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Prosopopoia, Or Mother Hubberds Tale
by [?]

So Mother Hubberd her discourse did end: 1385
Which pardon me if I amisse have pend,
For weake was my remembrance it to hold,
And bad her tongue that it so bluntly tolde.


MOTHER HUBBERDS TALE. This charming little poem, Spenser’s only successful effort at satire, is stated by the author to have been composed in the raw conceit of his youth. There is internal evidence, however, that some of the happiest passages were added at the date of its publication, at which time the whole was probably retouched. Although Mother Hubberds Tale is in its plan an imitation of the satires of Reynard the Fox; the treatment of the subject is quite original. For the combination of elegance with simplicity, this poem will stand a comparison with Goethe’s celebrated translation of the Reineke. C.

Ver. I.–It was the month, etc. August.

Ver. 453.–Diriges, dirges. The office for the dead received this name from the antiphon with which the first nocturne in the mattens commenced, taken from Psalm v. 8, “Dirige, Domine Deus meus, in conspectu tuo viam meam.” Way’s Promptorium Parvulorum. C.

Ver. 519.–Scarse can a bishoprick, etc. This is probably an allusion to the frequent alienations of the lands and manors of bishoprics in Elizabeth’s time. TODD.

Ver. 562.–The ordinarie. An ordinary is a judge having jurisdiction in ecclesiastical matters. In England, it is usually the bishop of the diocese. H.

Ver. 623, 624.–The Queen was so much pleased with the results of the Portugal expedition of 1589, that she honored the commanders, and Sir Walter Raleigh among the rest, with a gold chain. C.

Ver. 717.–The brave courtier, etc. This description is perhaps intended for Sir Philip Sidney. C.

Ver. 893.–Had-ywist. That is, had I wist! had I known that it would end so! a proverbial expression for late repentance consequent on disappointment. C.

Ver. 901.–To have thy Princes grace, yet want her Peeres. Elizabeth was said to have granted Spenser a pension which Burghley intercepted, and to have ordered him a gratuity which her minister neglected to pay. C.

Ver. 913.–Himselfe will a daw trie. So the old copy: the reading should probably be himselfe a daw will trie, prove or find himself by experience to be a daw or fool. C.

Ver. 1189.–Of men of armes, etc. This passage certainly provokes an application to Lord Burghley, and was probably intended for him. C.