1 When Spenser had once got safely back to the secure retreat and serene companionship of his great poem, with what profound and pathetic exultation must he have recalled the verses of Dante!—
To feed on hope, to pine with fear and sorrow,
To have thy prince's grace yet want her Peers',
To have thy asking yet wait many years,
To fret thy soul with crosses and with cares,
To eat thy heart through comfortless despairs,
To fawn, to crouch, to wait, to ride, to run,
To spend, to give, to want, to be undone.
Whoever leaves sweet home, where mean estate
In safe assurance, without strife or hate,
Finds all things needful for contentment meek,
And will to court for shadows vain to seek,
That curse God send unto mine enemy!
What Spenser says of the indifference of the court to learning and literature is the more remarkable because he himself was by no means an unsuccessful suitor.
Chi dietro a jura, e chi ad aforismi
Sen giva, e chi seguendo sacerdozio,
E chi regnar per forza e per sofismi,
E chi rubare, e chi civil negozio,
Chi nei diletti della carne involto
S'afiaticava, e chi si dava alla ozio,
Quando da tutte queste cose sciolto,
Con Beatrice ma era suso in cielo
Cotanto gloriosamente accolto.Paradiso, XI. 4-12. 2