Brittains Ida or Venus and Anchises cover

Brittains Ida or Venus and Anchises

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

1. Brittain's Ida

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Summary

While hunting, the boy Anchises stumbles upon Venus's forest retreat and is so kindly entertained by the goddess that he becomes the proud father of Aeneas, the hero of Vergil's Aeneid. The poem is an epyllion like Marlowe's "Hero and Leander" and Shakespeare's "Venus and Adonis," a short erotic poem with a mythological subject. The style is Spenserian, the stanzas rhyming ababbccc. When Brittain's Ida was published in 1628, the publisher ascribed it to Edmund Spenser. However, in 1926 Ethel Seaton discovered and published Fletcher's original manuscript, whose opening stanzas make clear that this is the work of Fletcher, who entitled it "Venus and Anchises."