Edward George Harman.

Edmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon online

. (page 9 of 55)
Online LibraryEdward George HarmanEdmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon → online text (page 9 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

they may prove of interest.

The first appearance of Marinell is in Canto iv. of
Book III.:

Bold Marinel of Britomart

Is throwne on the Rich strond.

(Metrical summary.)


The capital " R " is evidently intentional, because it is

repeated in the canto :

For never man he suflfred by that same
Rich strond to travell. (20.)

Soone as they bene arriv'd upon the brim
Of the Rich Strond. (34.)

Compare :

So fell proud Marinell upon the pretious shore. (17.)
that wealthy Strond. (29.)

Marinell withstands Britomart's passage upon the

shore, with a stroke —

that made her downe
Decline her head and touch her crouper with her crown. (15.)

Recovering, she pierces him " through his three-square
scuchin," and leaves him for dead (16). Passing on she
wonders at the " pearles and pretious stones," etc., which
she sees scattered on the shore, but would not stay for
them, "for all was in her powre " (18). Marinell's
mother is " Cymoent," daughter of Nereus, who bore
"this warlike sonne into an earthly peare, the famous
Dumarin " (19), and reared him up until he became "a
mighty man at armes," who made travellers by the " Rich
strond" to do battle with him (20). At her request
Nereus made the wealth of the sea, and from wrecks, to
flow to " his Nephew " (22), so that that shore was heaped
with riches from all the world and with whatever —

The sea unto him voluntary brings ;

That shortly he a great Lord did appeare,

As was in all the land of Faery, or elsewheare.

Marinell's mother, on hearing of his downfall, " threw
herselfe downe on the Continent"^ (30), and in lamenting

' The "Continent." This expression also occurs in the fight of Timias
with the "three fosters" (foresters) in III. v. 25 :

" With that he would have fled into the wood ;
But Timias him lightly overhent,
Right as he entring was into the flood,
And strooke at him with force so violent,
That headlesse him into the foord he sent :


him says that the heavens might have allowed her to
close his eyes —

and him bed farewell,
Sith other offices for mother meet

They would not graunt

Yet, maulgre them, farewell, my sweetest sweet.

There are probably no missing words in the third line,
the sentence merely breaking off owing to the allusion
being dangerous. If there were, the rhyme would be with
" farewell."

With this incident, which evidently relates to some
legal dispute with the Crown, the story of Florimell is
mixed up :

The carcas with the streame was carried downe,

But th' head fell backeward on the Continent ;

So mischief fel upon the meaners crowne.

They three be dead with shame, the Squire lives with renowne."

The meaning is closely hidden ; but I think the episode probably refers
to the unpopular French marriage, and points to the fact that Ralegh's
appearance at Court may, by his engaging the Queen's affections, have done
much to prevent it. In that construction the " three fosters " would be
Charles IX., Anjou (afterwards Henry III.), and Alen^on (d. 1584). Proposals
of marriage were made at different times by Catherine on behalf of all
the three brothers. There is apparently an allusion to these proposals, as
regards the two elder, in one of the Partheniades (addressed to the Queen),
which the supposed " Puttenham " refers to as his own work :

" A constante mynde, a courage chaste and colde,

Where loue lodget not, nor loue bathe any powres ;

Not Venus brandes nor Cupide can take holde

Nor speeche prevayle, teares, plainte, purple, or golde ;
Honoure n'empire, nor youfhe in all his flowers ;

This wott ye all full well yf I do lye,

Kinges, and kinges peeres, who have soughte farr and wye,
But all in vayne, to bee her paramoures.

Since two Capetts, three Cezaimes assayde.

And bidd repulse of the great Britton mayde."

I think "Cezaimes" is probably a word formed out of "Caesar" and
"aimer," and the reference would be to the marriage proposals of Philip of
.Spain, the Archduke, and the King of Sweden. (For .in account of these
poems, see The Arte of English Poesie, 1589, Arber Reprints, 1906, p. 11.)

This note, however, is subject to the remarks on the dual character of
Timias in Clia|)ter XVII. The writer may, in this incident, be thinking rather
of his own prowess in withstanding the French marriage through the letter
presented to the Queen \>y Sir Philip Sidney in 1580, of which I believe
Bacon to be the author (see Chapter VII.). See also the remarks about
Mother HubberJs Tale in Chapter VI.


The tydinges bad,
Which now in Faery court all men doe tell,
Which turned hath great mirth to mourning sad,
Is the late ruine of proud Marinell,
And sudden parture of faire Florimell
To find him forth : and after her are gone
All the brave knightes that doen in armes excell
To saveguard her ywandred all alone. (III. viii. 46.)

Florimell is a beautiful character. She is first heard
of as being pursued by a " foule ill-favoured foster" (III.
i. 17 and v. 6), who appears there to represent some one
of brutal manners who wished to marry her. She is
described as —

a gentle Lady of great sway
And high accompt throughout all Elfin land. (III. v. 4.)


Lives none this day that may with her compare

In steadfast chastitie and vertue rare

The goodly ornaments of beautie bright ;

And is ycleped Florimell the fayre,

Faire Florimell belov'd of many a knight,

Yet she loves none but one, that Marinell is hight.

{Ibid. 8.)


All her delight is set on Marinell,

But he sets nought at all by Florimell. {Ibid. 9.)

She has various sorrowful adventures (III. vii. and viii.),
which, in viii. 20, are referred to as follows :

But Florimell her selfe was far away,
Driven to great distresse by fortune straunge.
And taught the carefuU Mariner to play,
Sith late mischaunce had her compeld to chaunge
The land for sea, at randon there to raunge :
Yett there that cruell Queene avengeresse,
Not satisfyde so far her to estraunge
From courtly blis and wonted happinesse,
Did heape on her new waves of weary wretchednesse.

She reappears in Part II., having been imprisoned in
a sea-dungeon by Proteus, because she will not yield to
his desire :

And all this was for love of Marinell
Who her despysed. (IV. xi. 5.)


Marinell hears her in her sea -prison lamenting his
hardness of heart, and, smitten with remorse, falls desper-
ately in love with her. His mother thereupon arranges
matters :

To Proteus selfe to sew she thought it vaine,
Who was the root and worker of her woe.
Nor unto any meaner to complaine ;
But unto great king Neptune selfe did goe,
And, on her knee before him falHng lowe.
Made humble suit unto his Majestic
To graunt to her her sonnes life, which his foe,
A cruell Tyrant, had presumpteouslie
By wicked doome condemn'd a wretched death to die.

To whom God Neptune, softly smyling, thus :
" Daughter, me seemes of double wrong ye plaine,
Gainst one that hath both wronged you and us ;
For death t' adward I ween'd did appertaine
To none but to the seas sole Soveraine.
Read therefore who it is which this hath wrought.
And for what cause ; the truth discover plaine,
For never wight so evill did or thought.
But would some rightfull cause pretend, though rightly nought."

To whom she answer'd : " Then, it is by name
Proteus, that hath ordayn'd my sonne to die ;
For that a waift, the which by fortune came
Upon your seas, he claym'd as propertie :
And yet nor his, nor his in equitie.
But yours the waift by high prerogative.
Therefore I humbly crave your Majestie
It to replevie, and my sonne reprive.
So shall you by one gift save all us three alive."

He graunted it : and streight his warrant made,
Under the Sea-gods scale autenticall,
Commaunding Proteus straight t' enlarge the mayd,
Which wandring on his seas imperiall
He lately tooke, and sithence kept as thrall.
Which she receiving with meetc thankefulnesse,
Departed straight to Proteus thcrewithall ;
Who, reading it with inward loathfulncsse,
Was grieved to restore the pledge he did possesse.

(IV. xii. 29-32.)

The appearance at his home of Florimell restores
Marinell, and their wedding takes place, with a great


contest of knights, at the " Castle of the Strond " (V. ii. 4
and Canto iii.).

The conclusion at which I have arrived with regard
to this episode, though with much hesitation, is that in
Marinell there is an allusion to George Clifford, 3rd Earl
of Cumberland, and that in Florimell we have a portrait
of his wife, Margaret, youngest daughter of Francis Russell,
2nd Earl of Bedford. A separate account of both is
given in the Dictiofiary of Natw?ial Biography. The Earl
of Cumberland and Ralegh were the principal representa-
tives of the navigators at the Court, men on whom the
Queen depended so largely both for supplies and in her
struggle with Spain. Clifford seems to have been a man
of valour and endurance in the highest degree. From
1586 to the time of his death in 1605 he was constantly
engaged on more or less piratical expeditions, in which
he risked his money in association with the Queen, Ralegh,
and other "adventurers." He was born in 1558, was the
eldest son of Henry, 2nd Earl of Cumberland (i6th Lord
Clifford and i 2th Baron of Westmorland), by his second
wife, Anne, daughter of William, 3rd Lord Dacre of
Gillesland ; ^ he succeeded to the Earldom in i 570 on the
death of his father, when he became a ward of the Earl
of Bedford, whose youngest daughter, Lady Margaret
Russell, he married in 1577. He was in residence at
Trinity College, Cambridge, from 1571 to 1574, so that
he must have met Francis Bacon, as a boy, at the same
college. For the rest, Clifford (in the words of the writer
of the article above mentioned) " is described as a man
of great personal beauty, strong and active, accomplished
in all knightly exercises, splendid in dress, and of romantic
valour. On the other hand he was a gambler and a
spendthrift, a faithless husband, and for several years
before his death was separated (owing, apparently, to an
intrigue with another lady of the Court) from his wife." "

' " Margaret," the mother of Ferdinand© Stanley (see p. 65 above), was
Clifford's half-sister.

^ There are pictures of both in the National Portrait Gallery, that of the
Earl a very striking one, in which he is seen wearing the Queen's glove in
his hat.


The Countess, his wife, was a sister of Anne, wife of
Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick,^ and was mother of
one daughter, Anne, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and
Montgomery, who married (1609) Richard Sackville, Lord
Buckhurst, afterwards 2nd Earl of Dorset. The daughter
was a great builder, and, among other things, erected
the monument to Spenser in Westminster Abbey. The
writer of the article above mentioned states that she
describes her mother as a " woman of greate naturall
wit and judgment, of a swete disposition, truly religious
and virtuous, and endowed with a large share of those
four moral virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and
temperance " ; and that a manuscript note in a Bodleian
copy of Walpole's Noble Authors ascribes to her "some
beautiful verses in the stile of Spenser," which are said
to appear on a monument of Richard Candish of
Suffolk, in Hornsey Church, Middlesex.^ Samuel Daniel
was, for a time, the tutor of the daughter.

Upton suggests that " perhaps ' Marinell,' who has
his name from the sea, was intended to represent the
Lord High Admiral, the Lord Howard " ; but " Marinell "
is referred to as a youth (IV. xii. i 3), and Howard, being
born in 1536, was too old for the story ; also nothing
is known about the relations with his wife ^ (Catherine,
daughter of Henry Carey, 1st Lord Hunsdon, first cousin
to the Queen) which would justify any analogy. One
of Howard's daughters married, in 1587, Sir Richard
Leveson, who was apparently much employed in naval
commands and became Vice - Admiral, but that con-
nection gives no clue. Some connection with the Cinque
Ports might possibly be alluded to, of which Lord Cobham
was Lord Warden, but there again nothing emerges. I
have failed also to make out anything which would apply

* The " Fowre Hymnes " are dedicated to these two sisters. It may be
mentioned that their brother, Lord John Russell (d. 1584), married Bacon's
maternal aunt, Klizabelh, fourth daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke.

2 The verses are quoted in Walpole, continued by Park, 1806. I find
nothing Spenserian about them.

^ This was the lady, as the Countess of Nottingham, who is said to have
intercepted the "ring" sent to the Queen by the Earl of Essex before his
execution. The story is discredited by some modern writers.


from " his three-square scuchin," ^ and probably this is
intentionally misleading. In short, I can find nothing
more probable than that the allusion is to the Earl and
Countess of Cumberland. To the one the poet addresses
a sonnet, to the other a dedication. They belonged to
the Court circle round which the Faerie Queene centres,
and where, in my opinion, identifications must be sought.
It may be said that the words in III. iv. 23, " that shortly
he a great Lord did appear," are inapplicable to Cumber-
land, the Cliffords being an old and powerful family, but
they may refer to his favoured position at Court and the
opportunities which it gave him of new wealth. No doubt
the story does not tally in all the particulars. It is a
pretty tale, devised by the poet as an appeal to better
feelings, which might come home to such a man as the
Earl. This was in accordance with his conviction, re-
peatedly expressed, that most people receive instruction
better by example, pleasantly displayed, than by precept
{Qmne tulit pujictum, qui viiscuit utile dulci)?'

The " Rich strond," however, is obviously something
which cannot be explained as part of a tale of fiction. It
must have some definite meaning, but what it is I am
quite unable to say. The name of Lord Rich, the
husband of Penelope Devereux, occurs, but I do not find
that anything is to be made out of that. The only other
clue which I can suggest is " rich Spencer," the name under
which (according to the writer of the article in the Diction-
ary of National Biography) Sir John Spencer, city merchant
and Lord Mayor of London, was known. He was a great
trader, and is said to have had practically a monopoly,
with two other merchants, of the whole trade of Tripoli.
Such men owned and frequently sailed their own ships,
and Cumberland, who was a great speculator, might well
have had dealings with him. The law case alluded to

• " Three fusils " (or " lozanges ") were the arms of Sir Anthony Browne,
1st Viscount Montague of Cowdray (i 526-1 592), taken from the ancient
Montacutes, Earls of Salisbury. There is no apparent clue here, beyond the
fact that Lady Montague was Cumberland's maternal aunt.

2 See, for instance, Works, *' Globe" edition, p. 708, where the line is
adopted by " Immerito '' in some Latin verses. It was the writer's early motto.


in the poem may refer to one of those many disputes
between the Queen and the " adventurers " as to the
division of spoil taken on the high seas. Or it may refer
to the port of London ; but these are suggestions which I
can only offer for what they are worth. It is, of course,
just possible that the capital R, suggesting a name, is a
" blind." [But see further as to Marinell in Chapter XVII.]

The boldest, and, historically, perhaps the most in-
teresting, allusiori in the Faerie Queeue is the allegorical
description of the trial of Mary, Queen of Scots, in Canto ix.
of Book V. It is evidently intended as a vindication in
the eyes of foreigners of Elizabeth's action, and it is
managed with wonderful artistic skill. Nor, on the whole,
does it seem to me unjustified, considering the international
situation and the painful anxieties of the Queen's position
in that affair. Prince Arthur and Arthegal, arriving at
Mercilla's palace, find a case proceeding " which on both
sides was then debating hard." In order that the knights
may understand it, " and witnesse forth aright in forrain
land," they are taken up by Mercilla to her throne.
" Duessa " is brought in —

A Ladie of great countenance and place,
But that she it with foule abuse did marre ;

and the trial proceeds, during which feeling sways to and
fro. We recognise Burghley in the lines —

First was a sage old Syre, that had to name
The Kingdomes Care, with a white silver hed,

and in " Zele " I think the writer sees himself, as he would
conduct a case for the Crown if he were given the oppor-
tunity, and as he did later, with tragic results, in the case
of the unfortunate Earl of Essex.

Duessa having been found guilty, in the language of
the courts Zele " calls for judgment," and the dreadful
moment has come when the Queen has to take the re-
sponsibility. In a dexterous and gorgeous image, however,
the poet finds means of escape :


But she, whose Princely brest was touched nere
With piteous ruth of her so wretched plight,
Though plaine she saw, by all that she did heare,
That she of death was guiltie found by right,
Yet would not let just vengeance on her light ;
But rather let, instead thereof, to fall
Few perling drops from her faire lampes of light
The which she covering with her purple pall
Would have the passion hid, and up arose withall.

I may remind the reader of what occurred. The re-
collections of the previous reign, the threats of Spain and
the Papacy, the Catholic plots against Elizabeth's life, in
which Mary was held to be involved, and the anxiety of
the country about the succession, had at last resulted in a
strong agitation for the execution of Mary. The Queen
appointed Commissioners to try the case, chosen Irom the
Council and the leading families of England, and the
sentence of death was passed on 25th October i 586. On
the I 2th November, both Houses of Parliament petitioned
for the carrying out of the sentence. It appears that the
Queen ordered Burghley to prepare the warrant, and with
characteristic prudence he sent it to her by Davison, who
was joint Secretary with Walsingham.^ It is said that
she ordered him to put it by, and, at last, on ist February
1587, Lord Howard of Effingham had an audience and
strongly deprecated further delay, whereupon the Queen
told Howard to send for Davison, and she signed the
warrant, but told Davison to hint to Sir Amyas Paulet,
who, with Drury, was in charge of Mary at Fotheringay,
that he should manage the business himself without a
public execution. Paulet indignantly refused, and in the
meantime Davison had taken the warrant to the Chancellor,
who at once affixed the seal. Burghley thereupon called
a Council ; the warrant was sent down in their name, and
Mary was executed on the 8th February. In the interval
it is said that the Queen had several times sent for Davison

* See the article under "William Davison" in the Did. Nat. Biogr.,
also that under " Francis Walsingham," where the writer says that Walsing-
ham drafted the letter to Paulet and Drury. It seems probable that the harsh
treatment which Walsingham received from the Queen before his death in
1590 was due to exasperation at his efficiency in bringing matters to an issue
(whether fairly, or from motives of State policy, is a question in dispute).


and complained of the responsibility, and of the pressure
which was being put on her ; and when the news arrived
of the execution, she at once announced that in getting
the warrant sealed he had gone beyond her instructions.
He was heavily fined, imprisoned in the Tower till 1589,
and ruined. One of the causes of the Queen's exaspera-
tion was probably the scrupulosity, as she no doubt re-
garded it, of Paulet, against whom, however, she could
take no steps without revealing her instructions to Davison,
which, it appears, he loyally kept to himself. Elizabeth
had every reason at that time to shrink from an open
breach with the Catholic powers, and, as a woman, she had
much more sympathy with those who adhered to the
Catholic faith than with the extreme Protestants. More-
over, though in some respects callous, she was averse to
bloodshed, especially within the range of her acquaintance ;
Mary Stuart was her cousin, and she was strongly imbued
with the idea of the sacredness of the person of the Prince.
Her position therefore in relation to Mary was of unusual
difficulty, and her distress and anger when she was at last
compelled by her subjects to take action is quite intelli-
gible. Spenser has made the best of the situation from
the Queen's point of view, and in adopting the theory that
she was not personally responsible for what occurred, he
was, no doubt, administering balm to her feelings, and
vindicating her on the lines which she had herself
attempted in the oppressive proceedings against the
Secretary. It would be a mistake, however, to regard
this as mere flattery. Sentiment for the Queen and
patriotism are at least as much in evidence in the de-
scription, and in writing it the poet, no doubt, had his
eye on posterity.

With " Duessa " are connected sundry other figures,
but of them I need only mention Blandamour and
Paridell. Upton thought that they represent the Earls
of Northumberland and Westmorland, and, as regards
the former, he points to the phrase " the hot-spurre
youth" (IV. i. 35), "which was the well-known name


of the young Percy in the reign of King Henry IV."
This explanation has been generally adopted, but besides
being rather "ancient history," it does not cover the
ground. Blandamour and Paridell are represented as
young men, as paramours of Duessa, and generally as
fickle, false, vain and dissolute. The two Earls were
Catholics of the North, who took up arms unsuccessfully
in Mary Stuart's favour in 1569. Westmorland had a
bad reputation (and, to that extent, fits the character),
but nothing is alleged against Northumberland (Thomas
Percy, seventh Earl) except that he was " dangerously
obstinate in religion " ; otherwise he had the character
of being " simple." I think that Blandamour stands for
the next Earl, Henry Percy, who was suspected of com-
plicity with the Throckmorton conspiracy, and who killed
himself, or (as some held) was murdered, in the Tower
in 1585;^ and that Paridell represents Philip Howard,
first Earl of Arundel of the Howard family (son of the
Duke of Norfolk who was beheaded), who, in his early
youth about the Court, as the Earl of Surrey, drew, for a
time, the favour of the Queen. His life at that period
was disorderly, and he was notorious for his extravagance ;
afterwards, through the influence of his wife, and perhaps
of Campion, he became a Romanist of devotion. He died
in the Tower in 1595, having been condemned to death
for treason in 1589 and reprieved by the Oueen,^ who
however appears to have treated him in other respects
with great harshness. In support of this conclusion it is
worthy of remark that Philip Arundel supplies the letters

^ Camden describes him as "a man of a lively and active spirit and
courage," Kennett (1719), ii. 504.

^ Camden's remarks on this event (1589) are interesting : " There were a
great many that most heartily lamented the untimely fall of this young noble-
man (fur he was not above 33 years of age at the most), and as many on
the other side who were ready to cry up the Queen's wisdom and caution,
who by this example had struck a kind of terror into the more powerful part
of the Romish faction. The Queen after gave him his life and was well
enough satisfied in having lessened the power of so considerable a man, and
one who was so great a bulwark of the Catholic c.iuse." — /d/d. p. 553.
Arundel's letter to the Queen (see Lz/e, ed. Duke of Norfolk, 1857) is noted
in the "scribble" of the Northumberland MS. as by Bacon. Certainly it
bears evidence of this origin.


for " Paridell," as Northumberland does those for " Bland-
amour." In this view, the enigmatical line in IV. i. 36,
"Her fayned Paramour, her forced guest," finds an explana-
tion, Arundel, as is said, having tried, without success,
in his youth, to become the Queen's favourite, and
Northumberland (as may be inferred from this passage)

Online LibraryEdward George HarmanEdmund Spenser and the impersonations of Francis Bacon → online text (page 9 of 55)