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might be produced. These are sufficient to fhew our author's manner in this point.
I fhall now cite fome inftances in which he contradicts himself, and runs into other abfurdities, in confequence of forgetting, or not reviewing, what he had before written; and, in general, from an hafty manner of compofition.
B. i. c. iv. f. viii.
Speaking of PRIDE, he fays, fhe
Shone as Titan's ray.
And in the following stanza he compares her to Phaeton, where he says, fhe
Exceeding fhone, like Phœbus fairest child.
This is a very striking anticlimax.
B. i. c. xi, f. xlvii.
Another faire like tree eke grew thereby, Whereof whofo did eat, eftfoones did know Both good and evil : O mournefull memory, That tree thro' one man's fault has done us all to die.
Here he tells us, that the tree of knowledge occafioned the fall of man; in the preceeding stanza, he had affirmed the fame of the tree of life.
The tree of life the crime of our firft father's fall.
B. ii. c. i. f. xxvi, xxvii.
In these stanzas Sir Guyon fuddenly abases his spear, and begs pardon of the red-croffe knight, for having attacked him; as if he had juft now difcovered him to be the red-croffe knight: whereas he knew him to be fo, ft. 19. and after that resolves to fight with him.
B. iv. c. v. f. xxxvii.
Speaking of CARE,
He like a monstrous giant feemd in fight,
If CARE was fo monftrous a giant, how could he dwell, with his fix fervants, in the little cottage above-mentioned?
They fpide a little cottage, like fome poore man's neft.
B. iv. c. i. f. liv.
The aged dame him seeing so enraged,
Was dead with feare, &c.
The aged dame Glauce might have easily pacified Sir Scudamore, in this place, by telling him, that Bri
tomartis was a woman; and as fhe was fo much terrified, it was highly natural, that she should affure him of it. But fuch a declaration would have prevented an entertaining surprise, which the poet referved for a future canto. 4. 6. 28.
B. i. c. ix. f. vi.
Aread, prince Arthur.
Arthur and Una have been hitherto represented as entire ftrangers to each other; and it does not appear how Una became acquainted with the name of this new knight.
B. i. c. viii. f. xliii, &c.
It is unnatural, that the red-croffe knight should be fo fuddenly reconciled to Una, after he had forfaken her, for her supposed infidelity and impurity. The poet should certainly first have brought about an eclairciffement between them.
B. vi. c. xi. f. li.
It was an instance of Sir Calidore's courage to reftore to Coridon his flocks; but not of his courtefie, to carry away his mistress Pastorell. The poct fhould have managed the character of his PATRON OF COURTESIE with more art.
Courtefie was one of the cardinal virtues of knight errantry. Of this accomplishment, Sir Gawain, king Arthur's nephew, was esteemed the chief pattern. Chaucer, to give the highest idea poffible of the reverence and obeisance with which the Strange Knight, on his brazen horfe, falutes Cambufcan and his queen, compares him to Sir Gawaine.
This ftraunge knight, that come thus fodeinly,
Saluted the king and queene, and lordis all,
By ordir as they fittin in the hall,
As Spenfer has drawn the character of his hero prince Arthur from history, he has limited himself to a particular period of real time, in which all the events of his poem, however fictitious or imaginary, are fuppofed to have happened. Upon this account all difcoveries fince made, are improperly introduced. He is guilty of many fuch anachronisms. I fhall mention one or two, which hafte will hardly excufe.
*Squier's Tale, 110.
His hiftorical mistakes of this kind are often pardonable; perhaps fometimes allowable.
B. vi. c. ii. f. v.
All in a woodman's jacket he was clad
It would be difficult to prove that a manufacture of green cloth fubfifted at Lincoln, in the fairy reign of Arthur. By the way, Skelton mentions this colour in Elinor Ruming. It is alfo found in Drayton's Polyolbion. It is the fame fort of abfurdity to describe the walls of CASTLE JOYEOUS as adorned with coftly tapestry made at the cities of Arras and Toure.
The walls about were rich apparelled
B. i. c. xi. f. xiv.
And evermore their hideous ordinance
3. I. 34.
Chaucer, in his description of the battle of Antony and Cleopatra, mentions guns *. Salvator Rofa has placed a cannon at the entrance of the tent of Holofernes. But these examples will not acquit Spenfer.
*Leg. of Cleopatra, ver. 58.