Lyrics.—For specimens of love sonnets, read Nos. 18, 33, 73, 104, 111, and 116 of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Compare them with any of Sidney’s Spenser’s sonnets. Other love lyrics which should be read are Spenser’s Prothalamion, Lodge’s Love in My Bosom Like a Bee and Ben Jonson’s To Celia. Among pastoral lyrics, read from Spenser’s Shepherd’s Calendar for August, 1579, Perigo and Willie’s duet, beginning:—
“It fell upon a holy eve,”
and Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love. The best pastoral lyrics from the modern point of view are Shakespeare’s two songs: “Under the Greenwood Tree” (As you like it) and “When Icicles Hang by the Wall” (Love’s Labor’s Lost). The best miscellaneous lyrics are the songs in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, The Tempest, and As You Like It. Drayton’s Ballad of Agincourt and Sonnet 61 are his best lyrical verse. Read Ben Jonson’s An Epitaph on Salathiel Pavy and, from his Pindaric Ode, the stanza beginning:—
“It is not growing like a tree.”
From John Donne, read either The Funeral, The Canonization, or The Dream.
Good selections from all varieties of Elizabethan lyrics may be found in Bronson, II., Ward. I., Oxford, Century, Manly, I. Nearly all the lyrics referred to in this list, including the best songs from the dramatists, are given in Schelling’s Elizabethan Lyrics (327 pp., 75 cents). This work, together with Erskine’s The Elizabethan Lyric and Reed’s English Lyrical Poetry from its Origins to the Present Time, will serve for a more exhaustive study of this fascinating subject.
From your reading, select from each class the lyric that pleases you most, and give reasons for your choice. Which lyric seems the most spontaneous? the most artistic? the most inspired? the most modern? the most quaint? the most and the least instinct with feeling?
Edmund Spenser.—The Faerie Queene, Book I., Canto I., should be read. Maynard’s English Classic Series, No. 27 (12 cents) contains the first two cantos and the Prothalamion. Kitchin’s edition of Book I. (Clarendon Press. 60 cents) is an excellent volume. The Globe edition furnishes a good complete text of Spenser’s work. Ample selections are given in Bronson, II., Ward, I., and briefer ones in Manly, I., and Century.
The Best Volumes of Selections.—The least expensive volume to cover nearly the entire field with brief selections is Vol. II. of The Oxford Treasury of English Literature, entitled Growth of the Drama (Clarendon Press, 412 pp., 90 cents). Pollard’s English Miracle Plays, Moralities, and Interludes (Clarendon Press, 250 pp., $1.90) is the best single volume of selections from this branch