1. In “Doleful Lay,” Mary Herbert Spenser names the speaker who is clearly a woman. How does she give Clorinda a distinctly and distinctively female-gendered voice?
2. How does Mary Herbert Spenser use nature imagery in “Doleful Lay?” To what degree, if any, is it idealized and/or allegorized?
3. Mary Herbert Spenser dedicates her translations of the Psalms to her brother with the elegy “To the Angel Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Philip Sidney.” In this poem, she attributes the translations’ heavenly power to her brother, an expressed humility and subordination she repeats in various ways, including deploring her own weakness and presumption. To what degree, if any, is Mary Herbert Spenser in these ways fulfilling elegiac versus gender conventions? How does her representation of gender compare with Elizabeth I’s?
4. How, if at all, does Mary Herbert Spenser reveal her Protestant faith in her translations of the Psalms?
5. Considering the restrictions that her era placed upon females taking any public role in religious practices, to what degree, if at all, does Mary Herbert Spenser distinguish between private or personal versus public and universal expressions of faith in her translations of the Psalms? How, if at all, does her prowess and versatility in metrical verse play into this distinction?