happes their Childrens children to, myght have thanked them for, as long as they shall have Tongues in their heades.
Spenser’s acquaintance with Sidney, like his interest in writing quantitative verse, must have been brief. They had ‘only occasional opportunities for meeting one another during a period of less than six months’ in late 1579 and early 1580 (Ringler, p. xxxii). In December 1579 Spenser dedicated The Shepheardes Calender to Sidney. (The Earl of Leicester had been originally intended as the dedicatee).
Virginia F. Stern, in The Spenser Encyclopedia, ed. A.C. Hamilton et al., Toronto, 1990, p. 347, points out that whether the ‘Areopagus’ ‘is literal or figurative is a moot question’ and that the Harvey/Spenser letters (see No. 3 for Harvey’s contribution) were instigated by the desire to bring [the authors] to public notice. For Spenser’s later reactions to Sidney, see No. 18.
As for the twoo worthy Gentlemen, Master Sidney and Master Dyer, they have me, I thanke them, in some use of familiarity…And nowe they have proclaimed in their αρειωπάγφ, a generall surceasing and silence of balde Rymers, and also of the verie beste to: in steade whereof, they have by authoritie of their whole Senate, prescribed certaine Lawes and rules of Quantities of English sillables for English Verse; having had thereof already great practise, and drawen mee to their faction. Newe Bookes I heare of none, but only of one, that writing a certaine Booke, called The Schoole of Abuse, and dedicating it to Maister Sidney, was for hys labor scorned: 1 if at leaste it be in the goodnesse of that nature to scorne.