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precise and significant expressions of that delicate writer, do we mistake RESEMBLANces for THEFTS ? As this then is a business which does not always proceed on sure principles, often affording the amusement of conjecture, rather than the satisfaction of demonftration, it will be perhaps a more useful design to give Spenser's IMITATIONS OF HIMSELF, as I have shewn Milton's in the preceding Section.
This kind of criticism will prove of service in the three following respects. It will discover and ascertain a poets FAVORITE IMAGES: It will teach us how VARIOUSLY he expresses the same thought; and will EXPLAIN DIFFICULT paffages and words.
B. i. Introduct. f. 3.
Fair Venus fonne that with thy cruell dart,
Like as Cupido on Idæan hill,
2. 8. 6.
And in the following, speaking of Cupid in the garden of Adonis.
Who when he hath with spoyles and crueltie
Thither resorts, and laying his sad darts
3. 6. 49. Thus again,
And eke amongst them little Cupid plaid
From his fierce warres, and having from him layd His cruell bowe, wherewith he thousands hath dismayd.
2. 9. 34• B. i, c. viii. f. xxix.
Prince Arthur enters Orgoglio's castle.
Then gan he loudly through the house to call,
There reign'd a solemne silence over all,
This affecting image of filence and folitude occurs again, after Britomart had surveyed the rich furniture of Busirane's house.
But more she marvail'd, that no footings trace,
This in finely expressed : but the circumstance is common in romance. Thus when Sir Thopas enters the land of Fairie.
Wherein he fought both north and south,
In many a forest wild;
Ne neither wife ne childe*.
But more appositely in the old metrical romance of Syr Degore.
He went aboute, and gan to calle
This romance is in the Bodleian library I, among the following pieces, which I mention for the sake of
: those who are making researches in antient english literature. 1. Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and William of Clowdeflie. These were three famous archers. The former, as I observed before [pag. 53.] is mentioned
by Shakespeare *. 2. The Knight of Courtesy and the Lady of Faguel. This, I think, is the story of Coucy's heart, related in Fauchet, and Howell's letters; which, as they tell us, was represented in tapestry, in Coucy castle, in France. 3. Fyl [Jyllian or Julian] of Brentforde's Teftament. [4. Syr Degore.] 5. Syr Eglamoure of Artoys. This name occurs in the fourth act of Shakespeare's Gentlemen of Verona. 6. Syr Tryamure. These three laft are in short verfes, as most of the old metrical romances were. 7. Hiftorye of Kyng Richard Ceur de Lyon. [Impr. W. de Worde, 1528.] His exploits were a favorite subject, and many legends were written about him, partly on account of his fondness for chivalry; for he was the first king of England that ever published a precept or permission for holding public turnaments in England. His first instrument of this kind I have + printed above, [pag. 29.] by which it appears, that thefe institutions brought in a considerable revenue to the crown. 8. Syr Bevis of Southampton I; in the same verse as Syr Degore, &c. viz.
* Much ado about Nothing, act 1. + It is also printed in Selden's England's Epinomis. op. vol. iii. p. 35. fol. 1726. And Kennet's Paroch. Aritiq. pag. 153. It is in MSS. Bib. Bodl. James. No. 27. But Gul. Neubrigiensis says, that the first use, though not royal permißion, of these exercises, was in the reign of Stephen. Hift. Lib. 5. c. 4. See Matth. Par. 237. poft Hoveden, p. 424.
I The french have also this romance, which they call Beuves de Hanton. He was earl of Southampton, about tbe norman invasion. His sword was kept in Arundel castle.
Such a stroke was not sene in no land
But I have given a long passage from it, above ; [pag. 50. seq.vol. 1.] 9. The Battayl of Egyngcourte. [Agincourt.] 10. The Wyf lapped in Morells Skin, Or, The Taming of a Shrew. Hence we perceive, how ShakeSpeare adopted the titles of pieces which were popular and common in his time. This too shews his track of reading. 11. Thirteen merry Fests of the Wyddow Edyth. 12. The Temple of Glass. [of Lydgate.] Spenfer, I believe, might have this piece in his eye, where he describes the lovers in the Temple of Venus. 4. 10. 43. &c. There are several other pieces of the same fort in this collection.
* This metre came from the french; but they called the french language Romance. This is what Robert de Brunne means, in his tranfa lation of Peter Langtoft's French Chronicle, published by Hearn.
Peres of Langtoft, a chanoun
Of english kynges as well be wote, Pag. 36. V, 1. Pref. i. e. he wrote it in french..
See an account, and many specimens, of french Romans, in a curious Memoir, viz. “ Discours sur quelques anciens Poetes, et sur quelques ROMANS Gaulois, peu connus ; par M. Galland.” Mem. de Lit. Amfterdam, 1719. 12mo. tom, iii. pag. 424. These are pieces not mentioned by La Croix du Maine and Fauchet. Among others there is the Roman of Troy, and the Roman of (Syr). Percivall, one of Spenser's knights. There is also, Le Roman de Fortune et de Felicitè, which is a translation of Boethius, De Confolatione, into verse. VOL. II.