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31. Her veil was wimpled, or folded, low so as to hide her face.

32. black stole, a black hood, such as nuns wear.

56. A shadie grove, the Wood of Error, into which the Red Cross Knight and Una were driven by a storm. Later in the story, they

find the Cave of Error, and the Knight


68. can is used here for gan or began.

69. sayling pine.


rushes in and slays the

Pine is used partly in the construction of sailing

70. the poplar never dry. The poplar flourishes in damp spots.

71. The builder oake.


Oak is used, of course, for all sorts of building

72. the cypresse funerall.

in decorating graves. 78. weene, think.

79. doubt, fear.

Cypress in old days was frequently used


This extract is taken from The Shepheardes Calendar, which was Spenser's earliest work of note. The Shepheardes Calendar is a pastoral poem, dealing with the delights and sorrows of rustic life. It is divided into twelve parts, one for each month of the year. Spenser and his friends, under rustic names, are the chief characters in the poem. In the selection here printed, two shepherd boys, Willie and Thomalin, are the speakers.

LINE 2. han, have.

3. cast, decided.

6. tooting, looking about, searching.

7. todde, a thick bush.

8. the little God, Cupid, the god of love.

13. Tho, then.

14. some quicke, some live thing.

17. earnd, yearned, desired.

19. swayne, a boy.

22. gylden, golden.

29. Tho pumie stones I hastly hent, then pumice stones I hastily seized. Pumice is volcanic lava and is very light and porous.

31. so wimble and so wight, so nimble and so active.

33. latched, caught.

35 earst. at first.

38. For then, at that time.

42. Ne wote, nor know.

44. Perdie, a common oath, which meant little more than assuredly or certainly.

48. wroken, avenged.

54. Else he would have been sorely frightened.

55. Welkin, the sky.

56. Phebus, the sun. The line means that the sinking sun was burying itself in the clouds.



This is a song by Amiens, one of the banished gentlemen in As You Like It.

LINE 3. turn his merry note, shape his song to the music of the bird.


This is the second song of Amiens.

LINE 12. bite so nigh, bite so deep.

14. warp, freeze.

16. As friend remembered not, as forgotten friendship.


This is the dirge sung by two young princes in Cymbeline over the body of Fidele, their page, who is really their sister, Imogen, in disguise.

LINE II. Sceptre, learning, physic, kings, scholars, doctors.

14. thunder-stone, the thunderbolt.

18. Consign to thee, agree with thee in dying, join thee in death.

19. exorciser, a magician who could call the dead from their graves.

21. unlaid. A ghost was said to be 'laid' when it was prevented from wandering and put to rest by prayers or charms.

23. consummation, ending, rest.


This morning song is also from Cymbeline. It is sung under the window of Imogen, the heroine of the play.

LINE 2. Phoebus, the sun.

5. Mary-buds, marigolds.



This song and the two following are sung by Ariel, the fairy servant of the enchanter Prospero, in The Tempest.

LINE 4. whist, being hushed or stilled.

5. Foot it featly, dance daintily.

6. the burden bear, sing the chorus.


LINE 1. Full fathom five, five fathoms deep. — thy father, Alonzo, King of Naples, father of Prince Ferdinand, to whom Ariel is singing. Alonzo and Ferdinand had both been shipwrecked, and the prince thought that his father was drowned.

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Ariel has received from Prospero a promise of freedom from all service. He sings this song rejoicing in his prospect of liberty.

LINE 5. After summer. departing summer.

Ariel will fly upon a bat's back after the



LINE 2. my outcast state. There is, perhaps, a reference in this phrase to Shakespeare's position as an actor. In his time actors, unless under the patronage of some nobleman, were classed by the law with sturdy rogues and vagabonds, and were heartily despised by the sober citizens to whose class Shakespeare by birth belonged.

6. Featur'd like him, possessing his personal beauty. — with friends possess'd, possessing friends.

7. scope, breadth of mind.

10. my state, my position in life.


This sonnet is one of a number in which Shakespeare laments his advancing age, and contrasts it with the youth and beauty of his noble friend. We do not know exactly when the Sonnets were written, but Shakespeare could not have been over thirty-seven years of age at most. But men lived faster in those days than now, and no doubt Shakespeare, who ended his active life before the age of fifty, felt himself very old in comparison with his young friend.

LINE 4 choirs. Shakespeare is thinking of some of the ruined abbeys of England, with their roofless arches and broken windows The choir

is the part of a church where the singers are placed.

14. To love that well, to love me well, because I cannot stay long with you.


LINE 1. the chronicle of wasted time, the history of the past.

2. wights, mortals.

5. blazon, a term of heraldry, here equivalent to a poetic description. 7. their antique pen, the pen of the old poets.

8. you master, you are possessed of.

11-14. Since the old poets never saw your beauty, they were unable to celebrate it as it deserves. Even we who see it and wonder at it cannot praise it properly.

11. divining eyes, prophetic eyes.


This sonnet is one of the noblest of the series. It shows Shakespeare's idea of true love, or perfect friendship, unalterable and steadfastly enduring.

LINE I. the marriage, the perfect union.

2. Admit impediments, admit that there can be hindrances.

4. with the remover to remove, true love does not falter even when the person who is loved withdraws his affection.

8. Whose influence on men's lives is unknown, although astronomers may calculate its distance from the earth. The reference is to astrology, the science which taught that men's lives were influenced by the stars.

9. Time's fool, the mock or sport of Time.

10. his bending sickle's compass, the sweep of the curved scythe with which Time cuts down earthly beauty.

12. the edge of doom, the judgment day, or the end of all things.



Sidney is one of the most brilliant and attractive figures of the reign of Elizabeth. Although he died at the age of thirty-two, he was already famous as a soldier, a statesman, a poet, a novelist, and the pattern of all knightly virtues, or, as his friend Spenser called him, "the president of noblesse and of chevairee."


Most of Sidney's poetry is elaborate and somewhat artificial; but the little ditty here given is simplicity itself.

THOMAS LODGE (1556 (?)–1625)

Lodge was one of the band of scholar poets, playwrights, and pamphleteers who were prominent in London just before Shakespeare. This song is taken from his prose tale, Rosalind, a story which furnished Shakespeare with the plot of As You Like It. It was written to beguile the tedium of a voyage to the Canary Islands.


A madrigal is a short love song written for music.

LINE 9. wanton, rogue, used in playful sense.

15. if so, if.

18. Whist, be quiet.

34. I like of thee, I delight in thee.

THOMAS NASH (1567-1601)

Nash was one of the group of gentlemen poets and prose writers already mentioned. He was a friend of Marlowe and of Greene; Shakespeare's patron, the Earl of Southampton, was also a benefactor of Nash.

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