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Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 42, 2002

The politics of time in Edmund Spenser's English calendar

by Alison A. Chapman

[H]e compiled these xij. AEglogues, which for that they be proportioned to the state of the xij. monethes, he termeth the SHEPHEARDS CALENDAR, applying an olde name to a new worke.

--E. K.'s Dedicatory Epistle to the Shepheardes Calender (1)

Oddly enough, despite its title, Edmund Spenser's first work, The Shepheardes Calender, Conteyning Twelue AEglogues Proportionable to the Twelue Monethes (1579), has not been adequately examined as a calendar, a highly politicized reorganization of annual time published during an era obsessed with time and forms of time reckoning. The reason for this gap in criticism of The Shepheardes Calender lies in the nature of our experience with calendrical time, specifically in the calendar's ability to naturalize a given ideological or political freight--such as a certain set of religious rituals--by incorporating it into the fabric of everyday life. We typically experience the annual calendar as simply a neutral temporal framework, as one of the unquestioned furnishings of quotidian existence. The calendar, however, governs behavior by synchronizing various forms of practical observance--Sunday worship, a Friday afternoon drink, and spring cleaning. Thus, instituting a new calendar is a radical gesture, as registere d by the fact that three of the major political revolutions of the modern age--French, Chinese, and Bolshevik--established a new calendar in order to make the experience of time itself serve the new revolutionary ideology. Christianity similarly reorganized time both by counting years from the date of Christ's birth and by tying annual time to the cycles of the liturgical year. Even the secular holidays patterned by the modern U.S. calendar, such as Martin Luther King Day, Washington's Birthday, and Veterans' Day, memorialize a prescribed version of history. We tend, however, to forget the ideological force of such ritualized forms of memory, largely because they coexist in calendrical practice with "apolitical" observances like the solstices and equinoxes. The calendar's close implication with the annual change of the seasons naturalizes our sense of calendrical time, making the calendar seem as inevitable as the first frost or the coming of spring.

Critics of The Shepheardes Calender seem to have projected backwards their sense of the calendar as "natural" by explaining the text's calendrical format as a necessary complement to the eclogues' pastoral character. Mary Parrnenter, for instance, shows how the content of each eclogue reflects the seasonal nature of its titular month: for instance, "Februarie's" debate between the elderly Thenot and the young Cuddie accords with February as "the proper month for the contests between Age and Youth, Winter and Spring." (2) This treatment naturalizes The Shepheardes Calender's calendar form by making it simply a fitting vehicle for Spenser's pastoral portrayal of life in a bucolic world. (3) Yet by subsuming the calendar within the conventions of pastoral, critics such as Parmenter disregard the fact that the calendrical format constitutes Spenser's break with the conventions of pastoral, since no precedent exists in pastoral poetry for his text's monthly arrangement. A. C. Hamilton points out the novelty of The Shepheardes Calender's format--"Spenser's contribution to the pastoral form was the Calendar"--yet he then includes Spenser's innovative calendar in the tradition of pastoral anyway, arguing that The form of the Calendar allows Spenser to return to the ritual origins of pastoral." (4) In her recent study of pastoral, Susan Snyder registers the calendar format as Spenser's own innovation, yet she then argues that this novel temporal structure accords with the Shepheardes Calender's "pastoral process" (her book's title) and thematic "analogy of human life with the seasons." (5) Although Snyder's treatment of the text is insightful, the calendar is seen, once again, as an apolitical and almost "organic" entity. (6)

What such views overlook is that, to inhabitants of sixteenth-century England, the calendar would have seemed far less "natural" than modern critics apparently assume. (7) In fact, the early modern calendar was the site of fierce debate as different ideological and political interests vied for control over its timetable. The calendar was being contested in two ways in early modern England. First, in 1577, Pope Gregory had proposed eliminating ten days from the calendar in order to make it conform more exactly to celestial motions. This proposal sparked controversy in Protestant Europe and in England, for many Protestants balked at the idea of conforming to papal dictates. Several critics have briefly mentioned the Gregorian reform as a contemporary background to Spenser's eclogues, yet each downplays or even dismisses its influence. (8) These critics, however, neglect the ways in which the Gregorian reform powerfully informed the writing of the eclogues. Second, concurrent with discussions of the calendar's a lignment with celestial motions was the argument over the calendar's liturgical content. The ecclesiastical calendar 'was one of the earliest and most persistent targets of the Protestant reformers," and many English reformers objected to the Catholic calendar's large number of holy days and denounced its "idolatrous" canon of saints. (9) Just as the Gregorian reform has been neglected as an important context for the eclogues, no critical study of The Shepheardes Calendar has evaluated it within the context of the contemporary refashioning of the liturgical calendar. This essay argues that Spenser's text intervenes in both of these calendar debates. Part 1 demonstrates how the prefaces and envoy invoke the Gregorian reform, and it argues that Spenser responds to the Gregorian reform by presenting, in effect, a counterproposal: he uses the rhetoric of calendar reform to support his own "Anglicizing" of time, constructing a specifically English calendar "untainted" by Catholic forms of time reckoning. Part 2 tu rns to the eclogues themselves to highlight Spenser's debt to debates over the liturgical calendar. The Shepheardes Calender symbolically remakes the Catholic liturgical calendar by substituting local English figures for the traditional calendar saints, thus bringing a pointedly English history into the patterning of sacred time.

The final result of Spenser's engagement with both types of calendar debate is to make his poetic calendar serve the interests of English nationalism. (10) As the historian David Cressy has pointed out, the various patterns of early modern calendrical observance were deeply implicated with a changing understanding of English nationalism. (11) The calendar was crucial to forming the contemporary sense of nationhood, for it synchronized collective experience, giving a shared pattern to the disparateness and multiplicity of human lives. The 1559 Book of Common Prayer prescribes a new set of prayers and liturgical readings as well as a new calendar to order their observance, and the text's preface stresses the unifying function of this synchronized body of ritual: "And where heretofore there hath been great diversity in saying and singing in churches within this realm, some following Salisbury use, some Hereford use, some the use of Bangor, some of York, and some of Lincoln, now from henceforth all the whole rea lm shall have but one use." (12) The English nation is imagined not only as a set of geographical boundaries or a certain racial identity, but as a body of people who read the same sacred texts and say the same prayers all at once--who have, in effect, a "common prayer." Like The Book of Common Prayer, The Shepheardes Calender implies that Englishness is rooted primarily in a common calendar and a shared annual observance, and Spenser's poem lends this island nation its own insular "temporality"--in effect imitating The Book of Common Prayer's intention and effect. Through remaking the calendar, Spenser suggests that "Englishness" can only fully develop within the context of a discrete experience of time.


Understanding Spenser's invocation of the Gregorian reform debate requires some familiarity with the terms and history of the calendar reform. Scholars had known for centuries that the Western calendar did not correspond exactly to celestial motions. The Roman calendar that Julius Caesar inherited in the first century fixed the year at 355 days, and it provided an elaborate yet inadequate system for regularly adjusting the calendar to harmonize it with the solar year. (13) Under Caesar's rule, the calendar was adjusted to include 365 days, yet even this emendation overestimated the year's length by eleven minutes and fourteen seconds. By Spenser's time, this slight error had compounded into a ten-day discrepancy between the calendar and the sun's movements. (14) Consequently, celestial events such as the equinoxes had been gradually shifting their position in the calendar. By the sixteenth century, for instance, the spring equinox had slipped from 21 March to about 12 March. To bring the calendar back into l ine with celestial motions (and to rectify such important liturgical events as the date of Easter), Pope Gregory XIII proposed in 1577 that the calendar be shifted forward ten days; in 1582 by papal decree 4 October was followed by 15, an adjustment that came to be known as "the Gregorian reform." (15) By harmonizing the calendar with the solar cycle, Gregory's proposed reform recommended itself on strictly empirical grounds, yet it also highlighted the pope's leadership of Europe. Indeed, his bid to unite Protestants and Catholics under a single calendar instituted by the papacy would have recalled the imperialist spirit of Julius Caesar's reorganization of the calendar which added the eponymous month July.

Recognizing the politicized nature of Gregory's proposed calendar, Protestant nations rejected the papal reform. For instance, German Lutherans regarded the calendar reform as the pope's attempt to undermine the progress of the Reformation, and "it was observed that violent storms raged over Germany during the ten days which the Pope had removed." (16) In Protestant England, reaction was more varied. The pope's proposal stimulated widespread debate, and numerous English Protestants set about recalculating the calendar for themselves. Robert Pont commented in 1599 that the calendar's error had prompted "sundrie learned men of our memory and time" to endeavor to return the calendar "to the old estate and institution thereof as it was firste set foorth." (17) and chief among these English calendar scholars was the magus and polymath, John Dee. (18) Dee faulted the Gregorian plan for only restoring the calendar to its condition at the Council of Nice in 325 A.D. instead of reaching back to apostolic times. Dee's desire to return the calendar to its first-century condition echoed the Reformation's attempt to restore the Church to the lost purity of the apostolic age, and his effort to reach even farther back in time suggests an attempt to out-reform the pope's calendar reformation.

Other English scholars and writers proposed alternate methods of calendar reform. Whereas Dee had calculated an eleven-day error in the calendar, most of these others accepted the papal figure of ten days but set forth different schedules for adjusting the calendar. While some proposed subtracting one day per year for eleven years, others such as William Harrison suggested abolishing the leap year for the next forty years. (19) Others scorned the idea of calendar reform altogether. Lord Walsingham asked a committee of four English bishops to review the Gregorian reform, and these clerics rejected the plan, arguing in part that "we think that concerning civil traffik and contracts there should grow no more confusion by divers computations of countrys than doth alreadie by the computation of the year of the Lord from the beginning of January in other places and from our Lady Day in England." (20) While many other European nations began the year in January, England's legal and church year began on 23 March, and the bishops held out this discrepancy as justification for rejecting the new Catholic calendar. (21)

Although the calendar patterned annual liturgical observance, it could also be viewed as a secular and nonpolitical entity, the neutral temporal format that regulated human affairs. Indeed, the sixteenth-century calendar was important to the nation's growing mercantile culture, and the almanac writer Joseph Chamberlaine attested to its prosaic utility when he queried: "what man nowadays, that hath any dealings in the worlds affairs but hath need of a Kalendar?" (22) Robert Vilvain's broadside pamphlet calls the Gregorian reform "no point of Religion, but civil computation." (23) This practical view of the calendar seems to have been the one adopted by Dee and Queen Elizabeth. Dee ultimately counseled Elizabeth to accept the Gregorian plan instead of his own, arguing for the benefits of an internationally uniform calendar. (24) The queen eventually concurred, and a letter from Walsingham mentions Elizabeth's desire "to avoid diverse inconveniences that might otherwise follow, between her own and other princes her neighbours' subjects, by reason of the diversity of computations." (25) On 28 April 1582, a proclamation was issued "declaringe the causes of the reformation of the Calendar and accomptinge of the yeare, hereafter to be observed, to accord [] other countryes next hereto adjoyninge beyond the seas." (26)

Yet Elizabeth did not have her way in the matter of calendar reform, for the Gregorian plan was finally defeated in England by the four prominent clergymen asked to review it: Archbishop Edmund Grindal and the bishops John Young, bishop of Rochester: John Piers, bishop of Salisbury; and John Aylmer, bishop of London. Although the bishops presented secular and mercantile arguments against changing the calendar, they opposed the reform primarily because of its papal origin: "seeing all the reformed Churches in Europe for the most part doe hold affirme and preach that the Bishop of Rome is Antichrist, therefore we may not communicate with him in any thing as receaved from him," (27) William Harrison suggests the degree to which anti-papal sentiment motivated the rejection of the Catholic calendar; he comments that the Gregorian reform "had also yer [sic] this time beene admitted into England, if it had not proceeded from him, against whom and all whose ordinances we haue so faithfullie sworne and set our hands. " (28) By insisting upon lengthy consultation with other Protestant nations, the four clergymen stalled long enough that the impetus for calendar reform finally died. Indeed, the English calendar would remain out of synch with most European calendars for the next 150 years. (29)

Written at the end of 1579, Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender stands roughly in the center of the five-year span between 1577, when Gregory proposed his reform, and 1582, when the English clerics defeated the papal proposal. In 1579, Spenser was employed as a secretary by Bishop Young, one of the four chief opponents of the Gregorian reform. This job would also have brought Spenser into regular contact with the three other antireform clerics--Grindal, Aylmer, and Piers; Grindal had been Young's patron for years, and Aylmer and Piers helped preside at Young's consecration. (30) With Pope Gregory's proposed reform the subject of widespread debate in England in 1577, the four clergymen--with Spenser among them--were by 1579 already formulating their opinions of the Gregorian calendar and planning the resistance which would later defeat it. In 1580, Spenser became secretary to Robert Dudley, earl of Leicester, but this move would not have distanced him from the calendar debate, for Dudley was closely involved ( if usually at odds) with the queen's treasurer, Lord Burghley, when the latter was reviewing and promoting Dee's own calendar. Spenser would also have known of Dee's efforts to reform the calendar, for Frances A. Yates hypothesizes that Spenser "was in contact with [Dee] or members of his circle" during the late 1570s, the years when Spenser composed The Shepheardes Calender and Dee formulated his own alternative calendar. (31)

The prefaces to The Shepheardes Calender repeatedly invoke the contemporary issue of calendar reform. In the "generall argument of the whole booke," E. K. presents a discussion of the calendar year. He reviews the history of the calendar, recalling that

from Julius Caesar who first obserued the leape yeere... the monethes have bene nombred xij. which in the first ordinaunce of Romulus were but tenne, counting but CCCiiij. dayes in euery yeare, and beginning with March. (p. 13)

He focuses particularly on the different traditions for beginning the year, writing that whereas the Greeks and early Romans began the year in March and Numa Pompilius chose to begin the year in January in honor of the god Janus, the Egyptians commence their year in September "that is called of them Tisri" (p. 14). "The generall argument" here participates in an early modern interest in other calendars and in the sources of English calendar customs. In his Travellers Kalendar (1614), for instance, William Bedwell describes the calendars of Syria, Armenia, Morocco, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Greece, Thrace, and Hungary; likewise, William Harrison compares England's calendar customs with those of other nations. (32) Although such accounts often show how English calendar celebrations derived from other nations', the simple rehearsal of Syrian, Greek, Jewish, or Egyptian calendars also helped to fashion a sense of the English calendar as an entity distinct from these others.

E. K.'s discussion of the calendar similarly differentiates England's calendar from the rest of Europe's. His principal intent is to defend January as the author's choice for the first month of the year. This was a pressing concern in the late 1 570s, for included in the debate over calendar reform was a discussion of the two conflicting New Year's dates commonly observed: while the English calendar year began on 1 January, the legal and church year commenced on 25 March. (33) This uneasy compromise between the two New Year's Days was threatened by the Gregorian reform that proposed formally changing the year on the first of January. In the "generall argument," E. K. acknowledges that some may fault Spenser's judgment, "in that he erroniously beginneth with that moneth [January], which beginneth not the yeare" (p. 13). Against the authority of the "olde Astrologers and Philosophers" that begin the year with March, however, E. K. defends the custom of counting the year from January. This choice might initially seem to align his calendar with Numa Pompilius's, thereby paying tacit homage to Janus. E. K. even concedes that the god seen by "old Paynims" as ruling "the byrth and beginning of all creatures" was in Roman times well suited to 'The beginning and first entraunce of the yeare" (pp. 13-4). E. K., however, is careful to derive The Shepheardes Calender's January radix from a different divine source:

the incarnation of our mighty Sauiour and eternal redeemer the L. Christ, . . . then renewing the state of the decayed world, and returning the compasse of expired yeres to theyr former date and first commencement, left to vs his heires a memorial of his birth in the ende of the last yeere and beginning of the next.

(p. 13)

The choice of January as the first month might also seem to align Spenser's Shepheardes Calender with the Catholic calendar. (34) Yet just as E. K. says that the calendar hearkens back to Christ instead of to Janus, he derives the text's privileging of January from native English practice instead of from papal mandate. Having reviewed all the arguments for January versus March, E. K. concludes: "our Authour respecting nether the subtiltie of thone parte, nor the antiquitie of thother, thinketh it fittest according to the simplicitie of commen vnderstanding, to begin with Ianuarie" (p. 14). He claims that Spenser founds his calendar structure not on scholarly or ecclesiastical principle but on rustic English tradition, and even the Incarnation yields to local custom and "commen vnderstanding" as the principle for selecting January. (35) Where calendar reformers such as Dee looked to the apostolic age as the source for recalibrating time, Spenser uses native English practice as the radix of calendar reform. Thi s privileging of local calendar custom echoes The Shepheardes Calender's studied use of a deliberately archaic English vernacular. In the preface, E. K. commends the author of the eclogues for having "laboured to restore, as to theyr rightfull heritage such good and naturall English words," and he praises Spenser's attempt to purge the English language of the "peces and rags of other languages, borrowing here of the french, there of the Italian, euery where of the Latine" (pp. 8-9). (36) National identity is grounded in native custom: like the unifying practice of "common prayer," Englishness emerges out of a "commen vnderstanding" of time.

In The Shepheardes Calender's concluding envoy, Spenser claims to have fashioned a calendar that implicitly surpasses those of other calendar reformers:

Loe I have made a Calender for euery yeare,

That steele in strength, and time in durance shall outweare:

And if I marked well the starres revolution,

It shall continewe till the worlds dissolution.

To teach the ruder shepheard how to feede his sheepe,

And from the falsers fraud his folded flocke to keepe.

Goe lyttle Calender, thou hast a free passeporte.

(lines 1-7)

Basing his calendar's accuracy on having "marked well" the "starres revolution," Spenser recalls the efforts of mathematicians and calendar reformers to calibrate the months and days according to celestial motions. The third couplet of the envoy, however, suggests an oblique criticism of merely scientific revisions of the calendar: by asserting that his text will "teach the ruder shepheard how to feede his sheepe, / And from the falsers fraud his folded flocke to keepe," Spenser's envoy implies that while calendars such as Dee's or the pope's may realign the calendar with the spring equinox and rectify the date of Easter, only Spenser's calendar will carry the moral and didactic force needed to instruct the clergy (the nation's shepherds) in their duties. The phrase "falsers fraud" has customarily been read as referring to Catholic doctrine which Spenser's text both criticizes and excludes. In the context of the calendar reform, "falsers fraud" also suggests the pope's attempt to bring the Christian calendar under his sway. The pope's proposal was officially known as the "Gregorian perpetual calendar" (Kalendarium Gregorii perpetuum). Spenser, in contrast, implies that his is the true perpetual calendar for it will end only at "the worlds dissolution." Wendy Wall observes that the envoy's confident assertion of the text's worth contrasts with The Shepheardes Calender's opening verse in "To His Booke" where the poem is troped as a child "base begot with blame" (line 14), and she comments that "The opening and closing envois ... narrate the text's maturation, its realization of greatness as it overcomes temporal and mortal hindrances." (37) What Wall overlooks, however, is that this maturation is tied to the text's identity as a calendar. Whereas the opening poem bade the work, "Goe little booke," the closing envoy revises this line into "Goe lyttle Calender," and the text has grown from a mere book into a calendar. Instead of transcending time as Wall suggests (overcoming "temporal and mortal hindrances"), this "l yttle Calender" has claimed the moral authority to reorder it.

By invoking the sixteenth-century calendar debate, Spenser positions his calendrical text as a criticism of the Gregorian reform. Its appearance in print at the moment when Elizabeth would have been considering her response to the Gregorian reform (two years after the pope's proposal) underlines its participation in the debate. Where Dee counseled the queen to adopt the Gregorian plan in the interests of international conformity, Spenser's Shepheardes Calender presents, in essence, a counterproposal. It shows the queen and the nation what an English calendar might look like--one in which English shepherds follow temporal rhythms sanctioned by local custom and speak in the tongue of their native vernacular. Further, Spenser even gives his text a specifically English geography by referring to places such as Kent and "S. Michels mount" on England's western coast ("Ivlye," lines 41, 44). He further emphasizes the uncompromising Englishness of his calendar by making England's queen into the text's cynosure, for El izabeth appears veiled as the April eclogue's "Elisa, Queene of shepheardes all" ("Aprill," line 34), as Colin Clout's love, Rosalind, and even as the November eclogue's Dido. In the envoy, Spenser claims that his "lyttle Calender" will instruct the English shepherd how "from the falsers fraud his folded flocke to keepe," and Elizabeth, as the "Queene of shepheardes," becomes Spenser's principal audience. His calendar presumes to teach her how to shepherd the nation toward peace and prosperity. Louis Adrian Montrose has demonstrated the frequency with which the language and conventions of pastoral troped Elizabeth as the shepherd of the nation. Her role as a shepherd/monarch was to keep watch over her flock and to ward off alien encroachments. When Thomas Arundell returned from his travels bearing the Catholic title, "Earl of the Holy Empire," the queen rebuked him sharply: "I would not have my sheepe branded with another mans marke." (38) Spenser's pastoral implicitly defines the English nation/flock as one free from foreign influence and under Elizabeth's protective sovereignty. By presenting an insistently English calendar, Spenser tacitly counsels the queen to insulate England against the "falsers fraud" both of Catholic doctrine and of the pope's calendar reform, and he suggests that upholding an English calendar is central to preserving intact the "folded flocke" of English Protestant identity. (39)


If by presenting an alternative to the Gregorian reform, Spenser "Anglicized" calendrical time in the sense of making it more English, his calendar also "Anglicized" time by imagining a new Anglican liturgical content for the calendar. The sixteenth-century Gregorian reform debate was contemporary with an ongoing Protestant effort to transform the Catholic saints' calendar. While the Gregorian reform was concerned with the calendar's (mis)alignment with celestial motions, critics of the traditional liturgical calendar looked instead at the number and nature of the calendar's holy days. It was important to Spenser's project of "Anglicizing" time that he engage both kinds of calendar debate, for simply restructuring the calendar in terms of the Gregorian reform would not prevent medieval Catholic saints' days from being incorporated into this new temporal framework. Whereas

The Shepheardes Calender's prefaces and envoy invoke the Gregorian debate over the calendar, the eclogues themselves reimagine the nature of the saints' days.

Although critics have demonstrated The Faerie Queene's debt to John Foxe's monumental Protestant history, The Actes and Monuments (1563), no one has pointed out the ways in which The Shepheardes Calender is equally influenced by Foxe's work. (40) Yet the calendrical strategies of Spenser's text clearly recall the saints' calendar prefixed to Foxe's monumental text. Foxe's calendar is representative of one type of Protestant response to the Catholic saints' calendar. Whereas most early modern calendar reformers pared away annual observance by removing the Catholic saints, a few replaced the traditional canon with new Protestant names. Foxe's saints' calendar provides the most thoroughgoing example of this kind of calendar reform. (41) His six-page calendar substitutes the names of English Reformation apologists and martyrs for the traditional Catholic saints. While Foxe includes a number of prominent Protestant figures such as Sir John Oldcastle, the majority of his calendar saints are men and women of lesser renown, such as Agnes Potts (27 February), "Valentyne Frese and his wyfe" (March 13), and "John de Burge, a rich marchant" (2 October). In his preface, Foxe reasons, "if Martyrs are to be compared with Martyrs, I see no cause why the Martyrs of our time deserve not as great commendation as the other in the primitive church." (42) By commemorating these martyrs, Foxe provides a different set of historical referents for annual remembrance, and he thus establishes a new standard for behavior and devotion. The saints served as guides to moral action, and Foxe urged his readers to "imitate [the martyrs'] deaths . . . with like constancy, or their lives at the least with like innocency." (43) If Christians were to pattern their behavior after the saints, then the calendar, by listing these Protestant martyrs and linking their names to the daily experience of time, became the governing canon after which action should be modeled. This understanding of the word "calendar" is registered in Shakespeare's Hamlet when Os ric describes Laertes as the very "calendar of gentry," (44) the standard for regulating gentle behavior. Foxe's calendar thus serves as a kind of tabular Protestant conduct book. Although Foxe includes such international figures as Martin Luther and John Hus in his calendar, his timetable is filled primarily with English names, and his calendar suggests that English Protestants should consult their own local history and native tradition to find fit subjects for emulation and ritual celebration. (45)

Foxe's revisionary calendar provided a precedent for Spenser's framing of his poetic calendar along English nationalist lines. The Shepheardes Calender's poetic temporality is filled with the names of English shepherds, including such prominent figures of the Reformation as Archbishop Edmund Grindal and Queen Elizabeth. By also bringing humble, unknown shepherds--such as Thomalin and Willye of the "March" eclogue--into its calendrical framework, Spenser's text recalls Foxe's claim that even unknown English martyrs deserve to be remembered through the vehicle of the Protestant calendar. And just as Foxe's calendar sets up a new saintly standard for daily devotion and behavior, Spenser's calendar likewise serves as a model or example intended both to teach the shepherd/reader "how to feede his sheepe" and to guide this reader through the annual experience of time. Foxe's calendar makes English martyrs the standards of Protestant devotion, and Spenser's Calender similarly suggests that readers need not look pas t the boundaries of their own nation to find models of right behavior; indeed, it is only when Diggon Davie strays from his native land that he finds corruption and vice. Even English poetry can be reformed by looking more to native English poets than to classical sources. E. K. praises Chaucer "whom our Colin clout. . . calleth Tityrus the God of shepheards, comparing hym to the worthines of the Roman Tityrus Virgile" (p. 7). Although here Chaucer and Virgil are equated, E. K. next suggests Chaucer's preeminence as the guide for English poetic practice, for he says that Chaucer ("that good old Poete") is the primary model for Spenser ("this our new Poete") (p. 7). The Shepheardes Calender implies that English customs, the English language, and the English people should serve as the nation's poetic, religious, and cultural exemplars, and he memorializes them through the vehicle of his poetic calendar. According to the OED, the early modern calendar was a principal means of announcing canonical status, for to "canonize" meant "to place in the roster or calendar of saints." (46) By creating a poetic calendar, one which incorporates local English figures and involves itself in recent political and social debates, Spenser suggestively confers canonical status on the persons and events of sixteenth-century England.

Spenser's rewriting of the traditional calendar to honor contemporary English figures is most evident in the "April" eclogue's poetic canonization of Queen Elizabeth as a new Protestant saint:

For shee is Syrinx daughter without spotte,

Which Pan the shepheards God of her begot:

So sprong her grace,

Of heauenly race,

No mortall blemishe may her blotte.

(lines 50-4)

Critics such as David Norbrook have remarked that the language of the eclogue substitutes Elisa--the "flowre of Virgins" (line 48)-- for the Virgin Mary as the month's preeminent saint. (47) Yet regarding Elisa as simply a replacement for Mary does not account for the oddity of Spenser's choice of April as Elizabeth's month. Mary's principal feasts were her birthday (8 September), the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (8 December), the Feast of the Annunciation (25 March), and the Assumption of the Virgin (15 August). Spenser, however, chooses April for the Queen's month, one in no way associated with the Marian cult, and his choice suggests another calendrical substitution, one that figures Elizabeth as the nation's new patron saint. In sixteenth-century English calendar observance, April was the month of Saint George, and his feast, celebrated on 23 April, was an important celebration in the English calendar year. (48) The saint himself was symbolic both of the monarchy and of the English nation. Indeed, b ecause of his close implication with the English crown and with English nationalist sentiment, Saint George was one of the few medieval saints not cut from Protestant calendars. In the Book of Common Prayer (1559), for example, Saint George and Saint Mark are the only traditional saints included in the calendar's list of April holy days. (49)

Whereas these and other calendars make George into April's foremost saint, Spenser removes George and instead privileges Elisa. She appears in the eclogue robed in scarlet and white (lines 57-8) and her cheeks are like mingled red and white roses (line 68). Red and white, as the colors of chastity and purity, were often associated with Elizabeth, but they were also Saint George's traditional colors. For example, the fifteenth-century artists Paolo Uccello and Rogier van der Weyden painted Saint George, and both emphasize the saint's association with red and white. Van der Weyden's Saint George and the Dragon (ca. 1432/5) depicts him holding a white shield emblazoned with a red cross (reminiscent of Spenser's later Redcrosse Knight). Uccello's use of red and white is even more striking, for his painting of the same name (ca. 1460) has George astride a massive snow-white horse with bright red saddle, bridle, and trappings. Like Foxe who substituted recent Reformation figures for the saints of immemorial tradit ion, Spenser suggests that the living Protestant queen should supplant even England's saintly male patron. Although emblematic of English nationalist sentiment for centuries, George was originally a fourth-century Palestinian soldier, and Spenser seems to imply that sixteenth-century Englishmen should look to their own time and place for a patron saint. This suggestive replacement of George with Elizabeth not only works to glorify the monarch, but it also speaks to a new Protestant understanding of the saint. Instead of being those who wrought miraculous deeds, the saints were increasingly defined by Reformation apologists as those who lived virtuously, confessed their Protestantism, and publicly defended the faith--like Elizabeth herself. (50) Elizabeth's triumph over the dragon of Roman Catholicism becomes the sixteenth-century substitute for George's slaying of a more literal dragon. (51) Spenser's suggestive transformation of the Catholic Saint George into the Protestant Queen Elizabeth may even have prov ided a precedent for his later transformation of the Catholic Saint George into the Protestant Redcrosse Knight in book 1 of The Faerie Queene.

The hazard of importing new Protestant figures into the ecclesiastical calendar was that Protestant writers thereby risked making these "saints" the subject of invocation, a practice which Protestants decried as dehistoricizing the holy. (52) The medieval Catholic saint was traditionally a point of contact between the eternal world of heaven and the temporality of earth, and while the ritualistic celebration of a saint's day might have prompted meditation on the saint's original historical context, it primarily made the saint immanent in the believer's own present. In his study of early hagiography, Peter Brown writes that the pass passio of the saint "abolished time," and the reading of the saint's life "breached yet again the paper-thin wall between the past and present." (53) Thus the traditional saints' calendar allowed the sanctified men and women of the church to "live again" each year. In an attempt to abolish invocation of the saints, Protestants stressed the absence of the saints from human experien ce. Johannes Polyander insisted that "the Saints . . . have no more portion in the things which are done under the cope of heaven." (54) William Perkins in his A Reformed Catholike (1597) argues that the only lawful means of paying tribute to the saints is "by keeping a memorie of them in holy manner"; by emphasizing the role of memory., Perkins makes the saints part of the unrecoverable past. (55) Where the medieval Catholic passio erased time, Foxe's handling of the Protestant passio foregrounds it, for in the right margin of his calendar, Foxe lists the exact year of each martyr's death. This careful dating situates each martyr in the historical past and thus disables the ritualistic invocation that had made the saints immanent in the believer's own present.

Spenser's "November" and "Ivlye" similarly work to articulate a new, Protestant way of celebrating the saint and the holy day, one that precludes the practice of invocation by stressing the saint's place in the historical past. As E. K. notes in his introductory gloss, the "November" eclogue "bewayleth the death of some mayden of greate bloud, whom [Colin Clout] calleth Dido" (p. 104), and most critics identify Dido as a figure for Elizabeth. Paul McLane observes that "the choice of November for the lament over the death of Dido was in itself a happy stroke, for November was the queen's month, the month in which her triumphs over the enemies of England and of the Established Church were formally celebrated." (56) At the time that The Shepheardes Calender was published, the 17 November Accession Day celebrated the present power and glory of the queen. Spenser's "November," however, offers a proleptic glimpse at the future of the Accession Day celebrations, for it imaginatively projects the sixteenth-century r eader forward in time to experience November after the queen has died. (57) After 1603, the day that celebrated Elizabeth's accession to the throne during her lifetime became an occasion to indulge memories of the dead queen, and the visionary dirge of "November" imagines the day's transformation from a celebratory to a commemorative ritual. By dwelling insistently upon Dido's death and thus her remove from the temporal world of the mourners, Spenser makes Dido recoverable only through the work of memory. This woman that "whilome was the saynt of shepheards light" (line 176, emphasis added) cannot be invoked, only commemorated.

The "Ivlye" eclogue likewise stresses the death and thus the absence of the saints from human experience. The eclogue consists of a debate between two shepherds, Morrell (whom E. K. glosses as "proude and ambitious" [p. 661) and Thomalin. Depicted in the eclogue's woodcut sitting atop a hill, Morrell urges Thomalin, "come vp the hyll to me" (line 6), and he defends such high places as "sacred vnto saints" (line 39). Thomalin's response echoes contemporary Protestant doctrine on the saints:

I reuerence and adore:

The hylls, where dwelled holy saints,

Not for themselfe, but for the sayncts,

which han be dead of yore.

And nowe they bene to heauen forewent,

theyr good is with them goe:

Theyr sample onely to vs lent,

that als we mought doe soe.

(lines 113-20)

By emphasizing that the hills must not be reverenced for themselves but treated only as memorials of saintly piety, Thomalin reiterates Protestant accusations that images of the saints inspired idolatrous worship of the icon itself; Anthea Hume says that Thomalin's "discrimination between the alleged spiritual assistance rendered by the saints at their shrines and the true moral example left behind... would be felt to be undeniable by any Tudor Protestant believer." (58) Like William Tyndale's exhortation to "take the Saintes for an example onely," Thomalin stresses that the saints have departed from this earth, leaving behind only their "sample." (59)

Just as "April," "Ivlye," and "November" invoke the contemporary calendar debates, the very topicality of The Shepheardes Calender as a whole mirrors broad changes being wrought in the ecclesiastical calendar. A new type of calendar, known as historical calendars," emerged in Lutheran Germany in the early sixteenth century, and in addition to modifying the traditional listing of the saints, these texts offered notes about recent historical events. For instance, Paul Eber's Calendarium Historicum observes that on 3 January 1547, Henry VIII, king of England died, leaving his ten-year-old son Edward the throne. (60) The effect of the Lutheran historical calendars was soon felt in Britain. The 1583 Geneva Bible, for example, includes historical notes at the bottom of each calendar page. The page for January includes such commemorations as "The learned Clerke, Philip Melanthon [sic], as upon this day, was borne. Anno. 1497" (16 January) and "Martin Luther his body, as upon this day, was translated to Witenberg, a nd buried in the Chappell of the Castell there" (22 January). (61) Such historical notations worked to dissolve the aura of timelessness that had enveloped the medieval calendar saint, and the Protestant saints' calendar became a vehicle for commentary on localized, recent events.

The topicality, as it were, of such Protestant reformulations of the ritual calendar provides a new vantage point from which to view The Shepheardes Calender's own pervasive concern with issues specific to late sixteenth-century England. (62) In his glosses,

E. K. regularly reminds the reader that the fictional personae of the eclogues are intended to represent various contemporary people. In his introductory gloss to "March," for instance, he observes that "in the person of Thomalin is meant some secrete freend" (p. 29). Although E. K.'s glosses are notoriously unreliable, the topicality he alludes to is evident throughout the text. The Algrind of "November" is a thinly veiled allusion to the then archbishop, Edmund Grindal, and Alexander C. Judson demonstrates that the Roffy mentioned in "September" alludes to Spenser's employer John Young, the bishop of Rochester, whose title Latinized as Roffensis. (63) This topicality has customarily been ascribed to the text's identity as a pastoral; Michael Drayton writes that while the language and persons of pastoral should be "poor, silly, & of the coursest Woofe," beneath these appearances, "the most High, and most Noble Matters of the World may bee shaddowed in them."(64) The Shepheardes Calender, however, presses the association between pastoral and topicality into the service of an emergent Anglican means of experiencing annual time. By bringing local history into his poetic calendar, Spenser suggests that the nation's experience of time and of annual devotion should be calibrated not against the "timeless" saints of Catholic hagiography but against the recent events of English history.


In the preface to his Legends of Robert, Duke of Normandie. Matilda the Faire. Pierce Gaveston, Earle of Cornwall. Thomas Crornwell, Earle of Essex (1619), Drayton comments of The Faerie Queene that "The word LEGEND. ... was anciently used in an Ecclesiasticall sense, and restrained to things written in Prose touching the Lives of Saints. Master EDMUND SPENSER was the very first among us, who transferred the use of the word, LEGEND, from Prose to Verse." (65) Drayton characterizes The Faerie Queene as Spenser's rewriting of Catholic prose hagiography in verse, transforming, for instance, Saint George into the Redcrosse Knight. Drayton characterizes Spenser's work as one of transference: the "legend" has been "transferred" both from prose to verse, and from the ancient "Ecclesiasticall sense" in which it was "restrained" into an implicitly more labile, secular context. Spenser's Shepheardes Calender also reveals similar acts of transference, for the saints' calendar has been "translated" -- first, from prose to verse and, second, from a purely sacred entity into one serving both Protestant and nationalistic ends. There is, however, yet another transference at work: Spenser brings the ecclesiastical valences of the (prose) saints' calendar to bear on extraecclesiastical (poetic) questions such as role of the author and the nature of the literary canon. He uses the contemporary understanding of the calendar to sanction his own emergent poetic voice. In addition to denoting a structure for organizing the year, a "calendar" also meant "A guide, directory: an example, model." (66) By calling his text a "calendar," Spenser makes his text the "guide" or "example" for English poetry. Indeed, The Shepheardes Calender became a poetic standard for a subsequent generation of writers, serving as the pattern after which works such as Drayton's Idea The Shepheards Garland (1593) were modeled. Its "canonical" status suggests a changing understanding of the canon, from a religious standard--like a roster of saints whose piety is to be emulated--to any model or standard judged worthy of imitation. Spenser includes himself in the calendar under the name of Colin Clout; in his gloss to "Januarye," E. K. remarks that under the name Colin Clout, "the Authour selfe is shadowed" (p. 10). Colin, however, is not noteworthy for his remarkable piety but for his poetic prowess--"hys ditties bene so trimly dight" ("Aprill," line 29). By putting Colin/Spenser in the calendar, The Shepheardes Calender suggests that the sheer skill of the new Protestant poet renders him as "canonical" as even the new Protestant martyr or the immemorial Catholic saint.

Alison A. Chapman is an assistant professor of English at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She is at work on a book manuscript titled "Reforming Time: Calendars and Almanacs in Early Modern England."


I am grateful to Molly Rothenberg, Teresa Toulouse, Mimi Fenton, and Cynthia Lowenthal for their generosity In reading drafts of this article and for their helpful suggestions toward revision.

(1.) The epigraph is from Edmund Spenser. The Shepheardes Calender, in The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition, ed. Edwin Greenlaw, Charles Grosvenor Osgood, Frederick Morgan Padelford, et al., 9 vols. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1932--57). 7.1:10. All subsequent references are to this edition and volume and will be supplied parenthetically in the text, by line numbers for verse and page numbers for prose.

(2.) Mary Parmenter, "Spenser's Twelue Aeglogues Proportionable to the Twelue Monethes," ELH 3, 3 (September 1936): 190--217, 200.

(3.) Patrick Cullen similarly argues that the calendrical format of the eclogues simply "symbolizes in its own precarious balance of winter and spring the balance-in-opposition necessary for . . . pastoral society within the natural world" (Spenser, Marvell, and Renaissance Pastoral [Cambridge MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1970], p. 123). Robert Allen Durr likewise sees the sliding of one month into another as mirroring the ever-changing pastoral tableau In the eclogues ("Spenser's Calendar of Christian Time," ELH 24, 4 [December 1957]: 269--95).

(4.) A. C. Hamilton, "The Argument of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender," ELH 23, 3 (September 1956): 171-82, 174.

(5.) Susan Snyder. Pastoral Process: Spenser, Marvell, Milton (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1998), p. 20. Snyder opens her discussion of Spenser's Shepheardes Calender by citing Alexander Pope's Discourse on Pastoral Poetry: "The addition [Spenser] has made of a Calendar to his Eclogues is very beautiful: ... he compares human Life to the several Seasons, and at once exposes to his readers a view of the great and little worlds, in their various changes and aspects" (p. 19). Pope, too, sees the calendar as naturally suited to pastoral's themes.

(6.) Similarly, Lynn Staley Johnson seemingly equates the calendar with the "natural year" that it patterns, arguing that the text urges readers to find in the eclogues the same harmony "manifested in nature" (The Shepheardes Calender: Introduction [University Park PA: Pennsylvania State Univ. Press, 1990], p. 46).

(7.) Since our modern calendar format has remained unchanged since the eighteenth century, it can seem to us an immutable symbol of continuity and tradition in a way that it would not have to earlier centuries that witnessed its formations and reformations.

(8.) David Miller gives only three sentences to the Gregorian reform in his discussion of The Shepheardes Calender's concluding envoy ("Authorship, Anonymity. and The Shepheardes Calender," MLQ 40, 3 [September 1979]: 219-36, 226). Richard Halpern notes that while the question of calendar reform "hovers ominously in the background," E. K. "steadfastly refuses even to allude to this polemical context" (The Poetics of Primitive Accumulation: English Renaissance Culture and the Genealogy of Capital [Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1991]. p. 203). Paul E. McLane, noting the coincidence of Spenser's text with the Gregorian reform, says that "it seems logical" to connect the two, but he elaborates only in a brief footnote (Spenser's "Shepheardes Calender": A Study in Elizabethan Allegory [Notre Dame IN: Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 19611, p. 187). Parmenter provides a brief account of the Gregorian reform as general background to the text, but she does not examine the connection between the calendar debate and Spenser's work (pp. 194-6).

(9.) Helen White. The Tudor Books of Private Devotion (Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1951), p. 76.

(10.) Richard Helgerson demonstrates how early modern materials as diverse as maps, law books, plays, and ecclesiastical apologies all helped to create a sense of nationhood in the period. Although Helgerson does not discuss calendars or other forms of time reckoning, I am indebted to his understanding of how a variety of texts helped to "write" the early modern nation-state (Forms of Nationhood. The Elizabethan Writing of England [Chicago and London: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1992]).

(11.) As David Cressy argues in his introduction, "The calendar became an important instrument for declaring and disseminating a distinctively Protestant national culture. It served, sometimes, as a unifying force, binding the nation to the ruling dynasty and securing it through an inspiring providential interpretation of English history" (introduction to Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England [Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 19891. p. xi-xiv, xi). For another excellent history of the English ritual year. see Ronald Hutton. The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year, 1400--1700 (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 994).

(12.) John E. Booty, ed., The Book of Common Prayer. 1559: The Elizabethan Prayer Book (Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1976), P. 16.

(13.) This process, known as intercalation," is continued in much-simplified form in our modern practice of leap year.

(14.) Two interesting histories of the Western calendar have recently been published: David Ewing Duncan, Calendar: Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year (New York: Avon Books, 1998) and E. G. Richards, Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1998). For further discussion of the calendar's history, see Arno Borst, The Ordering of Time: From the Ancient Computus to the Modern Computer, trans. Andrew Winnard (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993); and Agnes Kirsopp Michels, The Calendar of the Roman Republic (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1967).

(15.) For more detailed discussion of the Gregorian reform, see G. V. Coyne, M. A. Hoskin, and O. Pedersen, eds., The Gregorian Reform of the Calendar (Vatican: Specola Vaticana, 1983); Peter Archer. The Christian Calendar and the Gregorian Reform (New York: Fordham Univ. Press, 1941): and Duncan, pp. 209-32.

(16.) Quoted in Owen Chadwick. The Reformation (New York: Viking Penguin, 1964), p. 302. See also Robin Bruce Barnes, Prophecy and Gnosis: Apocalypticism in the Wake of the Lutheran Reformation (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1988), pp. 112--3 for an account of German resistance to the reform.

(17.) Robert Pont, A Newe Treatise of the Right Reckoning of the Yeares and Age of the World (Edinburgh, 1599), p. 54.

(18.) For John Dee's involvement with the Gregorian Reform, see Coyne, pp. 102--4.

(19.) William Harrison, in Holinshed's Chronicles: England, Scotland, and Ireland, intro. Vernon F. Snow (London, 1807-08; rprt. New York: AMS Press. 1965; 1976). pp. 410--11.

(20.) Quoted in "Historical Notice of the Attempt Made by the English Government to Rectify the Calendar, A.D. 1584--5," Gentleman's Magazine 36 (November 1851):451--9, 456.

(21.) As discussed below, even within England there were contradictory New Year's Day practices. While the legal and church year began in March, popular custom celebrated the first day of the year on 1 January.

(22.) Joseph Chamberlaine, A New Almanacke and Prognostication (London, 1628), sig. By.

(23.) Robert Vilvain, A Short Survey of Our Julian English Year (London, 1656).

(24.) "A playne Discourse and humble Advise for our Gratious Queene Elizabeth, her most Excellent Majestie to peruse and consider, as considering the needful Reformation of the Vulgar Kalender for the civile yeres and daies accompting, or verifyeng, according to the tyme spent" (Ashmolean MS 1789). James Halliwell, the editor of John Dee's diary, comments that this work "although never entirely printed, created much sensation at the time, and was the cause of considerable controversy among the politicians as well as literati" (The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee, ed. James Orchard Halliwell [London: John Bowyer Nichols and Son, 1842], P. 19).

(25.) Quoted in "Historical Notice," p. 453.

(26.) Quoted in Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reign of Elizabeth, 1581--1590, ed. Robert Lemon (1865: rprt. Nendein, Liechtenstein: Kraus Reprint, 1967), p. 107.

(27.) Quoted in Coyne, p. 257.

(28.) Harrison p. 410.

(29.) Paul Alkon discusses England's adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752 in "Changing the Calendar," ECLife 7 (1982): 1--18.

(30.) McLane devotes a chapter to each of the four clerics and he explains Spenser's relationship to each (chaps. 9-12), pp. 140--202.

(31.) Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (London: Routiedge and Kegan Paul, 1979), p. 104.

(32.) William Bedwell, Kalendarium Viatorium Generale. The Travellers Kalendar (London, 1614), sig. A5v; Harrison, pp. 382-91. Daniel Browne offers a similar comparison of the calendars in diverse countries in his 1615 almanac (London, 1615), sig. C3v, as does Edward Pond in Enchiridion, or Pond His Eutheca (London, 1604), sig. C1.

(33.) A. F. Pollard, "New Year's Day and Leap Year in English History." English Historical Review 55, 218 (April 1940): 177--93, 184. For a seventeenth-century discussion of the discrepancies in dating the year, see Thomas Lakes, The Country-Mans Kalendar (Cambridge, 1627), sigs. B2-B2v.

(34.) In 1564, Charles IX established 1 January as France's official New Year's Day (see Emile Male, The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century, trans. Dora Nussey, Icon Editions [New York: Harper and Row, 1972], p. 69).

(35.) The authority E. K. gives to the homespun usage of the English people recalls the anonymous A Treatise with a Kalender (1598) which celebrates the English feasts and vigils "laudably used in former times" and which describes "what the auncient customes of our Country have beene" (J. B., A Treatise with a Kalender, and the Proofes thereof [London. 1598], pp. 7, 4.)

(36.) For a discussion of The Shepheardes Calender's nostalgia for an unsullied English language, see Halpern, pp. 205--7.

(37.) Wendy Wall, The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1993), p. 236.

(38.) Quoted in Louis Adrian Montrose, "'Eliza, Queene of shepheardes,' and the Pastoral of Power," ELR 10, 2 (Spring 1980): 153-82, 159.

(39.) If The Shepheardes Calender offers an argument against merging England's calendar with Rome's, it does so in wisely oblique fashion. The nation had recently witnessed the penalties for presuming to advise the queen and incurring her displeasure: the writer John Stubbes had, only one month prior to the publication of The Shepheardes Calender, lost his right hand as penalty for authoring A Discoverie of a Gaping Gulfe, a tract which undiplomatically railed against the queen's planned marriage with the French Duc d'Alencon. The printer of the Discoverie, Hugh Singleton, having narrowly avoided Stubbes's punishment, turned four months later to printing The Shepheardes Calender. By exchanging his involvement in the queen's proposed marriage for engagement in the calendar debate, Singleton moved from one hotly contested topic to another, and as both Robert Lane and

Bruce R. Smith have observed, readers would have expected something both topical and controversial from his imprimatur (Lane, Shepheardes Devises: Edmund Spenser's "Shepheardes Calender" and the Institutions of Elizabethan Society [Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1993], p. 61; Smith, "On Reading The Shepheards Calender," SSt 1 [1980]: 69-93. 79). McLane comments that Singleton, one of the least successful and least experienced of London printers, "would have been the last printer in London that one would employ to bring out what was to be an example of the new poetry" (p. 19). Singleton had, however, printed one text counseling the queen against marrying a Catholic, and he thus seems a logical choice for a work that advises the queen not to conjoin England's calendar with Rome's.

(40.) At the 1998 "John Foxe and His World" conference at Ohio State University, one entire panel was devoted to the Faerie Queene's reliance on Foxe and another to Foxe's influence on Spenser's shorter poetry--although The Shepheardes Calender was not one of the shorter poems discussed. For discussion of Spenser's debt to Foxe in book 1 of The Faerie Queene, see John N. King, Spenser's Poetry and the Reformation Tradition (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1990), pp. 190-2.

(41.) The historian Damian Nussbaum has provided the only sustained examination to date of Foxe's calendar in "Reviling the Saints or Reforming the Calendar? John Foxe and His 'Kalendar' of Martyrs," in Belief and Practice in Reformation England: A Tribute to Patrick Collinson from His Students, ed. Susan Wabuda and Caroline Litzenberger, St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History (Brookfield VT: Ashgate, 1998), pp. 113-36. Mark Breitenberg discusses the calendar briefly in connection with a Protestant attempt at copia, so that the proliferation of saints' names "persuades by leaving little space for an alternative" ("The Flesh Made Word: Foxe's Actes and Monuments," Ren&R 25, 4 [Fall 19891: 381-407, 391).

(42.) Foxe, Actes and Monuments, 1563. sig. [B6v].

(43.) Foxe, sig. [B4].

(44.) The Norton Shakespeare Based on the Oxford Edition, ed. Stephen Greenblatt (New York and London: W. W. Norton. 1977), V.ii. 102.4.

(45.) Although The Shepheardes Calender expresses generally Protestant sympathies, its exact theological position is complex and controversial. For different opinions on the religion articulated in the eclogues, see Anthea Hume, Edmund Spenser: Protestant Poet (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1984), p. 14; King, pp. 14-46; and David Norbrook, Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984), pp. 60-7, 89-90.

(46.) OED, 2d edn., s.v. "canonize."

(47.) Although Norbrook argues that "The positioning of the blazon in the volume as a whole emphasizes Spenser's Protestant revision of the traditional ritual calendar," he does not discuss this revision at further length (p. 85).

(48.) For accounts of Saint George's legend, see David Hugh Farmer, The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1997), pp. 202-3, and Spenser Encyclopedia, ed. A. C. Hamilton et al. (London: Routledge, 1990; Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1990), pp. 329-30. Hutton discusses the celebration of Saint George's Day in England (pp. 26-7) as does Cressy (pp. 20-1).

(49.) Booty, p. 39. It is a measure of Saint George's centrality to England's national identity that Foxe retains his name at all, for he is usually careful to remove any calendar saints not authorized by Scripture.

(50.) For further discussion of Protestant doctrine on the saints, see Robert Kolb, For All the Saints: Changing Perceptions of Sainthood and Martyrdom in the Lutheran Reformation (Macon GA.: Mercer Univ. Press, 1987].

(51.) In The Actes and Monuments' dedicatory letter to the queen, a large illustration shows Elizabeth sitting with her feet on a slain dragon. For discussion of this image, see Peter Stallybrass, "Footnotes," in The Body in Parts: Fantasies of Corporeality in Early Modern Europe, ed. David Hillman and Carla Mazzio (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 313-25, 314-5.

(52.) Kolb, pp. 3-4.

(53.) Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1981), p. 81.

(54.) Johannes Polyander, A Refutation of an Epistle Written by a Doctor of the Augustins Order. trans. Henry Hexham (London, 1610), p. 106.

(55.) William Perkins, A Reformed Catholike (London, 1597), p. 243.

(56.) McLane. p. 60.

(57.) Lane writes that the eclogue "deftly challenges the deification of Elizabeth by dwelling on her mortality, apparently praising her while actually burying her" (p. 22).

(58.) Hume, p. 30.

(59.) William Tyndale, The Obedience of a Christen Man, in The Whole Workes of W. Thndall, Iohn Frith, and Doct. Barnes (London, 1573), sig. [Y4]. Quoted in Hume, p. 30.

(60.) Paul Eber, Calendarium Historicum (Wittenburg, 1571), p. 309. See Kolb, pp. 29-33 for further discussion of the Lutheran historical calendars.

(61.) The Bible [Geneva] (Chistopher Barker, 1578), fol. aiiiir. For other examples of historical calendars included in English Bibles, see The Bible and Holy Scriptures [Geneva] (Edinburgh: Arbuthnot, 1579) and The Bible [Geneva] (Christopher Barker, 1583).

(62.) Lane echoes most critics when he attests to the "long-standing recognition that [The Shepheardes Calender] refers in some way to political circumstances" (pp. 3-4).

(63.) Alexander C. Judson, The Life of Edmund Spenser, in Works, 8:1-238, 51; McLane discusses the Latinized "Roffensis" at pp. 158-9. McLane uncovers in the shepherds Piers and Morrell, the English clergymen John Piers, bishop of Salisbury, and John Aylmer, bishop of London (chaps. 11 and 12].

(64.) Michael Drayton, "To the Reader of His Pastorals," in The Works of Michael Drayton, ed. J. William Hebel, 5 vols. (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1931-41), 2:517-8, 517.

(65.) Drayton, 2:382.

(66.) OED, 2d edn., s.v. "calendar."