Spenser – Like As A Huntsman..

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

AG: Okay, next – (Edmund) Spenser! – We’ll have a little bit of Spenser anyway. Page one-sixty —page one-sixty . I thought that one long sonnet, an odd sonnet he’s got there. We’ll take one sonnet anyway.
Did we do this? Did we do that Sonnet 67 [Amoretti LXVII] ? on page one-sixty? – Well, it’s kind of witty and kind of interesting. Since we haven’t much of Spenser, lets just… Can somebody read that sonnet aloud? somebody who’s got the…Could you perhaps? [Allen turns to Student (Pat)] Well, Pat (sic), I think you’ve got the language, maybe, try that one? Sonnet 67?
[Student (Pat) reads]

Like as a huntsman after weary chase,
Seeing the game from him escap’d away,
Sits down to rest him in some shady place,
With panting hounds beguiled of their prey;
So after long pursuit and vain assay,
When I all weary had the chase forsook,
The gentle deer return’d the self-same way,
Thinking to quench her thirst at the next brook.
There she beholding me with milder look,
Sought not to fly. but fearless still did bide:
Till I in hand her yet half trembling took,
And with her own goodwill her firmly tied.
Strange thing, me seem’d, to see a beast so wild,
So goodly won, with her own will beguil’d.

AG:  It’s just a little… Remember that “They flee from me that sometime did me seek’. Again the image of the deer being caught, the lady as a deer. Psychologically, this is very interesting because…I don’t know reading it this first time you have a chance to dig what he’s saying but imagining his lady to a wild deer that he’d been chasing and chasing (or had loved, let’s say), been chasing and chasing, and finally, “like a weary huntsman”, sits him down to rest and, sweating, in the shady place, the panting hounds, like, “beguile-ed of their prey”, vain assay, long pursuit  gave up, gave up on it  – “When I all weary had the chase forsook…” – all of a sudden, then, once you give up, then it comes to you – “The gentle deer return’d the self-same way”, and.. but.. so there’s a psychological thing about anybody who’s laid too heavy a trip on a girl or boy trying to make them and found them offended and running away in the opposite direction, and then, calming down and giving up, and sort of abandoning the grasping, finds that, now that the great barrier of anxiety and frenzy has dropped, there’s some open space for the other person to come in, look around, and make friends or relate a little bit. And, you know, perhaps somebody who did like him but was scared by all of his insistency.
So the great line is, “Till I in hand her yet half trembling took”. So it’s that moment of trembling gentleness that he’s arriving at (so, which is really… I imagine everybody’s experienced that in a love relation – that moment of balance when both are realizing that the situation is okay, and then the feeling comes to the eye and to the heart, and there’s a trembling in the body, and the opening up of… oh, delight, I guess, painful delight?) . You don’t have to… In other words, you don’t have to push because it’s all there coming to you and if you make any push it’ll chase it away again. So I like “Till I in hand her yet half trembling took/And with her own goodwill,  her firmly tied’ – Just intelligence there.

[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately seventy-eight-and-a-half minutes in and concluding at approximately eighty-three minutes in] 

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