Shepheardes Calender

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The earliest important work of Spenser (1579), dedicated to Sidney. It was illustrated by woodcuts and had accompanying glosses by one ‘E.K.’ (see Kirke, E.).

It consists of 12 eclogues, one for each month of the year, written in different metres, and modelled on the eclogues of Theocritus, Virgil, and more modern writers, such as Mantuan and Marot. They take the form of dialogues among shepherds, except the first and last, which are complaints by ‘Colin Clout’, the author himself. Four of them deal with love, one is in praise of Elisa (Queen Elizabeth), one a lament for a ‘mayden of greate bloud’, four deal allegorically with matters of religion or conduct, one describes a singing‐match, and one laments the contempt in which poetry is held.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Edmund Spenser (1552—1599) poet and administrator in Ireland

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