1] An experiment in classical metre sent to Gabriel Harvey by Spenser, in a letter dated October 5, 1579, from Leicester House, and published in the following year. Spenser says he is on familiar terms with Philip Sidney and Edward Dyer who "have proclaimed in their areiopago [Greek] a general surceasing and silence of bald rhymers ... instead whereof they have, by authority of their whole senate prescribed certain laws and rules of quantities of English syllables for English verse: having had thereof already great practice, and drawn me to their faction." The idea of substituting quantitative for accentual and rhyming verse was vigorously urged at this period by Ascham, Harvey, Webbe, Puttenham, and Campion; a very odd version of the Æneid in hexameters was brought out by Richard Stanyhurst in 1582; and Sidney included some of his quantitative poems in the Arcadia. But the new metre entirely failed of permanent adoption.
5] board. Table
6] virginals. A small harpsichord or spinet usually without legs.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: Edmund Spenser, Three proper, and wittie, familar letters (London: H. Bynneman, 1580). STC 23095
First publication date: 1580
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 1.108.
Recent editing: 4:2002/5/23
Form note: unrhyming syllabic verse (iambic trimeter)
Other poems by Edmund Spenser