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adventure of every Legend is supposed to be undertaken.
The other objection is, that; having chosen an hiftorical person, Prince Arthur, for his principal hero, .who is no Fairy, yet is mingled with them, he has not, however, represented any part of his history: he appears here, indeed, only in his minority, and performs his, exercises in Fairy Land, as a private gentleman ; but we might at least have expected that the fabulous accounts of him, and of his victories over the Saxons, should have been worked into some beautiful vision or prophecy; and I cannot think Spenser would wholly omit this, but am apt to believe he had done it in some of the following Books which were loft'. ..
In the moral introductions to every Book, many of which have a great propriety and elegance, the Author has followed the example of Ariosto. I will only beg leave to point out some of the principal beauties in each Book, which may yet more particularly discover the genius of the Author.
* If we consider the First Book as an entire work of itself, we fhall find it to be no irregular contrivance: there is one principal action, which is completed in Canto XII.; and the several incidents or episodes are proper, as they tend either to obstruct or promote it. The same may be said of some other of the following Books, though I think they are not fo regular as this. The Author has shown judge. ment in making his Knight of the Red Cross, or St. George, no perfect character, without which many
'' of the following Books which were los.] I have, in the Life of the Poet, questioned the opinion that any Books were lost.
m If we consider &c.] This is a mistake, which Mr. Warton has rectified in his differtation on the Plan and Conduct of the Faerie Queene. TODD.
of the incidents could not have been represented. The character of Una, or Truth, is very properly opposed by thofe of Dueffa, or Falsehood, and Archimago, or Fraud. Spenser's particular manner, which (if it may be allowed) I would call his painterlike genius, immediately shows itself in the figure of Errour, who is drawn as a inonster, and that of Hypocrify as a hermit. The description of the former of these, in the mixed shape of a woman and a ferpent, furrounded with her offspring, and efpecially that circumstance of their creeping into her mouth on the sudden light which glanced upon them from the Knight's armour, incline one to think that our great Milton had it in his eye when he wrote his famous episode of Sin and Death. · The artifices of Archimago and Dueffa, to separate the Knight from Una, are well invented, and intermingled with beautiful strokes of poetry; particularly in that episode where the magician sends one of his fpirits to fetch a falfe dream from the house of Morpheus : in
“ Amid the bowels of the earth full steep
Mr. Rymer, as I remember, has, by way of comparison, collected from most of the ancient and modern poets the finest descriptions of the Night, among all which he gives the preference to the English poets : this of Morpheus, or Sleep, being a poetical subject of the fame kind, might be subjected to a like trial; and the reader may particularly compare it with that in Book XI. of Ovid's Meta
* Milton had it in his eye when he wrote his famous episode of Sin and Death.] Milton then had in his eye the disciple of Spenser, rather than Spenser himself. þave cited the pattage fron P. Fletcher's Purple Isand, in the note on Par, Lojč, B. ii. 650. TODD..
morphoses, to which, I believe, he will not think it inferiour.
The miraculous incident of a tree shedding drops of blood, and a voice speaking from the trunk of it, is borrowed from that of Polidorus, in Book III. of Virgil's Æneis. Ariosto and Taffo have both copied the same story, though in a different manner. It was iinpoflible that the modern poets, who have run so much into the taste of romance, should let a fiction of this kind escape their imitation.
The adventures which befal Una, after she is forsaken by the Knight; her coming to the house of Abessa, or Superftition; the confternation occasioned by that visit; her reception among the favages; and her civilising them; are all very fine emblems.' The education of Satyrane, a young Satyr, is described on this occasion with an agreeable wildness of fancy.
But there is one episode in this Book which I cannot but particularly admire; I mean that in Canto V. where Dueffa the witch seeks the affistance of Night to convey the body of the wounded Pagan to be cured by Æfculapius in the regions below. The Author here rises above himself, and is got into a track of imitating the Ancients, different from the greatest part of his Poem. The speech in which Duefla addresses Night is wonderfully great, and stained with that impious flattery which is the character of Falsehood, who is the speaker : '
" thou, moft auncient grandmother of all, ** More old than love, whom thou at first didst breede, “ Or that great house of gods cælestiall; “ Which wast begot in Dæmogorgon's hall,
“ And fawft the secrets of the world unmade !" As Dueffa came away haftily on this expedition, and forgot to put off the shape of Truth, which she had assumed a little before, Night does not know her: this circumstance, and the difcovery afterwards,
when she owns her for her daughter, are finely em-
“ The wakefull dogs did never cease to bay;
66. And hungry wolves continually did howle • At her abhorred face, lo filthy and so fowle." They steal away the body, and carry it down through the cave Avernus, to the realms of Pluto. What strength of painting is there in the following lines !
« On every side them stood “ The trembling ghosts, with fad amazed mood, “ Chattring their iron teeth, and staring wide " With stonie eies; and all the hellish brood . ..
“ Of feends infernall flockt on every side, “. To gaze on erthly wight, that with the Night durft ride.”. Longinus, coinmending a defcription in Euripides of Phaëton's journey through the heavens, in which the turnings and windings are marked out in a very lively manner, fays, That the soul of the poet seems to mount the chariot with him, and to share 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 spirit of the most sublime poetry. " .
The first appearance of Prince Arthur, in this Book, is represented to great advantage, and gives occasion to a very finished defcription of a martial figure. How sprightly is that image and simile in the following lines ! . ..
« Upon the top of all his loftie crest,
“ Did shake, and seemned to daunce for iollity;
" Whose tender lockés do treinble every one :
I must not omit mentioning the House of Pride, and that of Holiness, 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 observe, that the fix counsellors which attend Pride in her progress, and ride on the beasts which draw her chariot, are placed in that order in which the Vices they represent naturally produce and follow each other. In the dungeon among the captives of Pride, the poet has represented Nebuchadnezzar, Crosus, Antiochus, Alexander, and several other eminent perfons, in circumstances of the utmost ignominy. The moral is truly noble; for upon the light of so many illuftrious flaves, the Knight hastens from the place, and makes his escape.
The defcription of Despair in Canto IX. is that which is said to have been taken notice of by Sir Philip Sidney: but I think the speech of Despair, in which the distempered reasonings that are apt to agitate the heart of a man abandoned to this passion are fo pathetically represented, is much superiour to the description.
Among the Allegories in Canto X. it is imporfible not to diftinguish that venerable figure of Con
• The moral is truly noble, &c.] I agree with Mr. Hughes; but I think Spenser 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,