Page images

knight*. Of all the knights of the round table, Sir Tristram possessed these qualifications in the most eminent degree. Sir Ewaine is mentioned in the romance Court Mantel, as one,

Qui tant ama chiens et oiseaux †; The prize at a justing in Morte Arthur is, “ a faire “ maiden, and a far-Fawcon 1.” But, in more modern times, the writer of the history of Bayard, describing the dinner which Charles VIII. gave to the duke of Savoy at Lyons, says, “ qu'il y eut plusieurs

propos tenus tant de chiens, d'oifauls, d'armes, que d'amours .”

This sport was unknown to the Romans, and the first use of it is mentioned about the time of Alaric the goth, by Julius Firmicus. It was imported into Europe from the turks, and other eastern nations, where it became chiefly cultivated by the english. It appears in Julian Barnes's Booke of Haukyng, &c. that there were hawks appropriated to all degrees of people, from an emperor, down to the holy-water clerk *. To carry a hawk fair, was a principal accomplishment of a young nobleman. Stowe tells us, that " in “ hunting and hawking many grave citizens (of Lon“ don) have at this present great delight, and do ra" ther want leisure, than good will to follow it +.” This diversion was pursued to such an extravagance in the reign of James I. that Sir Thomas Monson, a famous falconer, was at the charge of a thousand pounds in goshawks, only for one fight . One of the claims at the coronation, still kept up, is to present the king, while at dinner, in Westminster-hall, with a pair of falcons.

* The very sensible and ingenious author of Dialogues Moral and Polirical, (Lond. 1759. p. 114.] has promised a differtation on the Rise and Genius of Chivalry. Every reader of taste will be greatly disappointed, if be should not be so good as his word. | La Curne de S. Palaye, tom. 2. p. 62. I B. 3. ch. 20. § Edit. Godefroi, ch. 5. p. 18.


B. iii. c. xi. INTROD.

Affayes the house of Busyrane.

He seems to have drawn this Name from Busiris, the king of Ægypt, famous for his cruelty and inhospitality

B. iii. c. xi. f. xxv.

Her ample shield she threw before her face;
And her swords point directing forward right,

* Printed by Caxton, 1486. cap. ult.

+ Survey of London, ed. 1616. pag. 147. Weldon's Character and Court of king James, 1650. 12mo. pag. 105,


Affaild the flame, the which eftsoones gave place,
And did itself divide with equal space,
That through the passed.

The circumstance of the fire, mixed with a most noisom fmoak, which prevents Britomart from entering into the House of Busyrane, is, I think, an obstacle, which we meet with in the Seven Champions of Christendom: And there are many incidents in this achievement of Britomart, parallel to those in the adventure of the Black Castle, and the enchanted Fountain,

Milton, who tempered and exalted the extravagance of romance, with the dignity of Homer, has given us a noble image, which like that before us, seems to have had it's foundation in some description which he had met with in books of chivalry. Satan emerges from the burning lake.

Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
His mighty ftature; on each hand the flames
Driv'n backward Nope their pointing spires, and roll?ą.
In billows, leave i'th' midst a horrid vale *.

B. iii. c. xii. f.i.

She heard a fhrilling trompet found aloud,
Signe of nighe battel, or got victory.

* Paradise Loft, b, 1, v. 222.

6 After


“ After this he heard the sound of drums, and the o chearfull echoes of brazen trumpets; by which the “ valiaunt champion expected some honourable paf“ time, or some great turnament to be at hand *.”

B. iii. c. xii. s. xli.

He bound that piteous lady prisoner now releaft.

Dr. Jortin observes, that Spenser, to the best of his knowledge, never uses verses of fix feet, except in the last line of the stanza, and in this place. But he had forgot these instances,

And peril without showe; therefore your hardy stroke.

1. 1. 12.

But whilst his ftony heart was toucht with tender ruth.

4. 12. 13•
Sad death revived with her sweet inspection.

4. 12. 34• We meet with an alexandrine in the Samson Agonistes, which I believe was not left so by the author.

[ocr errors]

But I god's counsel have not kept, his holy fecret
Presumptuously have publish'd, &ct.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The preceding line is,

The mark of fool fet on his front;

Perhaps we should read,

The mark of fool set on his front? but I
God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret
Presumptuously have publish'd, &c.

To return to the line of this remark.

He bound that piteous lady prisoner now releaft.

It is probable that Prisoner was absurdly thrown in by the printers; and as the measure is preserved, so is the sense equally clear, if not more so, without it. A poet who read Spenser with true taste, Mr. James Thomson, had struck it out, and I suppose for this reason, in his Spenser, as superfluous.

B. iv. c. ii. f. ii.

Such musick is wise words with time concented.

CONCENTED, from the substantive concent, which is often repeated in our author.

All which together sung full chearfully
A lay of loves delight with sweet concent.

3. 12. 5. And in Virgil's Gnat,


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »