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morphofes, to which, I believe, he will not think it
The miraculous incident of a tree fhedding drops of blood, and a voice fpeaking from the trunk of it, is borrowed from that of Polidorus, in Book III. of Virgil's Eneis. Ariofto and Taffo have both copied the fame ftory, though in a different manner. It was impoffible that the modern poets, who have run fo much into the tafte of romance, fhould let a fiction of this kind efcape their imitation.
The adventures which befal Una, after she is forfaken by the Knight; her coming to the house of A beffa, or Superftition; the confternation occafioned by that vifit; her reception among the favages; and her civilifing them; are all very fine emblems. The education of Satyrane, a young Satyr, is defcribed on this occafion with an agreeable wildnefs of fancy.
But there is one epifode in this Book which I cannot but particularly admire; I mean that in Canto V. where Dueffa the witch feeks the affiftance of Night to convey the body of the wounded Pagan to be cured by fculapius in the regions below. The Author here rifes above himself, and is got into a track of imitating the Ancients, different from the greateft part of his Poem. The fpeech in which Dueffa addreffes Night is wonderfully great, and stained with that impious flattery which is the character of Falfehood, who is the speaker:
"O thou, most auncient grandmother of all,
"More old than Iove, whom thou at firft didft breede, "Or that great house of gods cæleftiall; "Which waft begot in Demogorgon's hall, "And fawft the fecrets of the world unmade!"
As Dueffa came away haftily on this expedition, and forgot to put off the fhape of Truth, which the had affumed a little before, Night does not know her: this circumstance, and the discovery afterwards,
when the owns her for her daughter, are finely emblematical. The images of Horrour are raised in a very masterly manner; Night takes the witch into her chariot, and being arrived where the body lay, they alight.
"And, all the while fhe ftood upon the ground,
They steal away the body, and carry it down through the cave Avernus, to the realms of Pluto. What ftrength of painting is there in the following lines!
"On every fide them stood
"The trembling ghosts, with fad amazed mood, "Chattring their iron teeth, and staring wide "With ftonie eies; and all the hellish brood "Of feends infernall flockt on every fide, "To gaze on erthly wight, that with the Night durft ride." Longinus, commending a description in Euripides of Phaeton's journey through the heavens, in which the turnings and windings are marked out in a very lively manner, fays, That the foul of the poet feems to mount the chariot with him, and to fhare all his dangers. The reader will find himself in a like manner transported throughout this whole episode, which shows that it has in it the force and fpirit of the moft fublime poetry.
The firft appearance of Prince Arthur, in this Book, is represented to great advantage, and gives occafion to a very finished defcription of a martial figure. How fprightly is that image and fimile in the following lines!
Upon the top of all his loftie crest, "A bounch of heares difcolourd diverfly, "With fprincled pearle and gold full richly dreft, "Did shake, and feeined to daunce for iollity; "Like to an almond tree ymounted hye "On top of greene Selinis all alone, "With bloffoms brave bedecked daintily; "Whose tender lockes do tremble every one "At everie little breath, that under heaven is blowne."
I must not omit mentioning the House of Pride, and that of Holinefs, which are beautiful Allegories in different parts of this Book. In the former of these there is a minute circumstance which is very artificial; for the reader may obferve, that the fix counfellors which attend Pride in her progrefs, and ride on the beafts which draw her chariot, are placed in that order in which the Vices they reprefent naturally produce and follow each other. In the dungeon among the captives of Pride, the poet has reprefented Nebuchadnezzar, Crofus, Antiochus, Alexander, and feveral other eminent perfons, in circumftances of the utmoft ignominy. • The moral is truly noble; for upon the fight of fo many illuftrious flaves, the Knight haftens from the place, and makes his escape.
The defcription of Defpair in Canto IX. is that which is faid to have been taken notice of by Sir Philip Sidney: but I think the fpeech of Defpair, in which the diftempered reafonings that are apt to agitate the heart of a man abandoned to this paffion are fo pathetically represented, is much fuperiour to the description.
Among the Allegories in Canto X. it is impoffible not to distinguish that venerable figure of Con
• The moral is truly noble, &c.] I agree with Mr. Hughes; but I think Spenfer was very injudicious in placing Scipio among them, which ever of the Scipios he meant. I take it for granted that he meant Scipio Africanus. JORTIN.
templation, in his hermitage on the top of a hill, reprefented as an old man almoft wafted away in study:
"With fnowy lockes adowne his fhoulders shed,
The Knight and his companion inquire of him,
"Is not from hence the way that leadeth right "To that most glorious houfe that gliftreth bright "With burning starres and ever-living fire ?". This is extremely noble, as well as the old man's fhowing him, from the top of the hill, the heavenly Jerufalem, which was proper to animate the hero against the combat in which he is prefently after engaged: His fuccefs in that combat, and his marrying Una, are a very just conclufion of this Book, and of its chief Allegory.
It would be eafy to point out many inftances, befides those I have mentioned, of the beauties in this Book; yet these few will give the reader a tafte of that poetical spirit and genius for Allegory which every where fhine in this Author. It would be endlefs to take notice of the more minute beauties of his epithets, his figures, and his fimiles, which occur in almoft every page. I fhall only mention one or two as a fpecimen. That image of Strength, in striking a club into the ground, which is illuftrated by the following fimile, is very great :
"As when almightie Iove, in wrathfull mood,
"His boyftrous club, fo buried in the grownd, "He could not rearen up againe, &c."
As alfo that of a giant's fall;
"That downe he tombled; as an aged tree, High growing on the top of rocky clift, "Whofe hart-ftrings with keene fteele nigh hewen be; "The mightie trunck halfe rent with ragged rift "Doth roll adowne the rocks, and fall with fearfull drift."
Thefe are fuch paffages as we may imagine our excellent Milton to have ftudied in this Author. And here, by the way, it is remarkable that as Spenfer abounds with fuch thoughts as are truly fublime, fo he is almoft every where free from the mixture of little conceits, and that low affectation of wit which fo much infected both our verfe and profe afterwards, and from which fcarce any writer of his own time, befides himfelf, was free.
I fhall fhorten my Remarks on the following Books; yet the beauties in them rife fo thick, that I muft not pafs them by without mentioning fome. The Second Legend is framed on the Virtue of Temperance, which gives the Author opportunity to lay out in defcription all the most luxurious images of pleasure, riches, and riot, which are opposed to it, and confequently makes it one of the moft poetical Books of this whole Work. Sir Guyon is the hero, and the poet has given him Sobriety, in the habit of a palmer, for his guide and counsellor; as Homer has fuppofed Minerva or Wisdom, in the shape of Mentor, to attend Telemachus in his travels, when he is feeking out his father Ulyffes. That fhining defcription of Belphoebe, as a huntrefs, like Venus in Virgil, appearing to her fon Æneas, is defigned as a compliment on Queen Elizabeth, and is there fore wrought up with the most finished beauty. Her fpeech in praife of that true glory which is only at¬