Page images

mistaken for bombast and insipidity, by the refined readers of a diffolute age, whose taste and morals were equally vitiated.

From this detail it will appear, that allegorical poetry, through many gradations, at last received its ultimate confummation in the Faerie Queene. Under this confideration therefore, I hope what I have here collected on this subject, will not seem too great a deviation from the main subject of the present remarks; which I conclude with the just and pertinent sentiments of the Abbe du Bos, on allegorical action, Reflexions, tom. i. c. 25. The paffage, though properly respecting dramatick poets, is equally applicable to the action of the Faerie Queene. " It is impossible for a piece, whose subject is an allegorical action, to intereft us very much. Those, which writers of approved wit and talents have hazarded in this kind, have not fucceeded so well as others, where they have been difposed to be less ingenious, and to treat historically their fubject.-Our heart requires truth even in fiction itself; and, when it is presented with an allegorical fiction, it cannot determine itself, if I may be allowed the expression, to enter into the sentiments of those chimerical personages. A theatrical piece, were it to speak only to the mind, would never be capable of engaging our attention

O mame to men ! Devil with devil damn'd, &c.
« O shame! O curse! O more than hellish spight!
6 Damn'd Devils with each other never fight.
" Tho' God bids peace with promises of life,
“ Men onely reason arm for deadly strife;
" By bloody wars earth making defolate,

" And sacrificing thousands to their hate, &c.” We Thall be led to make the same remark on such a refiner, as Smith does on Bayes in the Rehearsal: “ Now the devil take thee for a filly, confident, unnatural, fulsome rogue !"


through the whole performance. We may therefore apply the words of Lactantius upon this occafion. Poetick licence has its bounds, beyond which you are not permitted to carry your fi&tion. . A poet's art consists in making a good representation of things that might have really happened, and embellishing them with elegant images. Totum autem, quod referas, fingere, id est ineptum esse et mendacem, potius quam poetam *.T. Warton.

* To Mr. Warton's REMARKS ON ALLEGORY I shall ven-' ture to add some circumstances, which may not be found uninteresting.

It has escaped the notice of the commentators, that a Latin poem was published many years before the FAERIE QUEENE, the subject of which might possibly give a hint to Spenfer. This poem, representing Popery as a Cyclops, relates, in seven books, the tyranny and artifices of it; assuming clasical names to de. scribe papal persons and things. The author, at the end of the poem, explains his allegory, by the following lines, to which there is a marginal note, viz. Allegorica expositio de Cyclopibus.

“ Hactenus effiétain tibi rem narramus, at ipsa

Cortice sub tenui myftica sensa latent.
“ Arguit obscuro vates sermone Tyrannos,

“ Temporibus noftris, temporibúfque fuis.
" Libera enim nulla eft monstris à talibus ætas :

“ Sed nihil in forteis iuris habere queunt.
Quanvis fortunas infractaque corpora frangant,

“ Non poffunt fimili frangere corda modo.
“ Atque ab eis tandem pænas Deus ipfe repofcit,

“ In quoduis vitium, qui fine lege ruunt.
“ Enceladus docet hoc fiammanti preffus ab Ætna:

Hoc et Typhonis fabula ficta notat.
“ Hoc tibi Centauri, Lapithæque, maligna propago,

“ Hoc et Cyclopes monstra cruenta volunt.
" Exprimit hoc celebris fontum pictura Gigantum,

“ Præterea quotquot non meminiffe queam.” The poein itself is written in hexameters, and is thus entitled : Septem CYCLOPEIDON LIBRI, Originem, Ingenium, Inftitutionem, Leges, et Regnum fatale bis nati CYCLOPIS, iucundo

Jatyrici generis figmento repræsentantes, olim in gratiam inTERIM .cæpti, nunc autem demum Heroico Carmine elaborati, recenfque editi, per Menfonem Poppium Eurothalasium alias Osterzeenfem,

Frifum, verbi ministrum in Manflacht Frifa Orientalis. Anno
1555.” The palace of Night, who represents the influence of
Popery, is described in the first Book with much spirit; and
Night is attended with the following allegorical personages :

“ Ipfa fatellitio ftipatur utrinque frequenti :
“ Primo dextra loco jacet Ignorantia veri.
“ Hinc fine iudicio five mente recumbit ovillis,
“ Moribus et nugas Persuasio discit aniles.
" Indc Superstiho tetro sedet impia visu :

Falsaque iuftitiæ propriæ patrona, suique
". Admiratrix, externoque Philautia cultu
" Splendida, at interius vivæ virtutis inanis :
" Et foror huius amans tremulis replicare labellis
" Murmura, continuo vocis prolata susurro
" Ac humeris inflexa caput Simulatio vana:
“ Securoque placens fibi Confidentia geftu,

" Impiaque ignitis Truculentia fpectat ocellis, &c." I know not whether THE VOYAGE OF THE WANDRING KNIGHT, a French spiritual romance, was published in its own language before the FAERIE QUEENE. But the English translation of it was dedicated to Sir Francis Drake, Spenser's cotemporary, who died in 1597. This work has also been unnoticed by the commentators. The following edition of it is in Sion College Library, London. “ THE VOYAGE OF THE WANDRING KNIGHT. Shewing the whole course of Mans Life, how apt he is to follow Vanity, and how hard it is for him to attayn to Vertue. Devised by John Cartheny, a Frenchman; and transated out of French into English, by W. G. of Southampton, Merchant. A work worthy the reading; and dedicated to the Right Worshipfull Sir Francis Drake, Knight. Lond. 1650.” 4to. bl. 1. The dedication contains many allusions to Sir Francis's acquaintance with the sea. The work is divided into three parts. In the first part, “ Folly apparelleth and armeth the Wandring Knight, Ch. iv. The Wandring Knight, finding two wayes and doubtfull whether of them to take, there chaunced to come to him Vertue and Voluptuoufnesse, either of them offering to conduct and guide him on the way, Ch. vi. How the Wandring Knight was received and welcomed to tho pallace of worldly Felicity, Ch. viii.” In the second part, “ Gods-Grace fheweth Hell unto the knight, with all the voluptuous company that hee saw in the pallace of worldly Felicity, Ch. ii.” In the third part, Faith, Hope, and Charity are described, Ch. ii. iii. iv. &c. As are the four Moral: Virtues, Ch. vii. And, in the eighth Chapter, Faith, like Spenser's hermit, “ from the top of the tower of the pallace of Lady Vertue fheweth unto the Knight the City of Heaven." De

Bure makes no mention of this fpiritual romance. And Du Fresnoy only gives an account of an edition of it, not dated, but placed between two modern books of 1681 and 1729, in his Bibliotheque des Romans, tom. ii. 172. " Le voyage

du Chevalier errant, par Jean de Carthemi, Dominicain, in 8vo.

· Spiritual allegories of this kind, I may add, became frequent in this country, and were read with avidity. Witness “ THE Isle or MAN : or, The Legall Proceeding in Man-Shire against Sinne. Wherein, by way of a continued Allegorie, the chiefe Malefactors disturbing both Church and Commonwealth are detected and attached ; with their Arraignment, and Judiciall Trial, according to the Lawes of England. The Spirituall vse thereof, with an apologie for the manner of handling, most necessary to be first read, for dire&ion in the right vse of the Allegory thorowout, is added in the end. By Rich. Bernard, Rector of Batcomb, Somerset. 1698." 12mo. The fifth edition of this work, is that which now lies before me. To this work I am of opinion we may attribute John Bunyan's PILGRIM'S PRO. GRESS; and allo Benjamin Keach's TRAVELS or TRUE GOD. LINESS, and his Progress of Six. Perhaps B. Fletcher had also in mind the Isle of Man, when he denominated his allegorical poem The Purple ISLAND, There is, however, an elder work, entitled “ Roome FOR A MESSE OF KNAVES," 4to. 1610, in which is “ A narration of a Itrange but true battell fought in the little Ife (or worlde) of Man." Man is represented as a “ castle beleaguer'd by two huge armies ;" the Virtues, and the Vices. And the author seems to have had his eye on the foes of Alma in the Faerie Queens.

Neither Mr. Spence nor Mr. Warton have made the least mention of Henry More's PLATONICK SONG OF THE SOUL; a poem written avowedly in imitation of Spenser, and often presenting as just an allegory and as sweet a stanza as the ori. ginal which it profeffes to follow. This poem, in three Books, was first printed in 1642, and again in 1647. Milton, I think, appears to have read it with attention. More indeed was his fellow-collegian, and friend.. The criticks have also neglected to notice the PsYCHE, OR Love's MYSTERIE, by Jof. Beau. mont, fol. 1651.

It remains, that I should mention the allegorical design of one of Spenser's cotemporaries, viz. John Day, whom I suppose to be the dramatick writer of that name, and who was a member of Caius College, Cambridge. The work, of which I am to give an account, is in manuscript; and is one of the many literary curiosities which belonged to the late Duke of Bridgewater, and now belong to his Grace's nephew, Earl Gower. It is entitled, PEREGRINATIO SCHOLASTICA, or, Learninges Pillgrimadge. Containeinge the straunge Aduentures, and various

“ Nor that proud towre of Troy, though richly GUILT.” Being here laid under the compulsion of producing a consonant word to spilt and built, which are preceding rhymes, he has mechanically given us an image at once little and improper.

To the difficulty of a stanza fo injudiciously chosen, I think we may properly impute the great number of his elleipses; and it may be easily conceived, how that constraint, which occasioned fuperfluity, should at the same time be the cause of omission.

Notwithstanding these inconveniencies flow from Spenser's measure, it must yet be owned, that some advantages arise from it; and we may' venture to affirm, that the fullness and fignificancy of Spenser's defcriptions, is often owing to the prolixity of his stanza, and the multitude of his rhymes. The difcerning reader is desired to consider the following ftanza, as an instance of what is here advanced. Guyon is binding FUROR, F. Q. ii. iv. 15. " With hundred yron chaines he did him bind,

“ And hundred knots, that did him fore constraine:
“ Yet his great yron teeth he still did grind,
“ And grimly gnash, threatning revenge in vaine :
“ His burning eyen, whom bloody strakes did staine,
“ Stared full wide, and threw forth sparkes of fyre;
« And, more for ranck despight then for great paine,

« Shakt his long locks colourd like copper-wyre, " And bit his tawny beard to thew his raging yre.' In the subsequent stanza there are some images, which perhaps were produced by a multiplicity of rhymes. F. Q. iv. v. 45.

“ He all that night, that too long night, did passe :
• And now the day out of the ocean-ınayne

Began to peepe above this earthly massé,
“ With pearly dew sprinkling the morning, grasse :
66 Then he rose like heavie lump of lead,
• That in his face, as in a looking glasse,
* The ligns of anguish one might plainely read.”


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »