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SPENSER AND THE RENAlSSANCE ORPHEUS THOMAS H. CAIN No poet of the Renaissance is more attuned to mythopoeic creation than is Spenser. He can invent a figure like Florimell by fusing the myths of Psyche, Persephone, and the chaste Helen and still create something abundantly fresh and mysterious. Throughout his poems his imagination turns to the two figures of myth that sixteenth-century poets found most useful: Hercules the archetype of the hero, the active protagonist of the good; and Orpheus the artist-magician, celebrated in Henry VIII in the song, Orpheus with his lute made trees, And the mountain tops that freeze, Bow themselves when he


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pp. 24-47
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