliché, although this figure, "earthly and pale with gastly cheare", is a mourner for death, not love. His lament calls, like many elegies, upon the sympathies of nature, and his lament itself is lugubrious and "heavie as a mount of lead", at least in the opening stanzas. The treatment of the sympathies of nature, when it is reported by the narrator of the vision, not by the agonizing protagonist, is almost equally heavy with convention. It depends strongly upon the popular unnatural lore of nature, as well as upon the conventional reactions of a responsive Arcadian countryside. Nature's response interrupts the mourner's description of the means of Astrophel's death in the internal lament, just as the mourner comes to the words "was slaine". The effect of her immediate violence can only be expressed by quotation. This word (was slaine) straightway did move, And natures inward life strings twitch, The skie immediately above, Was dimd with hideous clouds of pitch, The wrastling winds from out the ground, Fild all the aire with ratling sound. (vs. 181-186) In well-compressed six-line stanzas, the responses continue; "the bending trees exprest a grone", the beasts moan, and the birds, with Philomela as mistress of ceremonies, begin their laments. The turtledove, completely in character, follows Philomela; the swan re-phrases his dirge; and as a climax and perhaps a departure from the functions of the feathered kind in pastoral situations, the Phoenix, fired by the sorrow of the other birds, is burnt to cinders. The poet uses the situation for another pertinent, if not original, departure - the comment that Haply the cinders driven about, May breede an offspring neere that kinde, But hardly a peere to that I doubt, It cannot sinke into my minde, That under branches ere can bee Of worth and value as the tree. (vs. 211-216) As a conclusion to these feathered activities, the "egle" mounts with



the announcement to Jove of "What sorrow nature doth sustaine" because of the death of Astrophill. This tribute to Sidney and acknowledgment of his influence provides the title of the collection, and indicates, in addition, the quality of its verse. It is this quality, a mingling of the conventional and the spontaneous, the association of aims which may produce real response even for those not immersed in the current poetry, which gives the "Elegie, or friends passion" its charm, in spite of its flaws and tritenesses. Other conventions besides those noted may be prominent. Two areas of resource which must be mentioned, for the sake of their relation to periphrastic expression as well as to the structure of the poem, are the pastoral setting and the myth created to explain the death of the poem's Astrophill. The pastoral element, except for the appearnace of its typical treatment of nature, is minimized in this poem, although the figure of Astrophill can hardly be mentioned without providing a suggestion of pastoral poetry. The observer who introduces the scene wherein the speaker of the lament is found "groveling on the grasse" is not called a shepherd, though he may be intended for one, nor is the grovelling speaker a shepherd. But the lament itself names the wood of Arcadie (the present scene), the "chrystall liquid brooke" where the Muses met Sidney, and Stella, "a Nymph within this wood". The narrative of the mourner, however, instead of being founded on a suitable pastoral tale, adapted to the death of Sidney, is an adaptation of heroic mythological materials to the current event. Sidney has been robed by the Muses, and finally by Pallas herself, with all possible ornaments and graces, so that He sparkled in his armes afarres, As he were dight with fierie starrs. The blaze whereof when Mars beheld, (An envious eie doth see afar) Such maiestie (quoth he) is seeld,120 Such maiestie my mart may mar, Perhaps this may a suter be To set Mars by his deitie. 180

Rare (Glossary, Smith and de Selincourt).

(vs. 167-174)



It is Mars' gun, described periphrastically as follows: An iron cane wherein he put The thunder that in cloudes do breede and its action, The flame and bolt togither shut, With privie force burst out againe ...,

(vs. 176-180)

which account for the death of Astrophill. As the "Egle" vanishes, after the commentary of the birds, to report to Jove, the whole scene, mythological, medieval, and pastoral, disappears, and we are left with the observer, now periphrastically weeping. My molting hart issude, me thought, In streames forth at mine eies aright, And here my pen is forst to shrinke, My teares discollors so mine inke.

(vs. 229-234)

The sampling of periphrastic expression given in the enumeration of familiar themes and settings is not an unfair indication of the quality of the poem's verbal expression. The rhythm and the narrative of the poem move rapidly and move in tune; but the language expresses little originality or freshness. Freshness is lacking in the periphrases as well as in the simpler figure, the brief simile. Several examples have already been mentioned: the silent figure on the ground is likened to an image of stone, his tears are like "the streame of many springs", and his grief, as listed earlier, is heavy as a mountain of lead. The periphrases are not always so strikingly platitudinous, but they follow the usual patterns; in fact, the scene which opens the poem depends as strongly upon periphrase for its coloring as do the involved statements of Phoebus' morning or evening activities in the poems discussed earlier. The sunlight is "Phoebus golden haire", the beasts are "what of wilde or tame", the deer is "Acteons horned plant", the birds are "airie winged people", the nightingale is Philomel, and the cypress is "the tree that coffins doth adorne, / With stately height threatning the skie". Alcides' tree, the poplar, has its identification included with the description. As the poem progresses, a sigh is emitted



forceful enough to have "tome the vitall strings". Sidney is educated gracefully by being "fild with learned dew". A comparison of the force of love to the force of wine is conveyed through periphrase : "As Bacchus opes dissembled harts, / So love sets out our better parts." Persons are exalted and the death weapon romanticized by periphrase. Ladies are addressed as "Sweet saints", and Pallas has "attyrde / Our Astrophill with her device" (given him wisdom) so that he seems to belong to the "nation of the skies" (stars), at least until the reverberation of Mars' "iron cane" is heard. Periphrase, regardless of varying degrees or originality in metaphorical expression, fulfills many purposes. In regard to the relationship of mode and style, the periphrases here for objects in nature are so familiar as not to seem inconsistent with the pastoral mode. This poem, however, uses more of the familiar phrases than can go without notice. Some of these, moreover, follow the patterns of heroic verse, like those contained in the epic catalogue of trees, or those used as names for martial instruments. Even nature expresses sometimes an epic rather than a pastoral mood; there is no resignation to the loss of the poem's shepherd-hero; no consolation is derived from the implications of a natural or spiritual rebirth; and only a partial consolation from the literary rebirth of the Phoenix. It cannot sinke into my minde, That under branches ere can bee Of worth and value as the tree.

(vs. 214-216)

The poet is not playing with the conscious limitations of his mode, but expressing himself in the terms of an individual (so far as is possible) mood and poem, which have somehow managed to create a structure suitable to unique expression out of the utmost conventionality. Periphrase is not a tool of the mode, but of this individual expression. Such freedom is neither good nor bad except in terms of the poem ; but it may weaken a poem by removing pressure toward the kind of organic expression which made most of the periphrases of Spenser's pastoral verse apt and pointed. There are, however, other justifications for the use of the periphrases of "An Elegie, or friends passion ..." than those which



apply to the work of Spenser. Since these have been implied in the earlier discussions, if not already discussed, they can be summarized quite briefly here. First, as Donald Davie has very ably demonstrated,121 the sounds of a passage must be considered relevant to its content. Periphrase in Roydon's poem effectively follows the flow of speech. And although Roydon, like his master Spenser, may exaggerate both his descriptive impressions and his alliteration and syllabic repetitions, the effects are generally pleasing and self-consistent. In the opening stanza of description of Roydon's poem, the sky of blue glass in which "No swe/Zing cloude, âccloïd the dire", also "Re/?ecte