Colin Clout's Come Home Again "Triton Blowing Loud His Wreathed Horne"

Edmund Spenser

"Triton Blowing Loud His Wreathed Horne"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Spenser creates the persona Colin Clout to achieve his purposes in this poem, which does two things: it praises Sir Walter Raleigh (Shepherd of the Ocean), who was Spenser's sponsor at court, and it praises Queen Elizabeth I for her favors. Colin, safe back home in Ireland, describes for his shepherd friends the fabulous trip he has taken, the places he has seen, and the great persons he has met. He tells of his first ocean voyage, surrounded by sea and sky as far as the eye could see. He asks the Shepherd of the Ocean to explain this fearful, strange, new world he sees around him. In an extended metaphor which skillfully praises Elizabeth as Cynthia, the chief Shepherdess of the Queen, the Shepherd tells Colin that the oceans are the hills and pastures of Cynthia's realm. Here Cynthia is served by multitudes: hundreds of nymphs, Triton, Proteus, and the Shepherd himself. The phrase is later echoed by Wordsworth in his sonnet "The World Is Too Much with Us" (1807).

These be the hills (quoth he) the surges hie,
On which fair Cynthia her heards doth feed:
Her heards be thousand fishes with their frie
Which in the bosome of the billowes breed.
Of them the shepherd which hath charge in chief,
Is Triton blowing loud his wreathed horne:
At sound whereof, they all for their relief
Wend too and fro at evening and at morne.