Roger's response prompts my earnest agreement on all points. I'm moved to add an
observation that Spenser was almost the first notable English poet for whom the medium of print,
not manuscript, was the preferred mode of self-presentation. Gascoigne preceded him by a
little, and I suppose Harvey with his Latin poems; others? So whether the 1590 FQ was in print
or at the printer's, I suppose that his reading at court had something to do with the book's
appearance, heralding it before or after it was available at Ponsonby's place of business.
I have speculated, wildly, that something like the Garden of Adonis canto, or some part of it,
might have been read before the C of Pembroke and her circle at one of the annual events to
mourn Amintas' death and transfiguration. That would have been some time before 1590.
Surely no way to substantiate this but it's my vain attempt to make sense of a mystery, and to
counter the notion that Spenser was reluctant to mourn Sidney's death.
Cheers, Jon Quitslund