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additions, by J. H. Lond. for R. Dexter, &c. 1599.” 12mo. In a copy I have seen of this last edition, at the end are bound up, “ Certaine worthye manuscript poems of great antiquitie, reserved long in the studie of a Northfolke Gentleman, now first published by J. S. Lond. R. D. 1597.” 12mo. The poems are, " The stately Tragedy of Guiscard and Sismond;" In two books, in the seven-lined stanza. It is Dryden's story, and seems about the age of Henry VII.
« The Northern Mother's Blesling, written nine yeares before the death of G. Chaucer." “ The Way to Thrift.”—They are dedicated to the worthiest poet Maister Ed. Spenser. T. WARTON.
A few additions may be made to the precedivg REMARKS ON SPENSER's LANGUAGE AND VERSIFICATION.
Indeed it is proper to inform the reader that, in consequence of the poet's frequently converting words of one syllable into two, words of two syllables into three, &c. and in confequence also of his remarkable accentuation of words; the several words, so employed, will be found thus distinguished, armës, Safety, inchantëment, infamous, protráte, courage, &c. In pronunciations of this kind likewise, Spenser follows his old master. See Tyrwhitt's Etay on the Language and Versification of Chaucer, prefixed to the Canterb. Tales, 4to. edit. Oxford, 1798, p. 61. Nor will the reader omit to observe that Spenser, like Chaucer and all our elder writers, uses no apostrophe in his genitive cases. By elisions intended in the pronuncia. tion, however, he sometimes reduces words of two fyllables into one, as iron, which must be read ir'n ; and cruelly, which must be read cru'lly, &c. This practice has been abundantly imitated by Milton.
Alexander Gill, master of St. Paul's school, London, (under whom Milton was educated,) published in 1621 a treatise in quarto, entitled LOGONOMIA ANGLICA, quá Gentis fermo faciliùs addiscitur :" His numerous examples, under the various figures of Syntar, are principally drawn from the FAERIE QUEENE; and I am furprised that the work hould have escaped the notice of the commentators, especially Mr. Upton, who delighted so much in accommodating old English expressions to learned rules and construction. Take an example or two from Mr. Gill's illustration of Figures in Sound : I must previously obferve, however, that the spelling adopted by the critick would hardly be legible; as he was an advocate for a new English ofthgraphy, formed partly in subferviency to the pronunciation, of the words, intermixed also with Saxon letters, and distinguished by other marks of his own invention. To enumerate all the forms, under which he has ingeniously placed passages from Spenser, the Antonomaha, the Metalephs, the Onomatopæia, the Barbaraleris, &c. &c. would fill many pages, and might not, I fear, completely gratify the curiosity which these highfounding names excite. The following examples are from the Figures in Sound, cap. xxi. p. 108, &c.
Exisveis, five Subiun&tio. " Unam se.gemines vucem Subiunétio fiet :
“ His lady fad to see his sore constraint,
F. Q. i. i. 19. « Conuerto, Αντιστροφή al. Επιστροφή. “ Pluria membra fono Conuerho claudit codem. For truth is one, and right is euer one.”
F. Q. v, ji. 48. « Επανάληψις. " Incipit $ finit verbo Epanalepfis eodem : “ Bold was the chalenge, as himselfe was bold.”
F. Q. iv, ii. 39. The following is an example, taken from the critick's Figures of fentence, p. 128.
" Erarodos, Regresio.
“ All that pleasing is to living eare
“ Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call; “ The gentle warbling wind low answered to all."
F. Q. ii. xii. 70. A writer, subsequent to Gill, has concisely and very properly noticed a peculiarity fometimes obfervable in Spenser's versification. « His making the end of one verse to be the frequent beginning of the other (besides the art of the Trope) was the labour and delight of Mr. Edmund Spencer, whom Sir Walt. Raleigh and Sir Kenelm Digby were used to call the English Virgil.” Preface to the Reader, in The Chajt and Lot Loters, &c. Digefted into three poems, by Will. Bosworth, Gent. 1651, 8vo. Lond. About twenty years after, a work was published, entitled “ Anglice Speculum Morale : The Moral State of England, &c. 8vo. Lond. 1670." In which, the confideration of the poetry of this country forms a chapter, p. 65. &c. The remarks on Spenser's imagery and LANGUAGE may here be properly introduced, as they serve to show the etiimation in which the moral poet was held at that period : “ The Bards and Chroniclers, in the Iles of Britain and Ireland, have been in former times even ador'd for the ballads in which they extoll’d the deeds of their forefathers; and fince the ages have been refined, doubtless, England hath produced those, who in this way have equall'd most of the Ancients, and exceeded all the Moderns. CHAUCER rose like the morning starr of Wit, out of thote black mitts of ignorance; since him, SPENCER MAY DESERVEDLY CHALLENGE THE CROWN for though he may seem blameable in not obferving decorum in some places enough, and in too much (in the whole) countenancing Knight-errantry; yet the easie fimilitudes, the natural pourtraits, the fo refined and sublimated fancies, with which he haath bestudded every Canto of his subject, will easily reach him the guerdon : and though some may object to him that his language is harsh and antiquated; yet his design was noble; to Mew us that our language was expressive enough of our own sentiments; and to upbraid those who have indenizon'd such nuinbers of forreign words." Compare this with E. K.'s criticism, before cited, p. cxxxv.
Respecting the Alexandrine verse, which closes every stanza with greater dignity than an heroick line, and which Dryden profetiedly used in imitation of Spenser; it must be remarked that Spenser was not the inventor of this sonorous termination, as Mr. Upton seems to have imagined. For I find, in Puttenham's Arte of Englis Puese, 1580, p. 60, that “Sir Thos. Wiat the elder was the firti who ufed the Alexandrine verse in the English tongue."
It remains only to call the reader's attention to the beautiful construction of Spenser's numbers, and to the forcible expreffion of his ideas, in the happy defcription of the poet given by that judicious critick, the late Dr. Joseph Warton: “ The characteristicks of this sweet and allegorical poet are not only Qrong and circumstantial imagery, but tender and pathetick feeling, a most melodious flow of versification, and a certain pleasing melancholy iņ his sentiments, the constant companion of an elegant tafte, that casts a delicacy and grace over all his compositions.” Todd.
ACTION AND HISTORY OF THE FAERIE QUEENE.
IT is not my intention to enter into a particular criticism of any of our poet's writings, excepting the FAERIE QUEENE; which poem seems to have been hitherto very little understood; notwithstanding he has opened, in a great measure, his design and plan in a letter to his honoured friend Sir Walter Raleigh. How readily has every one acquiefced in Dryden's opinion? “ That the action of this poem is not one; that there is no uniformity of design; and that he aims at the accomplishment of no action.” See his dedications of the translation of Virgil's Æneid, and of the translation of Juvenal. It might have been expected that Hughes, who printed Spenser's works, should not have joined so freely in the same cenfure: and yet he tells us, “ that the leveral Books appear rather like so many several poems, than one entire fable : each of them having its peculiar knight, and being independant of the rest."
Just in the same manner did the criticks and commentators formerly abuse old Homer; his Iliad, they faid, was nothing else, but a parcel of loose songs and rhapsodies concerning the Trojan war, which he sung at festivals; and thefe loose ballads were first collected, and stitched, as it were, together by Pififtratus; being parts without any coherence, or relation to a whole, and unity of defign.
As this subject requires a particular confideration; I desire the reader will attend to the following vindication of Homer and Spenser, as they have both fallen under one common cenfure.
In every poem there ought to be simplicity and unity; and in the epick poem the unity of the action should never be violated by introducing any ill-joined or heterogeneous parts. "This effential rule Spenser seems to me * strictly to have followed : for what story can well be shorter, or more simple, than the subject of his poem ?-A British Prince fees in a vision the Faerie Queene; he falls in love, and goes in search after this unknown fair; and at length finds her.—This fable has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is, the British Prince saw in a vision the Faerie Queene, and fell in love with her: the middle, his search after her, with the adventures that he underwent: the end, his finding whom he fought.
But here our curiosity is raised, and we want a more circumftantial information of many things.Who is this British Prince ? what adventures did he undergo ? who was the Faerie Queene ? where, when, and how, did he find her ? Thus many questions arise, that require many folutions.
The action of this Poem has not only fimplicity and unity, but it is great and important. The hero is no less than the British Prince, Prince Arthur: (who knows not Prince Arthur)? The tiine when this hero commenced his adventures, is marked very exactly. In the reign of Uther Pendragon, father of Prince Arthur, veta the son of Hengist, and his kinsinan Eola, thinking themselves not bound by the treaties which they had made with
. * ftri&tly to have followed ;) See, however, Dr. Hurd's Remarks on the Gothick system of this poem, and his successful obje&tions to Mr. Upton's assertion, p. clx. TODD.