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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. $. Lond. R. D. 1597." 12mo. The poems are, “ The stately Tragedy of Guiscard and Sismond:” In two books, in the seven-lined ftanza. It is Dryden's story, and seems about the age of Henry VII. “ The Northern Mother's. Blessing, written nine yeares before the death of G. Chaucer.” - The Way to Thrift.”They are dedicated to the worthieft poet Maister Ed. Spenser. T. Warton.
A few additions may be made to the preceding 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 fyllables into three, &c. and in consequence also of his remarkable accentuation of words; the several words, so employed, will be found thus distinguished, armës, Safëty, inchantëment, infámous, prostráte, courage, &c. In pronunciations of this kind likewise, Spenser follows his old master. See Tyrwhitt's Essay 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 Spenfer, like Chaucer and all our elder writers, uses no apostrophe in his genitive cases. By elifions intended in the pronunciation, however, he sometimes reduces words of two syllables 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 sermo faciliùs addifcitur :" His numerous examples, under the various figures of Syntax, are principally drawn from the FAERIE QUEENE; and I am surprised that the work should 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. Giff's illustration of Figures in found : I must previously observe, however, that the spelling adopted by the critick would hardly be legible; as he was an advocate for a new English orthgraphy, formed partly in subferviency to the pronunciation of the words, intermixed also with Saxop letters, and distinguilhed by other marks of his own invention. To enumerate all the forms, under which he has ingeniously placed passages from Spenfer, the Antonomaka, the Metalephs, the Onomatopæia, the Barbaralexis, &c. &c. would fill many pages, and might not, I fear, completely gratify the curiofity which these highsounding names excite. The following examples are from the Figures in found, cap. xxi. p. 108, &c.
“ Eriliu&is, five Subiun&tio. " Unam s gemines vocem Subiunctio fiet :
" His lady fad to see his fore constraint,
F.Q. i. i. 19. " Conuerfo, Artispoon ul. Erispoon. “ Pluria membra fono Conuerso claudit eodem. " For truth is one, and right is euer one."
F. Q. v. ii. 48. 16 Emarkankos. “ Incipit & finit verbo Epanalephs codem : “ 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.
" Enávodos, Regresio.
" All that pleasing is to living eare
" The ioyous birdes, shrouded in chearefull fade,
" Now soft, now loud, unto the wind did call;
F. Q. ii. xii. 70. A writer, subsequent to Gill, has concisely and very properly noticed a peculiarity sometimes observable 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 Chast and Lost Lovers, &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 conGideration 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 estimation in which the moral poet was held at that period : “ The Bards and Chroniclers, in the Iles of Britain and Irem land, 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 rofe like the morning starr of Wit, out of those black mists of ignorance; fince birn, SPENCER MAY DESERVEDLY CHALLENGE THE CROWN; for though he may seem blameable in not observing decorum in some places enough, and in too much in the whole) countenancing Knight-errantry; yet the easie fimilitudes, the natural pourtraičts, the so refined and sublimated fancies, with which he hath 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 thew us that our langnage was expressive enough of our own sentiments; and to upbraid those who have indeni. zon'd such nuinbers of forreign words.” , Compare this with E. K.'s criticism, before cited, p. cxxxv., ; ,
Refpeding the Alexandrine verse, which closes every stanza with greater dignity than an heroick line, 'and which Dryden profeffedly used in imitation of Spenser ; it must be remarked that Spenser was not the inventor of this sonorous termination, as Mr. Upton feems to have imagined. For I find, in Puttenham's Arte of English Poefe, 1580, p. 60, 'that “ Sir Thos. Wiat the elder was the first who used the Alexandrine verse in the English tongue.”
It remains only to call the reader's attention to the beautiful contruction of Spenser's numbers, and to the forcible expres. fiou of his ideas, in the happy description of the poet given by that judicious critick, the late Dr. Joseph Warton: “ The characteristicks of this sweet and allegorical poet are not only Strong and circumftantial imagery, but tender and pathetick feeling, a most melodious flow of versification, and a certain pleasing melancholy ın his sentiments, the constant companion of an elegant taste, that casts a delicacy and grace over all his compositions." TODD.
ON THE 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 censure: and yet he tells us, “ that the several Books appear rather like fo 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 said, was nothing else, but a parcel of loose fongs and rhapsodies concerning the Trojan war, which he sung at festivals; and these 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 design
As this subject requires a particular consideration; I desire the reader will attend to the following vindication of Homer and Spenser, as they have both fallen under one common censure.
In every poem there ought to be fimplicity 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 essential 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 curiofity is raised, and we want a more circumstantial 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 time when this hero commenced his adventures, is marked very exactly. In the reign of Uther Pendragon, father of Prince Arthur, Octa the son of Hengift, and his kinsinan Eosa, thinking themselves not bound by the treaties which they had made with
, *strictly to have followed ;] See, however, Dr. Hurd's Re, marks on the Gothick system of this poem, and his successful objections to Mr. Upton's assertion, p. clx. TODD.