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In both these passages Medusa is referred to as the mother
of Pegasus, the winged horse ; in the first, as among those who
won the love of Neptune, by whom she became the mother of

Apollodorus (2. 4. 3) and Ovid (Met. 6. 119) say that Medusa
was the mother of the horse by Neptune, which authors Spenser
follows. It should be added, however, that while Ovid says that
Neptune deceived Medusa in the shape of a bird, Spenser says
that it was as a winged horse a slight deviation, for which
there is apparently no classical authority.

The reference to her snaky locks is explained by Met. 4. 790
ff. : it was in the temple of Minerva that Neptune and Medusa
met, and the goddess punished such desecration by changing the
beautiful hair of Medusa to snaky locks.

MEG2ERA.-T. M. 164.

One of the three Furies, mentioned by Virgil (^En. 12. 846).
The daughters of Night, made hideous with serpents and provided
with swift wings, they strike terror to the hearts of mortals.

MEUTE. F. Q. 4. 11. 49. See Nereids.
MELPOMENE. S. C. NOT. 53. See Muses.
MENIPPE. F. Q. 4. 11. 51. See Nereids.

Spenser alludes to the messenger of the gods under the
names of Hermes, Mercury, and the son of Maia.

For the parentage of Mercury (F. Q. 4. 3. 42 ; 7. 6. 16 ;
M. H. T. 1257), see Maia.

In F. Q. 7. 6. 16 ff. ; M. H. T. 1257, Mercury appears as a
messenger. In'F. Q . 2. 12. 41 there is a reference to his rod,

With which he wonts the Stygian realmes invade
Through ghostly horror and eternall shade:
Th' infernall feends with it he can asswage,
And Orcus tame, whome nothing can persuade,
And rule the Furyes when they most doe rage.

In F. Q. 4. 3. 42, to this rod is compared one which is
wound with two serpents, crowned with an olive garland. In


M. If. T. 1292 the power of Mercury's caduceus in bringing
about continuous night at the time of Jupiter's intrigue with
Alcmena is referred to. In R. 7? 665 and M. H. T. 1257 the
wings of Mercury are mentioned.

Numerous passages from the Iliad and other writings might
be quoted to prove that Mercury was the messenger of the gods,
a fact which is playfully brought out in Lucian DiaL Dear. 24,
where Hermes grumbles over the numerous demands made upon

His magic staff also is mentioned in the Iliad ; and, in the
Horn. Hymn to Mercury, we learn that it was the gift of Apollo.
There is, however, no mention of the serpents until later times.
Hyginus (Poet. Astron. 2. 7), accounting for their presence on the
staff, says that Mercury one day came across two serpents fight-
ing one with the other. He extended his rod between them and
they separated. The rod, in consequence, became a token of
peace, and it was represented as adorned with two intertwined
serpents. Spenser, as if to emphasize the idea of peace, adds an
olive crown ; and there is a certain consistency in this, since by
some the olive-tree was believed to be the gift of Mercury and
not of Minerva (Diod. Sic. 1. 16. 2).

The power of this staff in calming certain creatures in
Hades is brought out by Spenser in the above-quoted passage.
There is a somewhat similar general statement in jEn. 4. 242 ff. ;
Lucian Dial. Dear. 7. For a particular instance, see Od. 24. 1
ff., where Homer describes Mercury conducting the souls of the
suitors to the Lower World. See also Lucian, Dial. Mort, passim.

For the power of Mercury's caduceus at the time of Jove's
intrigue with Alcmena, see //. 24. 343, where to Mercury is at-
tributed the power of granting or withholding sleep by the
exercise of his wand,

Although Mercury is generally represented as with wings,
all writers do not agree in placing the wings : some make them
an adornment of his hat ; others, of his staff ; while others, like
Spenser, place them upon his feet. With Spenser compare JEn.
4. 239. It is, of course, more than probable that Spenser was
indebted to works of art also for his conception of Mercury and
his attributes.


F. Q. 7. 6. 14, and 7. 7. 51 refer to Mercury as a planet.
Spenser follows the Ptolemaic system when, in the first of these
passages, he says that Mercury " next [to the moon] doth raigne."

MINERVA. Mui. 273. See Arachne
MINOS. -V. G. 78.

One .of the judges in the Lower World : " Minos rules the
scrutiny, and shakes the urn ; he convokes the conclave of the
silent dead, and learns their lives, and the charges brought
against them." JEn. 6. 432 ff.

MNEMOSYNE. F. Q. 3. 11. 35.

Spenser is again indebted to the list of Jove's transforma-
tions mentioned by Ovid. See Met. 6. 114. Mnemosyne is re-
ferred to in the other passages as Memory, for which see Muses.

MCENADES. F. Q. 5. 8. 47. See Msenades.

When Archimago sends one of his legions of sprites to the
house of Morpheus to obtain from the god of sleep " A fit false
dreame, that can delude the sleepers sent" (F. Q. 1. 1. 38 ff.), he
is simply following Juno, who sent Iris to the god of sleep with
a similar request that he would dispatch a dream to Halcyone,
telling her of the death of her husband Ceyx (Met. 11. 590 ff.).
A comparison of these two passages will reveal their general
similarity, although in certain minor points there is a difference :
thus, for instance, with Ovid, Morpheus is but one of the thou-
sand sons of Father Sleep who, as dreams, do the bidding of their
master; while, with Spenser, Morpheus himself is the god of
sleep, having the dreams in his control. But the abode of sleep,
its situation, the quietness pervading it, and the drowsiness of
the god, are practically the same in both accounts. The twin
portals of sleep are not from Ovid, however, but from Virgil
(Mn. 6. 893 ff.; cf. Od. 19. 562 ff.).

The leaden mace of Morpheus (F. Q. 1. 4. 44) may have
been suggested to our poet by the Lethe-drenched branch which
the god of sleep shakes over the head of Palinurus (&n. 5. 854),
or perhaps by Hermes' soporific wand (Od. 5. 47 ; JEn. 4. 244).
See also F. Q. 6. 8. 34 ; V. B. 15.



In the number and names of the Muses as given in The Teares
of the Muses, Spenser follows the list of Hesiod (Theog. 77 ff.);
but the distinct arts which Spenser attributes to the " sacred
Sisters nine " are not mentioned by Hesiod, except in the case of
Calliope, who is named as the most honored of the Muses, the
one who sings of the great acts of virtuous monarchs. With
Hesiod, poetry in general is the province of all the Muses, and
with their master Apollo they give inspiration to the poet :

Bless'd whom with eyes of love the Muses view,
Sweet flow his words, gentle as falling dew.

Spenser, however, follows later authorities, and distinguishes
a special province for each of the nine :

Clio speaks as the Muse of History, who registers noble
feats, and keeps alive the memory of them from age to age.
Compare Anth. Lot. 664.

Melpomene declares that it is her part " The Stage with
Tragick buskin to adorne." Compare Hor. Carm. 1. 24.

Thalia boasts that she is the queen of comedy. Compare
Anth. Lot. 664.

Euterpe speaks as the Muse of lyric poetry. Compare
Hor. Carm. 1.1.

Terpsichore is the Muse of the choral song and dance, who
" earst in joyance did abound." Compare Plato, Phcedr. 259 C.

Erato sings, "Love wont to be schoolmaster of my skill."
Compare Plato, Phcedr. 259 D.

Calliope, as Muse of the epic, boasts that she is the nurse
of virtue, immortalizing the deeds of heroes. See above.

Urania, as Muse of astronomy, talks of the stars and her
" heavenlie discipline." Compare Anth. Lat. 664 ; Plato, Phcedr.
259 D.

Polyhymnia utters her lament in the capacity of the Muse
of lofty hymns. Compare Hor. Carm. 1. 1.

Thus, also, in other poems, Spenser preserves the distinct
offices of the several Muses : Calliope, F. Q. 7. 6. 37 ; Clio, F. Q.
3. 3. 4 ; 7. 6. 37 ; Melpomene, S. C. Nov. 53.

E. K., in his note on Calliope (S. C. Apr. 100), has in mind


Anth. Lat. 664 a poem already cited when he assigns to this
Muse " The firste glorye of Heroical verse," and attributes to
Virgil a line in regard to Polyhymnia, with which he disagrees.
And again, in his note on Melpomene (5. C. Nov. 53), E. K.
quotes from the same poem, attributing it also to Virgil :

Melpomene tragico proclainat moesta boatu.

There is a discrepancy in Spenser's references to the paren-
tage of the Muses. The passages touching upon this point are
of. two classes : those which refer to Jove as their father, and
those which mention Apollo in that relation. See F. Q. 4. 11.
10 ; S. C. June 66 ; R. T. 369 ; and F. Q. 1. 11. 5 ; 3. 3. 4 ; T. M.
2 ; Ep. 121. Whenever the mother of the Muses is mentioned,
it is Mnemosyne (Memory).

The weight of classical authority is in support of making
Jove and Mnemosyne the parents of the Muses. (See Theog.~)
There seems to be very slight ground for calling Apollo their
father ; though his intimate connection with the Muses, as their
leader, would quite naturally suggest it.

Spenser deviates from the classics in calling the Muses the
sisters of Phaeton, who drove the chariot of the Sun (T. M. 11) ;
and in saying that Calliope was the mother of the Palici (T. M.
13). See Phaeton and Palici.

Certain haunts of the Muses are especially mentioned in
T. M., passim, as elsewhere in Spenser's poems. These are the
spring on Mt. Helicon (see Pegasus) ; Mt. Parnassus (especially
sacred to Apollo and therefore to the Muses because the
oracle of Delphi was at its base. See Horn. Hymn to Apollo
(Pythian) ; Paus. 10. 5. 6); and the "speaking streams of pure
Castalion." (Compare " Castaliae vocalibus undis Invisus."-
Stat. Silv. 5. 5.)

Calliope is further named in June, 57. Other general refer-
ences to the Muses are too numerous to mention.

The office of the Muses is suggestively stated in the Horn.
Hymn to the Muses and Apollo :

The Muses, Jove and Phoebus, now I sing:
For from the far-off-shooting Phoebus spring
All poets and musicians ; and from Jove
Th' ascent of kings. The man the Muses love,


Felicity blesses; elocution's choice
In syrup laying, of sweetest breath, his voice.
Hail, seed of Jove, my song your honors give ; ,
And so, in mine, shall yours and others' live.

MYRRHA. F. Q. 3. 2. 41. See Adonis.

The epithet " Arabian " is explained by the tradition that
Myrrha in her flight over wide countries rested in Sabsea, in Ara-
bia Felix (see Met. 10. 480). Compare Virg. Ciris, 237.

NAIS. F. Q. 7. 7. 40. See Chiron.


Foolish Narcisse, that likes the watry shore.

F. Q. 3. 6. 45.

. . . lyke Narcissus vaine,
Whose eyes him starv'd.

Am. 35.

The story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflec-
tion in the water, and was transformed into the flower, is related
in Met. 3. 402.

NELEUS. F. Q. 4. 11. 14. See Sea-Gods.

NE1VLS3AN (lion). F. Q. 5. Int. 6; 7. 7. 36; Mui. 72. See Hercules.

NEMERTEA. F. Q. 4. 11. 61. See Nereids.

NEMESIS. -Mui. 2.

In this passage Nemesis appears as the spiteful instigator of
a quarrel " Betwixt two mightie ones of great estate."

This is not in accord with the earliest classical conception of
Nemesis, as the personification of a regard for what is due ; but
rather with the later conception of this divinity, as envious of the
prosperity of mortals and of a vengeful character. Eurip. Orest.
1362; Soph. Elec. 792.

NEPENTHE. F. Q. 4. 3. 42 ff.

The name of this magic potion is from the Greek adjective
i/)irei<0)js, dispelling sorrow, which is employed in Od. 4. 221 to
describe a drug which allayed all care. Spenser is, no doubt,
indebted to this passage for his description.



"... And to me fell the hoary sea, to be my habitation for
ever, when we shook the lots." Thus says Neptune (Poseidon)
to Iris, when he relates the partition of the universe among Jupi-
ter, Pluto, and himself (II. 15. 187 ff.) ; and thus he appears in
all classical literature as the god of the sea and watery elements
in general. Compare F. Q. 1. 3. 32 ; 2. 6. 10 ; 3. 4. 10 ; 7. 7. 26.

Sometimes Spenser employs the name Neptune to denote a
mere personification of the sea, as in F. Q. 3. 4. 32, where the
surface of the waves is called the back of Neptune (compare //.
2. 159) ; and in F. Q. 3. 4. 42, where it is designated as the
neck of Neptune (compare Lucret. 2. 472).

In F. Q. 3. 11. 40 we have a striking and elaborate picture of
the god of the seas ; he is seated in a chariot drawn by four
great "hippodames," and in his hand he wields a trident. In
regard to the hippodames, the Century Dictionary may be cited
in support of the probability that Spenser had in mind the hippo-
campus, a sea-monster on which the sea-gods, and especially Nep-
tune, rode. See Strab. 384, and compare Philostratus 774. The
trident is the familiar attribute of Neptune. The whole picture
may have been suggested to our poet by ^En. 1. 142 ff., where the
god is described as riding upon the waves in his chariot, drawn
by steeds, the trident in his hand ; but it is consistent with the
representations of Neptune in art also. See Paus. 2. 1, a passage
describing the statues before the temple of Poseidon at Corinth.

For the contest between Neptune and Minerva over the nam-
ing of Athens (Mui. 306 ff.), see Arachne.

In F. Q. 3. 8. 30 the mighty herd of Neptune in charge of
Proteus, the shepherd of the seas, is mentioned. This passage is
undoubtedly derived from those verses of the Odyssey (4. 384 ff.)
which describe Proteus and his flock ; whence it appears that the
herd was composed of phocce, or seals, or as Spenser calls them
farther on phocas.

When the Medway and the Thames were united, an impos-
ing marriage-feast was held in the house of Proteus, to which
came a numerous company of sea-gods, with their offspring
(F. Q. 4. 11. 8 ff.). At the head of this august procession were
Neptune and his bride, the lovely Amphitrite. See Amphitrite.


But the affections of the variable god of the seas were not con-
fined to one. In F. Q. 4. 9. 23 and 3. 11. 42, his love for Arne,
the daughter of ^Eolus, is cited. For this and the other immedi-
ate references to the loves of Neptune, see under the several names.
The " great equipage Which from great Neptune do derive
their parentage," and which are enumerated in F. Q. 4. 11. 13 ff.,
are considered under the heads of Sea-Gods and Founders of


To the wedding of the Medway and the Thames came the
fifty Nereids, daughters of Nereus and Doris (F. Q. 4. 11. 48 ff.).
In the number of these nymphs Spenser follows Hesiod, who
mentions fifty (Theog. 243 ff.) ; Homer names only thirty-three
(//. 18. 39 ff.), and Apollodorus, forty-five (1. 2. 7). For
the names, also, Spenser is indebted to Hesiod in all but two
instances : in place of Thoe and Cymatolege, Spenser gives Phao
and Poris, names which are not given in the lists of either
Homer or Apollodorus, nor are they mentioned by any ancient
author, so far as is known. They are, then, probably original
with Spenser himself. The nymph Eudora of Hesiod and Apol-
lodorus appears in Spenser as Endore. According to Upton this
is a misprint.

In regard to the epithets employed, Spenser follows no origi-
nal with exactness. While Apollodorus employs no epithets to
describe the Nereids, Homer but three, and Hesiod not more than
fourteen, Spenser lavishes adjectives or descriptive phrases upon
all but five. The following lists will show the instances in which
Spenser agrees with or varies from Hesiod in this matter :


White hand Eunica poSoirrtxvs

Joyous Thalia e'pdco-cra

Sweete Melita \apieaaa

Milkewhite Galatea . cvei^s

Speedy Hippothoe epdecrcra

And she that with her least word K.viJ.oS6Krj ff, $ KVHO.T'

can asswage The surging seas, tv rjfpoeiSei -novrta

when they do sorest rage, -avoids re a0eW di-e/iwi/

Cymodoce, aw Kv/ua.ToAjyf/

"Peta TTprjui/ei ical

Goodly Amphitrite ev<r<f>utp<p 'A/u.</HTpiT7j



And, seeming still to smile, Glauconome . . . </>tAofi/iiS>js

Fresh Aliuieda deckt with girlond greene . . . cvorc^apot

Hyponeo with salt-bedewed wrests poSonrixvs

And Psamathe [much praised] for her brode

snowy brests \apiftra-a fie>as

And she that virtue loves and ^VTJI/ T eparri KOL

vice detests, Euarna e'Sos a/ic<o/xos

Menippe true in trust Sir;

And Nemertea learned well to >) Trarpbs e^ei voov

rule her lust. aOavdroio.

After summing up the Nereids (F. Q. 4. 11. 52) Spenser
says :

And yet, besides, three thousand more there were
Of th' Oceans seede, but Joves and Phoebus kinde;
The which in floods and fountains doe appere,
And all mankinde do nourish with their waters clere.

That is, he means to say that although the native element of
these nymphs is the water, yet in their rank and character they
are associated with Zeus and Apollo. In support of this may
be cited such passages as 11. 20. 8, where the nymphs are repre-
sented as present at one of the Olympic assemblies with Zeus
and the other gods ; also, on account of the prophetic power
which certain fountains were supposed to confer on those who
drank of them, the nymphs who inhabited them were regarded
as endowed with oracular power. Thus is Spenser justified in
saying that they are of the same nature with Phoebus. In sup-
port of this see Paus. 4. 27.

NEREIS. -V. G. 71.

A patronymic from Nereus, one of the Nereids, daughters
of Nereus.


This sea-god is called by our poet " th' eldest and the best "
of the children of Ocean and Tethys (F. Q. 4. 11. 18), and is
further described as possessed of an upright character, and en-
dowed with the gift of prophecy. This passage is an amplifica-
tion of Theog. 233 ff. ; although Hesiod says that Nereus was
born of Ocean and Earth, rather than of Ocean and Tethys,


who were the parents of numerous rivers, and so considered by
Spenser in this passage. It appears from Hesiod that Nereus
was the firstborn of his parents, and was respected for his "wise
moderation, an indirect allusion to his prophetic genius. Horace
devotes one of his odes to the prophecy of Nereus concerning
the fall of Troy (Corm. 1. 15), and other cases of his foretelling
the future might be mentioned.

Nereus became by Doris the father of fifty Xereids (F. Q. 4.
11. 52), among whom is mentioned Thetis, as also in V. G. 62.
See Doris and Nereids.

In F. Q. 3. 4. 19 he is mentioned as the father of Cymoent.

As a god of the sea, he appears in F. B. 13, and in F. Q.
1. 3. 31, the grateful sailor, safe returned to port, crowns the god
with cups.

NES.S3A. F. Q. 4. 11. 49. See Nereids.
NESO. F. Q. 4. 11. 60. See Nereids.
TJTP.TTT.-F.ns _ Y. G. 22. See Nyctelius.

NTNTJS. F. q. 1. 5. 48; 2. 9. 21; 2. 9. 56; B. T. 611.

Ninus and his wife Semiramis, the reputed founders of the
Assyrian empire, must be regarded as mythical characters. Dio-
dorus Siculus (2. 1 ff.) relates the numerous wars of this king ;
his conquests were so great that Spenser is warranted in saying
that he was " of all the world obeyed."

Diodorus says Semiramis was the founder of Babylon (tower
of Babel, Spenser) but the achievements of Ninus and his wife
are so closely connected as to warrant Spenser in attributing this
work to Xinus. Diodorus mentions the Assyrian bitumen abound-
ing in the region around Babylon, of which the walls of the city
were built. Spenser, it will be noticed, somewhat carelessly calls
this " ^Egyptian slime."

NIOBE. -F. Q. 4. 7. 30; 5. 10. 7 ; S. C. Apr. 87.

These passages may all be explained in the light of Met. 6.
146 ff., which relates that Xiobe, the mother of seven sons and
as many daughters, showed contempt for Latona, the mother of
but two children, Apollo and Diana. In punishment for this,


Latona's children killed all the offspring of Niobe, and she herself
was turned into a rock.


A name of Bacchus ; it was given to him because his orgies
were celebrated at night. Serv. JEn. 4. 383.

OGYGES. F. Q. 3. 8. 30. See Founders of Nations.
CENONE.-F. Q. 3. 9. 36; 6. 9. 36.

She was a river-nymph of Mt. Ida, whom Paris married
while still a shepherd, and before he was acknowledged as the son
of Priam. Together they lived a simple pastoral life, until their
happiness was ended by the judgment which Paris made concern-
ing the relative beauty of Juno, Minerva, and Venus, a decision
which gave Helen to Paris, and brought on the Trojan War.

The perfidy of Paris wounded (En one, and Ovid embodies
her protests in the form of a letter (Her. 5). See Apoll. 3. 12.6
for a statement of the simple facts.

It was said that Paris had a son, Corythus, by GEnone (Tzet.
Lye. 57), and Spenser skillfully calls him Parius, and makes him
the progenitor of Paridell. See also Apollo.

OPS. F. Q. 7. 7. 26.

Spenser mentions Ops as the goddess of the earth, a state-
ment authorized by Macrobius, who says that Ops was regarded
as the wife of Saturn, " quos, etiam nonnullis cselum ac terram esse
persuasum est, Saturnumque a satu dictum, cuius causa de cselo
est, et terram opem, cuius ope humanse vitse alimenta quaeruntur,
vel ab opere per quod fructus frugesque nascuntur." Sat. 1. 10.

ORCUS. F. Q. 2. 12. 41; 6. 12. 26.

The ancients use this name to signify both the Infernal
Regions and a god of Hell, synonymous with Pluto.

Spenser, in both these passages, speaks of Orcus as a grim,
inexorable divinity. Compare 11. 9. 158, where he is described as
so implacable that in the eyes of mortals he is the most hateful of
the gods ; and Horace, Carm. 2. 3, where he is said to be pitiless.


ORESTES F. Q. 4. 10. 27.

Among the celebrated friendships named iu this passage,
that of Pylades and Orestes is cited. The Orestes of Euripides
brings out the strength and beauty of their devotion to each other
in a conversation between the two friends, when Orestes is facing
the wrath of the Argives over the murder of his mother. Orestes
hails Pylades as the partner of his soul ; and Pylades asks :

. . . "Where shall friendship show its faith,
If now in thy afflictions I forsake thee?

. . . And now in Ocean deep
Orion, flying fast from hissing snake,
His flaming head did hasten for to steep.

F. Q. 2. 2. 46.

This poetical description of the setting of Orion rests upon
the myth concerning his death. All authorities agree as to his
life : it was that of a hunter devoted- to the same pursuit that
Diana loved ; but there is not the same agreement as regards
his death. Hyginus (Fab. 195) says simply that he was killed
by Diana because of an attempt to violate her. Ovid (Fast.
5. 537) relates that, after Orion had boasted that there was
no wild beast which he was unable to conquer, the earth sent
forth a scorpion, which attempted to seize upon Latona. Orion,
opposing it, was killed, and Latona added him to the num-
ber of the stars. According to Homer (Od. 5. 121) Aurora
incurred the anger of Diana by her love for Orion, and in ven-
geance Diana pierced him with her arrows. Apollodorus (1. 4.
5) says that he was killed by the darts of Diana, either for chal-
lenging her to a game of discus, or for violating Opis. It will
be seen that with no one of these accounts does Spenser exactly
agree. He says :

Upon a dreadful scorpion he did ride,
The same which by Dianaes doom unjust
Slew great Orion.

F. Q. 7. 7. 39.

For such an account of his death we must turn to Lucan 9.
836. See also Serv. JEn. 1. 539.

Hyginus (Poet. Astron. 2. Scorpius) says that the scorpion in
the heavens is the one which the earth produced in defiance of


Orion's boast, and that Jupiter admitted it to the number of the
stars that it might ever serve as a warning to men against too
great self-confidence. He further adds that Diana obtained from
Jupiter the favor that when the scorpion rose Orion should set.

In F. Q. 1. 3. 31 we have a reference to fierce Orion's hound.
This is the dog-star, which Hyginus says (Poet. Astron. 2. Canis)
was according to some accounts the dog of the hunter Orion.

For F. Q. 4. 11. 13, see Sea-Gods.


What has already been said of Linus, who is mentioned as
a poet in connection with Orpheus (R. T. 333), will apply to
Orpheus, only that, in the group of half-historical and half-
mythological characters to which they both belong, Orpheus, the
reputed inventor of music, is the more important. Many are

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