By THOMAS WARTON, A. M. FELLOW of Trinity-College, OXFORD.

LONDON: Printed for R. and J. DODSLEY; And J. FLETCHER, in the Turl, Oxford. MDCCLIV.


  • SECT. I. OF the plan and conduct of the FAERIE QUEENE Pag. 1
  • SECT. II. Of Spenser's imitations from old Romances 13
  • SECT. III. Of Spenser's use and abuse of antient history and mythology 44
  • SECT. IV. Of Spenser's stanza, versification, and language 81
  • SECT. V. Of Spenser's imitations from Chaucer 99
  • SECT. VI. Of Spenser's imitations from Ariosto 142
  • SECT. VII. Of Spenser's inaccuracies 159
  • SECT. VIII. Of Spenser's imitations of himself 180
  • SECT. IX. Mr. Upton's opinion, concerning several passages in Spenser, examin'd 205
  • SECT. X. Of Spenser's allegorical character 217
  • SECT. XI. Containing miscellaneous remarks 239


BEfore this quotation, insert, "a passage preceding." p. 10. l. 31. before age, insert, "that." p. 221. l. 2. after mentions, insert, "is." p. 46. l. ult. for placet, read, "places." p. 245. l. 3. for smiles, read, "smites." p. 240. l. 21. for adopted, read, "adapted." p. 224. l. 16. for Handorst, read, "Hundorst." p. 231. l. 8. The rest are such as cannot mislead the reader; which, however, he is desir'd to pardon.


WHEN the works of Homer and of Aristo­tle began to be restored and studied in Italy, when the pure and uncorrupted sources of antient poesy and antient criticism were opened, and literature in general seemed emerging from the depths of Gothic ignorance and barbarity, it might have been expected, that, instead of the ro­mantic species of poetical composition introduced by the provencal bards, a new and more legitimate taste of writing would have succeeded; that unnatural events, the machinations of imaginary beings, and adventures entertaining only as they were improba­ble, would have given place to justness of thought and design, and to that decorum which nature dictat­ed, and which the example and the precept of anti­quity had authorised. But it was a long time before such a change as this was effected; and we find A­riosto, many years after the revival of letters, reject­ing [Page 2] truth for magic, and chusing rather to follow the irregular and ridiculous excursions of Boiardo, than the propriety and uniformity of the great Graecian and Roman Epic models. Nor was the state of cri­ticism less generally and effectually influenced than that of poesy by the restoration of antient learning: Beni, one of the most celebrated critics of the six­teenth century, was still so infatuated with a love of the old provencal vein, that he ventured to write a regular dissertation, in which he compares Ariosto with Homer. Trissino, indeed, who was nearly con­temporary with Ariosto, had taste and boldness enough to publish a poem written in profest imitation of the Iliad; but this attempt met with little regard or ap­plause, for that very reason on which its real merit was founded; it was rejected as an insipid and unen­tertaining performance, having few devils or enchant­ments to recommend it. To Trissino succeeded Tasso, who, in his Gierusaleme Liberata, took the antients for his guides; but was, at the same time, too sensible of the prevailing taste for ideal beings, and romantic description, to omit them entirely; though he was well acquainted with, and fully con­vinced of the excellencies of Homer and Virgil, yet he still kept the old provencal poets in his eye; like his own Rinaldo, who after he had gaz'd on the dia­mond shield of truth, and while he was departing from Armida, and her enchanted gardens, could not help looking back upon them with some remains of fondness. Nor did Tasso's poem, though compos'd, in some measure, on a classical and uniform plan, gain its author (in his own country at least) any high­er [Page 3] share of praise and reputation upon that account: Ariosto, with all his extravagancies, was still pre­ferred; and the superiority of the Orlando Furioso to the Gierusaleme Liberata was at length establish'd by a formal decree of the Academicians della Crusca, who held a solemn court of enquiry concerning the merit of both poems.

In the midst of this bad taste, Spenser began to write his FAERIE QUEENE; which, after the prac­tice of Ariosto, was to consist of allegories, enchant­ments, and romantic adventures, carried on by fairy knights, giants, magicians, and fictitious beings. It may indeed be urged, as an instance of Spenser's weak and undiscerning judgment, that he chose to follow Ariosto rather than Tasso, the plan and conduct of whose poem was much more regular and legitimate than that of his rival. To this objection it may be answered, in defence of our author, that he was rea­sonably induced to follow that poem which was most celebrated and popular: for tho' the French critics in general gave the preference to Tasso, yet in Italy the partisans, on the side of Ariosto, were by far the most numerous, and consequently in England; for Italy, in the age of queen Elizabeth, gave laws to our island in all matters of taste, as France has done ever since. It must, however, be confessed at the same time, that Spenser was in some measure in­fluenced, from the natural biass of his mind, to pre­fer that plan, which would admit of the most exten­sive range for his unbounded imagination. What this plan is, and how it is conducted, we shall now proceed to examine.

[Page 4] *The poet supposes, that the FAERIE QUEENE held a magnificent feast, (according to annual custom) which lasted twelve days; on each of which respec­tively, twelve several complaints are preferred before her: accordingly, in order to redress the injuries which were the occasion of these several complaints, she sends out twelve different knights, each of which, in the particular adventure allotted to him, proves an example of some particular virtue, as of Holiness, Temperance, Justice, Chastity, &c. and has one com­plete book assigned to him, of which he is the hero. But, besides these twelve knights, severally exempli­fying twelve moral virtues, there is one principal knight, or general hero, viz. PRINCE ARTHUR; who represents Magnificence; a virtue which is supposed to be the perfection of all the rest; who assists in eve­ry book, the end of whose actions is to find out GLO­RIANA, or Glory, and in whose person the poet in­tends to pourtray, ‘"THE IMAGE OF A BRAVE KNIGHT PERFECTED IN THE TWELVE PRIVATE MORAL VIRTUES."’

It is evident, that our author, in establishing one hero, who seeking and attaining one grand end, viz. GLORIANA, or Glory, should exemplify one grand character, viz. that of a brave knight perfected in the twelve private moral virtues, had the practice of Virgil and Homer in his eye. But tho' he was sensible of the importance and expediency of a unity of the hero and of his design, yet he does not, at the same time, seem convinced of the necessity of that unity of action, by which this design should be properly accomplished; nor sufficiently acquainted with the method of pro­ceeding [Page 5] made use of by the two great originals above­mentioned, in conducting their respective heroes to the one grand end proposed. It may be asked, with great propriety, how does ARTHUR execute this one grand ultimate design? It may be answered, with no less plausibility, that by assisting each patron of the twelve virtues respectively, in his allotted defence or patronage of each, ARTHUR approaches still nearer and nearer to Glory, 'till at last he obtains it, and so consummates the intended grand design. But surely to assist only is not sufficient to gain this end, or com­plete the proposed character. The poet ought to have made his ARTHUR the principal agent in the re­dress of each particular wrong, which arose from the various violation of Holiness, Temperance, Justice, Chastity, &c. If the hero had thus, in his own per­son, exerted himself in the service of all the twelve virtues, he might have been deservedly stiled the per­fect pattern of them all, and consequently would then have completed the proposed grand end, viz. the attainment of Glory. At present he is only a subordinate, or rather accessory character; the diffi­culties and obstacles which he should have surmount­ed in order to gain the proposed end, are done to his hand, and removed by others; it is not he who con­quers the dragon in the first book, (to instance in no other) or who quells the magician Busirane in the third; these are atchievements executed by St. George and by Britomart. In short, the twelve several knights, or patrons, do too much for ARTHUR to do any thing, or at least what may reasonably be expected from the plan of the poet; while we are attending to [Page 6] the design of the hero of the book, we forget that of the hero of the poem. Mr. Dryden remarks, ‘"We must do Spenser that justice to observe, that mag­nanimity [magnificence] which is the true cha­racter of PRINCE ARTHUR, shines throughout the whole poem; and succours the rest when they are in distress." If the magnanimity of PRINCE AR­THUR did in reality shine throughout the whole poem with a steady and superior lustre, our author would stand excused; but at present it breaks forth but seldom, in dim and interrupted flashes; it is not like the pervading spirit of Virgil, which

Agitat molem, & magno se corpore miscet. *

And to ‘"succour the rest when they are in distress,"’ is a circumstance of too little importance in the hero of a poem: "to succour" is, in fact, a service to be perform'd in the cause of the hero, by some dependent and inferior chief, the business of a Gyas or a Cloanthus, a Mnestheus, or a Serestus.

Upon the whole, and in general, it must be ob­served, that Spenser's adventures, which are the sub­ject of each single book, have no mutual dependance upon each other, and consequenly do not contribute to constitute one legitimate poem; and Mr. Hughes, not considering this, has advanced a remark in com­mendation of Spenser, which may most properly be turned to his censure. ‘"If we consider the first book as an entire work of itself, we shall find it to be no irregular contrivance: there is one principal action, which is completed in the twelfth Canto, and the [Page 7] several incidents are proper, as they tend either to obstruct or promote it."* As the heroic poem is required to be one WHOLE, compounded of many various parts depending upon, and relative to each other; so it is expedient, that not one of those parts should be so regularly contriv'd, and so completely finished, as to become a WHOLE of itself. For the mind being thus once satisfied in arriving at the completion of an orderly series of events, acquiesces in that satis­faction, and its attention and curiosity are diverted from pursuing, with due vigour, the final and general catastrophe; whereas while each part is left imperfect, I mean, incomplete, if disjoined or separated from the rest, the mind still desirous and eager of gratify­ing its expectations, is irresistibly and imperceptibly drawn on from part to part, till it receives a full and ultimate satisfaction from the accomplishment of one great event, which all those parts, following and il­lustrating each other, contributed to produce.

Our author was probably aware, that by consti­tuting twelve several adventures for twelve several knights, a want of continuity and general concatena­tion of facts would be laid to his charge; and upon this account, I suppose, he sometimes begins a story in one book, the completion of which he defers, not without much interruption, to some future and di­stant book; a proceeding, which unavoidably occa­sions much confusion to the reader. And it seems to be for the same reason, that, after one of the twelve knights has fulfilled the adventure of his book, he in­troduces [Page 8] him, in the next book; acting, perhaps, in an inferior light, and degraded to some less dangerous adventure; a conduct which destroys that repose which the mind feels after having accompanied a hero, thro' various distresses and difficulties, to success and victory. Besides, when we view the hero entering upon an in­ferior attempt, our former admiration is diminish­ed; having seen him once nobly and decisively conquer, we become so warmly interested in his ho­nour, that we look upon his engagement in any po­sterior enterprise (however successfully) which is less arduous than that of which we had just before hail'd him the conqueror, as derogatory to that glory which he had just acquired by such a conquest. Spenser, per­haps, would have embarassed himself and the reader less, had he made every book one entire detached poem, without any the least reference to the rest. Thus he would have written twelve distinct poems, in all of which, he might have completed the pattern of a particular virtue in twelve knights respectively; at present, he has remarkably failed in endeavouring to represent all the virtues completed in the character of one. The poet must either have established TWELVE KNIGHTS without an ARTHUR, or an ARTHUR without TWELVE KNIGHTS. Upon supposition that Spenser was resolved to characterise the twelve moral virtues, the former plan, perhaps, would have been best: the latter must necessarily want simplicity, as it is an action consisting of twelve actions, all equally great, and unconnected between themselves; and not an action consisting of one uninterrupted and coherent chain of incidents tending to the accomplish­ment of one design.

[Page 9]It has been observ'd before, that our author endea­voured to express the character of a knight perfected in the twelve moral virtues, by representing him as assisting in the service or defence of each, till at last he becomes possessed of all: this plan, however, in­judicious, he certainly was obliged to observe; but in the third book, which is stiled the legend of Cha­stity, PRINCE ARTHUR doth not so much as lend his assistance in the protection or vindication of that virtue; he appears indeed, but not as an auxiliary in the adventure of the book.

It must, however, be confessed, that there is some­thing artificial in the poet's manner of varying from historical precision; a conduct which may be best il­lustrated from his own words. ‘"But because the be­ginning of the whole work seemeth abrupt, and as depending upon other antecedents, it needs that ye know the occasion of these three knights several adventures. For the method of a poet historical, is not such as of an historiographer. For an histo­riographer discourseth of affairs orderly, as they were done, accounting as well the times as the action; but a poet thrusteth into the middest, even where it most concerneth him, and there re­coursing to the things forepast, and divining of things to come, maketh a pleasing analysis of all. The beginning therefore of my history, were it to be told by an historiographer, should be in the twelfth book, which is the last; where I devise, that the FAERIE QUEENE held her annual feast twelve days; upon which twelve several days, the occasion of twelve several adventures hap­pened: [Page 10] which being undertaken by twelve several knights, are, in these twelve books, severally hand­led and discoursed.*"’ Thus according to this plan the reader would have been agreeably surprised, in the last book, when he came to discover, that all the adventures which he had just gone through, were un­dertaken at the command of the FAERIE QUEENE, and that all the knights had severally set forward to the execution of them from her annual birth-day festi­val; but Spenser, in most of his books, has inju­diciously forestalled the first of these particulars; which certainly should have been concealed till the last book, not only to have prevented a needless repe­tition of the same thing, but that he might likewise secure an opportunity to himself of amusing the read­er's mind with a circumstance new and unexpected.

But notwithstanding the plan and conduct of our author, in the poem before us, is highly excep­tionable, yet I am apt to think, that the FAERIE QUEENE is not, upon the whole, so confused and irregular as the Orlando Furioso. Though there is no general unity in the former, yet if we consider every book or adventure as a separate poem, we shall meet with so many distinct, however imperfect, uni­ties, by which means the reader is less bewildered, than by that general indigested medley of which the former totally consists, and in which we meet with neither partial, nor universal unity.

Cum nec pes nec caput UNI
Reddatur FORMAE.—

[Page 11] The very idea of celebrating the MADNESS of an hero, carries with it somewhat extravagant and absurd. Or­lando doth not make his appearance till b. 8. where he is placed in a situation not very heroic; he is first discovered to us in bed, desiring to sleep. His ulti­mate design is to find Angelica, but his pursuit of her is broken off in b. 30; after which there are sixteen more books to come, and in which Angelica disappears. Other heroes are likewise engaged in the same pursuit. After reading the first stanza of b. 1. one would be inclined to think, that the subject of the poem was the expedition of the Moors into France, under their emperor Agramante, to fight against Charlemayne; but this matter is the least part of the poem. In fact, many of the knights perform exploits equal, if not superior to those of Orlando; and particularly Rogero, with a grand atchievement of wholn the poem is closed, viz. his killing Rodo­mont; but this event is not the completion of a story carried on principally through the whole work. The author passes from one incident to another, and from region to region (whether it be from England to the Hesperides, or from the earth to the moon) with such incredible swiftness and rapidity, that one would think he was mounted upon his own winged steed Ippogrifo. He begins a tale of a knight in Europe, and suddenly breaks it off to resume the unfinished catastrophe of another in Asia. The imagination of the reader is not so much involv'd in, as it is oppressed with the mul­tiplicity of stories, in the relation of each of which the poet is at the same time equally engaged. To reme­dy this inconvenience, it was thought proper to affix, [Page 12] in some of the editions, marginal hints, informing the reader in what book and stanza the poet would recom­mence some interrupted episode; an expedient not more inartificial than that which the first painters were obliged to make use of, in order to assist their want of skill, who having drawn the figure of a man, a bird, or a quadruped, found it necessary to write under­neath the name of the kind to which the thing repre­sented belonged. However, this method has been the means of giving the reader a clear comprehension of Ariosto's tales, which otherwise he could not have obtained without much difficulty. This poet is sel­dom read twice in order; that is, by passing from the first canto to the second, and from the second to the rest successively; but by persuing (without any regard to the order of the books, or the stanzas) the different stories, which though all somewhere finish'd, yet are, at present, so mutually interwoven, that the incidents of one are perpetually clashing with those of another. The ingenious Abbé Du Bos observes hap­pily enough, that ‘"Homer is a geometrician in comparison of Ariosto:"’ And, indeed, his mis­cellaneous matter cannot be better expressed than by the two first verses of his Exordium.

Le Donne, i Cavallier, l'arme, gli amori,
Le Cortesie, l'audaci imprese, io canto. *

Of dames, of knights, of armes, of love's delight,
Of courtesies, of high attempts, I sing.

But, to return. Though the FAERIE QUEENE does not exhibit that oeconomy of plan, and exact arrange­ment [Page 13] of parts which Epic severity requires, yet we scarcely regret the loss of these, while their place is so amply supplied, by something which more powerfully attracts us, as it engages the affection of the heart, rather than the applause of the head; and if there be any poem whose graces please, be­cause they are situated beyond the reach of art, and where the faculties of creative imagination delight us, because they are unassisted and unrestrained by those of deliberate judgment, it is in this of which we are now speaking. To sum up all in a few words; tho' in the FAERIE QUEENE we are not satisfied as critics, yet we are transported as readers.

SECT. II. Of Spenser's Imitations from old Romances.

ALthough Spenser formed his FAERIE QUEENE upon the fanciful plan of Ariosto, as I remark­ed in the preceding section, yet it must be confessed, that the adventures of Spenser's knights are a more exact and immediate copy of those which we meet with in old romances, or books of chivalry, than they are of those of which the Orlando Furioso consists. Ariosto's knights exhibit very surprising instances of their prowess, and atchieve many heroic actions; but our author's knights are more particularly engaged in revenging injuries, and doing justice to the distressed; which was the proper business, and ultimate end of the antient knight-errantry. And thus though many of Spenser's incidents and expedients are to be found in Ariosto, such as that of blowing a horn, at the sound [Page 14] of which the gates of a castle fly open, of the vanish­ing of an enchanted palace or garden, after some knight has destroyed the enchanter, and the like, yet these are not more peculiarly the property of Ario­sto, than they are common to all antient romances in general. Spenser's first book is, indeed, a regular and precise imitation of such a series of action as we frequently meet with in books of chivalry: For in­stance, a king's daughter applies to a knight, that he would relieve her father and mother, who are closely confined to their castle, upon account of a vast and terrible dragon, that had ravaged their country, and perpetually laid in wait to destroy them. The knight sets forward with the lady, encounters a monster in the way, is plotted against by an enchanter, and after surmounting a variety of difficulties and obstacles, arrives at the country which is the scene of the dra­gon's devastations, kills him, and is presented to the king and queen, whom he has just delivered; mar­ries their daughter, but is soon obliged to leave her, on account of fulfilling a former vow. It may be likewise observed, that the circumstance of each of Spenser's twelve knights, setting out from one place, by a different way, to perform a different adventure, exactly resembles that of the seven knights proceed­ing forwards to their several expeditions, in the well-known romance, entitled the Seven Champions of Christendom. In fact, these miraculous books were highly fashionable, and that chivalry, which was the subject of them, was still practiced, in the age of queen Elizabeth.*

[Page 15]Among others, there is one romance which Spen­ser seems more particularly to have made use of: It is entitled MORTE ARTHUR, The Lyf of Kyng Arthur, of his noble Knyghtes of the round table, and in thende the dolorous deth of them all. This was translated into English from the French, by one Sir Thomas Maleory, Knight, and printed by W. Caxton, 1484*. From this fabulous history our author has borrow'd many of his names, viz. Sir Tristram, Placidas, Pelleas, Pellenore, Percivall, and others. As to Sir Tristram, he has copied from this book the circumstances of his birth and education with much exactness. Spenser in­forms us that Sir Tristram was born in Cornwall, &c.

And Tristram is my name, the only heire
Of good king Meliogras, which did raigne
In Cornewaile.
6. 2. 28.

And afterwards.

—The countrie wherein I was bred

The which the fertile Lionesse is hight.
ibid. St. 30.

Which particulars are drawn from the romance abovemention'd. ‘"There was a knight Meliodas [Meliogras] and he was lord and king of the country of Lyones—and he wedded king Markes sister of Cornewale."’ The issue of which mar­riage, as we are afterwards told, was Sir Tristram. [Page 16] Mention is then made in our romance, of Sir Tri­stram's banishment from Lyones into a distant country, by the advice, and under the conduct of a wise and learned counsellor named Governale. A circumstance alluded to by Spenser in these verses.

So taking counsel of a wise man red,
She was by him adviz'd, to send me quight
Out of the countrie, wherein I was bred,
The which the fertile Lionesse is hight.
6. 2. 30.

Sir Tristram's education is thus describ'd below.

St. 31.
All which my dayes I have not lewdly spent,
Nor spilt the blossom of my tender yeares
In ydlesse, but as was convenient,
Have trained bene with many noble feres
In gentle thewes, and such like semely leres;
'Mongst which my most delight has always beene
To hunt the savage chace among my peres
Of all that raungeth in the forest greene,
Of which none is to me unknowne that e'er was seene.
Ne is there hawke that mantleth her on pearch
Whether high-towring, or accoasting lowe,
But I the measure of her flight do search,
And all her pray, and all her dyet knowe.

Which is agreeable to what is said in the romance. After mention being made of Tristram's having learn­ed [Page 17] the language of France, courtly behaviour, and skill in chivalry, we have the following passage. ‘"As he growed in might and strength, he laboured ever in hunting and hawking; so that we never read of no gentleman, more, that so used himselfe therein.—And he began good measures of blowing of blasts of ve­nery [hunting] and chase, and of all manner of ver­meins; and all these termes haves we yet of hawking and hunting: and therefore the booke of venery, of hawking and hunting, is called THE BOOKE OF SIR TRISTRAM*."’ And in another place King Arthur thus addresses Sir Tristram. ‘"For of all manner of hunting thou bearest the prise; and of all measures of blowing thou art the beginner; and of all the termes of hunting and hawking ye are the begin­ner.**"’

From this romance our author also took the hint of his BLATANT BEAST; which is there call'd the QUESTING BEAST. ‘"Therewithall the King saw comming towards him the strangest beast that ever he saw, or heard tell off.—And the noyse was in the beasts belly like unto the Questyn of thirtie couple of houndes."’ The QUESTING BEAST is afterwards more particularly described. ‘"That had in shap an head like a serpent's head, and a body like a liberd, buttocks like a lyon, and footed like a hart; and in his body there was such a noyse, as it had been the noyse of thirtie couple of houndes Questyn, and such a noyse that beast made where­soever he went." Spenser has made him a much [Page 18] more monstrous animal than he is here represented to be, and in general has varied from this description; though there is one circumstance in Spenser's repre­sentation, in which there is a resemblance, viz.—speaking of his mouth,

And therein were a thousand tongues empight,
Of sundry kindes, and sundry qualities,
Some were of dogs that barked night and day.
And some, &c.—
6. 12. 27.

So dreadfully his hundred tongues did bray,
5. 12. 41.

By what has been hitherto said, perhaps the reader may not be persuaded, that Spenser, in his BLATANT BEAST, had the QUESTING BEAST of our romance in his eye; but the poet has himself taken care to in­form us of this: for we learn, from the romance, that certain knights of the round table were destined to pursue the QUESTING BEAST perpetually without success: which Spenser hints at in these lines.

Albe that long time after Calidore,
The good Sir Pelleas him tooke in hand,
And after him Sir Lamoracke of yore,
And all his brethren borne in Britaine land,
Yet none of these could ever bring him into band.
6. 12.

Sir Lamoracke, and Sir Pelleas are two very valour­ous champions of Arthur's round table.

[Page 19]This romance likewise supplied our author with the story of the mantle made of the beards of knights, and locks of ladies; which last circumstance is added by Spenser.

For may no knight or ladie passe along
That way (and yet they needs must passe that way)
By reason of the streight and rocks among,
But they that ladies lockes do shave away,
And that knights berd for toll, which they for passage pay.
6. 1. 13.


His name is Crudor, who through high disdaine,
And proud despyght of his selfe-pleasing mynd,
Refused hath to yeald her love againe,
Untill a mantle she for him do find,
With berds of knights, and lockes of ladies lynd.
6. 3. 15.

Thus in MORTE ARTHUR. ‘"Came a messenger—saying, that king Ryence had discomfited, and overcomen eleaven knights, and everiche of them did him homage; and that was this; they gave him their beards cleane flayne of as much as there was: wherefore the messenger came for king Ar­thur's berd: for king Ryence had purfeled a man­tell with king's beards, and there lacked for one place of the mantell. Wherefore he sent for his berd; or else hee would enter into his lands, and brenn and sley, and never leave, till he have thy [Page 20] head and beard."* After this passage we have an antient ballad, the subject of which is this insolent demand of king Ryence. Drayton, in his Poly­olbion, speaks of a coat composed of the beards of kings: he is celebrating king Arthur.

As how great Rithout's self, he slew in his repair
And ravisht Howel's niece, young Helena the fair,
And for a trophie brought the giant's coat away,
Made of the beards of kings.—* *

But Drayton, in these lines, manifestly alludes to a passage in Geoffrey of Monmouth; who informs us, that a Spanish giant, named Ritho, having forcibly conveyed away from her guard Helena the niece of duke Hoel, possessed himself of St. Michael's Mount in Cornwall, from whence he made frequent sallies, and committed various outrages; that, at last, king Arthur conquered this giant, and took from him a certain coat, which he had been composing of the beards of kings, a vacant place being left for king Arthur's beard.(†)

As Spenser has copied many other fictions from MORTE ARTHUR, I apprehend that he drew this from thence, and not from Geoffrey of Monmouth; not to mention, that Spenser's circumstances tally more exactly with those in the romance.

[Page 21]There is great reason to conclude, not only from what has already been mention'd concerning Spenser's imitations from this romantic history of king Arthur and his knights, but from some circum­stances which I shall now produce, that it was a favo­rite and reigning romance about the age of queen Elizabeth; or at least one very well known and much read at that time. Spenser in the Shepherd's Calen­dar has the following passage.

And whither rennes this bevie of ladies bright
Raunged in a row?
They been all LADIES OF THE LAKE behight,
That unto her go.*

Upon the words LADIES OF THE LAKE, E. K. the old commentator on the pastorals has the follow­ing remark. ‘"LADIES OF THE LAKE be nymphes: for it was an old opinion among the antient Hea­thens, that of every spring and fountaine was a goddesse the soveraine; which opinion stucke in the minds of men not many years since by meanes of certain fine fablers, or loose lyers; such as were the authors of KING ARTHUR the great.—Who tell many an unlawfull leesing of the LADIES OF THE LAKE."’ These fine fablers or loose lyers, are the authors of the romance above-mention'd, viz. MORTE ARTHUR, where many miracles are brought about, and much enchantment is carried on by the means and interposition of the LADY OF THE LAKE. Now [Page 22] it should be observed, that the LADY OF THE LAKE was introduc'd to make part of queen Elizabeth's en­tertainment at Kenelworth; as an evidence of which I shall produce a passage from an antient book entit­led ‘"A letter, wherein part of the entertainment un­too the queens majesty at Killingworth-castl in Warwick-sheer in this soomers progress, 1575, is signified."’ The passage is this. ‘"Her highness all along this tilt-yard rode unto the inner gate, next the baze coourt of the castle: whear the LADIE OF THE LAKE (famous in KING ARTHUR'S BOOK) with too nymphes wayting upon her, ar­rayed all in sylkes, attended her highnes comming, from the midst of the pool, whear upon a move­able island bright-blazing with torches she floting to land, met her majesty with a well-penned meter, and matter, after this sorte; first of the auncientee of the castl; who had been owners of the same e'en till this day, most allways in the handes of the earles of Leycester; how she had kept this lake syns king Arthur's dayes, and now understand­ing of her highnes hither comming, thought it both offis and duety; to discover, in humble wise, her, and her estate, offring up the same, hir lake, and power thearin; with promis of repair to the court. It pleas'd her highnes to thank this lady, &c."’

Gascoyne * in a little narrative called the ‘"Prince­ly Pleasures of Kenelworth Castle,"’ gives us some of the above-mention'd metre, written by Ferrers, [Page 23] one of the contributors to the mirror of magistrates, of which these may serve as a specimen.

I am the lady of this pleasant lake,
Who since the time of great king Arthur's reigne,
That here with royall court aboade did make,
Have led a lowring life in restless paine;
'Till now that this your third arrival here,
Doth cause me come abroad, and boldly thus appeare.
For after him such stormes this castle shook,
By swarming Saxons first, who scourgde this land
As forth of this my poole I neer durst looke, &c.

She is afterwards introduc'd complaining to the queen, that sir Bruse had insulted her for doing an injury to Merlin, (an incident related in MORTE ARTHUR); and that he would have put her to death had not Neptune deliver'd her, by concealing her in that lake; from which confinement the queen is after­wards suppos'd to deliver her, &c.

Without expatiating upon the nature of such a royal entertainment as this, I shall observe from it that the LADY OF THE LAKE (and consequently the romance which supply'd this fiction) was a very po­pular character in the reign of queen Elizabeth; and we may add, that it is not improbable that Spenser might allude in the above-cited verses to some of the circumstances in this part of the queen's entertainment; for queen Elisabeth, the Fayre Elisa, is the lady whom the LADIES OF LAKE are represented as repairing to, [Page 24] in that eclogue*. Nor is it improbable that this lady was often exhibited upon other occasions. Nor is it improper to remark in this place that Ben. Johnson has introduced her, together with king Arthur and Mer­lin, in an entertainment before the court of James I. called PRINCE HENRIES BARRIERS.

The above antient letter acquaints us, that the queen was entertain'd with a song from this romance, which is another proof of it's popularity at that time. ‘"A minstrall came forth with a sollem song warrant­ed for story out of king Arthur's acts the first book, 24. whereof I gat a copy, and that is this, "So it fell out on a pentecost day "When king Arthur, &c."

This is the song above hinted at, where mention is made of king Rience demanding the beard of king Arthur. In the same letter a gentleman who shew'd some particular feats of activity before the queen, is said to be ‘"very cunning in fens, and hardy as Gawen."’ Which Gawen was king Arthur's ne­phew, and whose atchievements are highly celebrat­ed in MORTE ARTHUR.

We find Spenser in another place alluding to the fable of the lady of the lake so much spoken of in this romance.

—A little while
Before that Merlin dyde, he did intend
[Page 25]A brasen wall in compas to compyle
About Cairmardin, and did it commend
Unto these sprights to bring to perfect end;
During which time, the LADIE OF THE LAKE,
Whom long he lov'd, for him in haste did send,
Who therefore forst his workmen to forsake,
Them bound till his returne, their labour not to slake.
3. 3. 9.
In the meane time thro' that false ladies traine
He was surpris'd and buried under beare,
Ne ever to his worke return'd againe.

These verses are obscure, unless we consider the fol­lowing relation in MORTE ARTHUR. ‘"The LADY OF THE LAKE and Merlin departed; and by the way as they went, Merlin shewed to her many wonders, and came into Cornewaile. And alwaies Merlin lay about the ladie for to have her favour; and she was ever passing wery of him, and faine would have been deliver'd of him; for she was afraid of him, because he was a divells son, and she could not put him away by no meanes. And so upon a time it hapned that Merlin shewed to her in a roche [rock] whereas was a great wonder, and wrought by enchauntment, which went under a stone, so by her subtile craft and working she made Merlin to go under that stone, to let him wit of the marvailes there. But she wrought so [Page 26] there for him, that he came never out, for all the craft that he could doe."*

Our author has taken notice of a superstitious tra­dition, which is related at large in this romance.

—Good Lucius
That first received christianitie,
The sacred pledge of Christs evangelie:
Yet true it is that long before that day
Hither came Joseph of Arimathie,
Who brought with him the HOLY GRAYLE, they say,
And preacht the truth; but since it greatly did decay.
2. 10. 53.

The HOLY GRAYLE, that is the real blood of our blessed Saviour. What Spenser here writes GRALE, is often written SANGREAL, or St. grale in MORTE AR­THUR, and is there said to have been brought into England by Joseph of Arimathea. Many of king Arthur's knights are there represented as going in quest, or in search of the SANGREAL, or SANGUIS REALIS. This expedition was one of the first subjects of the old romance.

This romance seems to have extended its reputation beyond the reign of queen Elizabeth. B. Johnson, besides his allusion to it in the LADY OF THE LAKE mention'd above, hints at it more than once:

[Page 27]
Had I compil'd from Amadis de Gaule,
Th'Esplandians, ARTHURS, Palmerins, &c.(†)

And afterwards, in the same poem,

—The whole summe
Of errant knighthood; with the dames and dwarfes,
The charmed boates, and the enchanted wharfes,

And Camden * refers to this history of king Arthur, as to a book familiarly known to the readers of his age. Speaking of the name TRISTRAM, he observes, ‘"I know not whether the first of this name was christned by king Arthur's fabler."’ Again, of LAUNCELOT he speaks, ‘"Some think it to be no ancient name, but forged by the writer of king Arthur's history, for one of his douty knights:"’ and of GAWEN, ‘"A name devised by the author of king Arthur's table."’

To this we may add, that Milton manifestly hints at it in the following lines,

—Damsels met in forrests wide
By knights of Logris, or of Lyones,
Lancelot, Pelleas, or Pellenore.

These are Sir Lancelot (or Sir Meliot) of Logris; Sir Tristram of Lyones, and king Pellenore, who are [Page 28] often mention'd in MORTE ARTHUR, and repre­sented as meeting beautiful damsels in desolate for­rests: and probably he might have it in his eye when he wrote the following, as the round table is express­ly hinted at.

Siquando indigenas revocabo in carmina reges,
Arturumque etiam sub terris bella moventem,
Aut dicam INVICTAE sociali faedere MENSAE
Magnanimos Heroas.(†)

To which we may subjoin,

—What resounds
In fable, or romance, of Uther's son,
Begirt with British, and Armoric knights.*

Before I leave this romance, I must observe, that Ariosto has been indebted to it; I do not mean, to the old translation, which Spenser made use of. He has drawn his enchanter Merlin from it, and in these verses refers to a particular story concerning him, quoted above. Bradamante is suppos'd to visit the tomb of Merlin.

Questa è l'antica, e memorabil grotta,
Ch' edificò Merlino il savio mago,
Che forse recordare odi tal'hotta,
Dove inganollo la DONNA DEL LAGO,
Il sepolcro è qui giu, dove corotta
[Page 29] Di satisfare a lei, che gliel suase,
Giace la carne sua, dove egli vago
Vivo corcossi, e morto ci rimase. *

Thus translated by Harrington,

Heere is the tombe that Merlin erst did make
By force of secret skill, and hidden art,
In which sometimes the lady of the lake
(That with her beauty had bewitcht his hart)
Did force him enter fondly for her sake;
And he was by a woman over-reached
That unto others prophesied, and preached.
His carkas dead within this stone is bound.

This description of Merlin's tomb (says Harrington in a marginal note) is out of the BOOK OF KING AR­THUR. Ariosto has transferr'd the tomb from Wales into France. He afterwards feigns, that the prophe­tical sculpture in Malagigi's cave was perform'd by Merlin's enchantment.

Merlino il savio incantator Britanno
Fe for la fonte, al tempo dil re Arturo,
E di cose, ch'al mondo hanno a venire
La fe da buoni artefici scolpire.

—These whose names appear
In marble pure, did never live as yet,
[Page 30]But long time hence, after six hundred yeare,
To their great praise in princely throne shall sit;
Merlin the English prophet plast them here
In Arthurs time.

He also mentions some of the names of the knights of our romance; when Renaldo comes into Great-Bri­tain, the poet celebrates that island for its atchieve­ments in chivalry, and as having produc'd many brave knights,

Lancillotto, Galasso, Artu, e Galuano.(†)

Afterwards, in b. 32. Tristram makes a great figure. From this romance is also borrow'd Ariosto's tale* of the enchanted cup; which, in Caxton's old transla­tion, is as follows. ‘"By the way they met with a knight, that was sent from Morgan le Faye to king Arthur; and this knight had a faire horne all gar­nished with gold; and the horne had such a virtue, that there might no ladie or gentlewoman drink of that horne, but if shee were true to her husband; and if shee were false, shee should spill all the drinke; and if shee were true unto her lord, shee might drink peaceably, &c." Afterwards many tryals are made with this cup. The inimitable Fon­taine has new-moulded this story from Ariosto, under the title of La coupe enchanteé. As it is manifest, from a comparison of passages, that Ariosto was very con­versant [Page 31] in this romance; so I think it may be granted, that he drew the idea of his Orlando running mad with jealousy from it. In MORTE ARTHUR, Sir Lancelot, out of a jealous fit, is driven to madness, in which state he continues for the space of two years, perform­ing a thousand ridiculous pranks, no less extravagant than those of Orlando; and, like him, at length he recovers his senses.

I had forgot to remark before, that our author has borrow'd the name of Materasta's castle from that of Lancelot in MORTE ARTHUR.

—the goodly frame
And stately port of CASTLE JOYEOUS.
3. 1. 31.

Lancelot's castle is styl'd JOYOUS GARD, or castle.

There is another antient romance (for so it may be called, though it is written in verse) which Spenser apparently copies, in prince Arthur's combat with the dragon: it will be necessary to transcribe the whole passage.

It fortuned (as faire it then befell)
Behind his back (vnweeting) where he stood
Of auncient time there was a springing well,
From which fast trickled forth a siluer flood,
Full of great vertues, and for med'cine good.
Whylome, before that cursed dragon got
That happy land, and all with innocent blood,
Defil'd those sacred waves, it rightly hot
The well of life: ne yet his vertues had forgot.
For, unto life the dead it could restore,
And guilt of sinful crimes cleane wash away;
Those that with sicknesse were infected sore,
It could recure, and ages long decay
Renew, as it were borne that very day.
Both Silo this, and Iordan did excell,
And th'English bath, and eke the German Spau,
Ne can Cephise, nor Hebrus match this well:
Into the same, the knight (backe overthrowen) fell.
Now gan the golden Phoebus for to steepe
His fierie face in billowes of the west,
And his faint steeds watred in Ocean deep,
Whiles from their iournall labours they did rest;
When that infernall monster, hauing kest
His weary foe into that liuing well,
Gan high advaunce his broad discoloured brest
Aboue his wonted pitch, with countenance fell,
And clapt his iron wings, as victor he did dwell.
Which when his pensiue lady saw from farre,
Great woe and sorrow did her soule assay;
As weening that, the sad end of the warre,
And gan to highest God entirely pray,
That feared chance from her to turne away;
With folded hands and knees full lowely bent
All night she watcht, ne once adowne would lay
Her dainty limbs in her sad dreriment,
But praying still did wake, and waking did lament.
The morrow next gan early to appeare,
That Titan rose to runne his daily race:
But early ere the morrow next gan reare
Out of the sea faire Titans deawy face.
Vp rose the gentle virgin from her place,
And looked all about, if she might spy
Her loued knight to moue his manly pase:
For, shee had great doubt of his safety,
Since late she saw him fall before his enemy.
At last she saw, where he vpstarted braue
Out of the well, wherein he drenched lay;
As Eagle fresh out of the Ocean waue,
Where he hath left his plumes all hoary gray,
And deckt himselfe with feathers youthly gay,
Like eyas hauke vp mounts vnto the skies,
His newly-budded pineons to assay,
And marvailes at himself, still as he flies:
So new, this new-borne knight to battell new did rise.
Whom, when the damned fiend so fresh did spy,
No wonder if he wondred at the sight,
And doubted, whether his late enemy
It were, or other new supplied knight.
He, now to prove his late renewed might,
High brandishing his bright deaw-burning blade,
Vpon his crested scalpe so sore did smite,
That to the scull a yawning wound it made:
The deadly dint his dulled senses all dismaid.
I wote not, whether the reuenging steele
Were hardned with that holy water dew
Wherein he fell, or sharper edge did feele,
Or his baptized hands now greater grew;
Or other secret vertue did ensew;
Else, never could the force of fleshly arme,
Ne molten metall in his bloud embrew:
For, till that stound could never wight him harme,
By subtiltie, nor sleight, nor might, nor mighty charme.
1. 11. 29.

This miraculous manner of healing our author drew from an old poem, entitled, Sir Bevis of Southampton, viz.

"What for weary, and what for faint
"Sir Bevis was neere attaint:
"The dragon followed on Bevis so hard,
"That as he would have fled backward,
"There was a well as I weene,
"And he stumbled right therein.
"Then was Sir Bevis afraid and woe,
"Lest the dragon should him sloe:
"Or that he might away passe,
"When that he in the well was.
"Then was the well of such vertu
"Through the might of Christ Jesu,
"For sometime dwelled in that land
"A virgin full of Christes sand,
[Page 35]"That had been bathed in that well,
"That ever after, as men can tell,
"Might no venomous worme come therein,
"By the virtue of that virgin,
"Nor nigh it seven foot and more:
"Then Bevis was glad therefore,
"When he saw the Dragon fell
"Had no power to come to the well.
"Then was he glad without faile,
"And rested awhile for his availe,
"And drank of the water of his fill,
"And then he leapt out of the well,
"And with Morglay, his brand
"Assailed the Dragon, I understand:
"On the Dragon he strucke so fast, &c.

After which the Dragon strikes the knight with such violence, that he falls into a swoon, and tumbles as it were lifeless into the well, by whose sovereign virtue he is reviv'd.

"When Bevis was at the ground
"The water made him whole and sound,
"And quenched all the venim away,
"This well saved Bevis that day.

And afterwards,

"But ever when Bevis was hurt sore,
"He went to the well and washed him thore;
[Page 36]"He was as whole as any man,
"And ever as fresh as when he began.*

[Page 37]The circumstance of the Dragon not being able to approach within seven feet of this well, is imitated by our author St. 49. below, where another water is men­tioned, which in like manner preserves the knight.

"But nigh thereto the ever-damned beast
"Durst not approache, for he was mortal made,
"And all that life preserved did detest,
"Yet he it oft adventur'd to invade.

Tho' we feel somewhat of an ill-natur'd pride, and a disingenuous triumph, in having detected the latent and obscure source, from whence an admired and ori­ginal author has drawn some favorite and celebrated description; yet it must be confess'd, that this is soon overwhelmed by a generous and exalted pleasure, which naturally flows from contemplating the chymi­cal energy of true genius, which can produce so won­derfull a transmutation, and whose virtues are not less potent, efficacious, and vivifying in their nature, than those of the miraculous water here described.

It should be mention'd in this place, that Spenser, in his Dragon-encounters, follows the incidents made use of by the romance-writers, with all the punctuality of a close copyist.

[Page 38]As to Spenser's original and genealogy of the Fairy nation, I am induc'd to believe, that part of it was supply'd by his own inexhaustible imagination, and part by some fabulous history. He tells us, B. ii. c. 10. S. 70. that man, as first made by Prometheus, was called ELFE, who wandring through the world, at last arriv'd at the gardens of Adonis, where he found a female, whom he called FAY; that the issue of these two were called Fairies, who soon grew to be a mighty people, and conquer'd all nations. That their eldest son Elfin govern'd America, and the next to him, named Elfinan, founded the city of Cleopo­lis, which was enclos'd with a golden wall by Elfiline. That his son Elfine overcome the Gobbelines; but that, of all Fairies, Elfant was most renowned, who built Panthea of Crystall.—To these succeeded Elfar, who kill'd two brethren-giants; and to him Elfinor, who built a bridge of glass over the sea, the sound of which was like thunder. At length Elficleos rul'd the Fairy land with much wisdom, and highly en­creas'd its honour: he left two sons, the eldest of which, fair Elferon, died an immature death, and whose place was supply'd by the mighty Oberon, whose wide memorial (continues our author) still re­mains, and who dying, left Tanaquil to succeed him by will, who is likewise called Glorian, or GLORIANA.

In the circumstance of Elfinel, who overcame the Gobbelines, he plainly alludes to the faction of the Guelfes and Gibbelines in Italy; and his friend and commentator E. K. remarks,* that our Elfes and [Page 39] Goblins were deriv'd from those two parties Guelfes and Gibelines. But in the latter part of this relation, under the fictitious names of these ideal beings, he has adumbrated some of our English princes. Elficleos is king Henry VII, whose eldest son Arthur died at sixteen years of age; and whose youngest son Oberon, that is, Henry VIII, succeeded to the crown, marry­ing, about the same time, his brother Arthur's wi­dow, the princess Katherine; which is what Spenser more particularly hints at in these lines,

Whose emptie place the mighty Oberon,
Doubly supply'd in SPOUSALL and DOMINION.
St. 75.

The same of this king was very recent in our au­thor's age.

It is remarkable that Spenser says nothing of Ed­ward VI. and queen Mary, who reigned between Henry VIII. and queen Elizabeth, but that he passes immediately from Oberon to Tanaquill, or GLORI­ANA, i. e. queen Elizabeth, who was excluded from her right by those two intermediate reigns.

He dying left the fairest Tanaquill,
Him to succeed there by his last will:
Fairer and nobler liveth none this howre.
St. 75.

And the reader may observe, that there is much ad­dress and art in the poet's manner of making this o­mission. There is so much confusion in Spenser's [Page 40] series of this fairy people, that it is difficult to deter­mine, whether or no he has here allegorised any o­ther English reign. However in Elfant who laid the foundation of Cleopolis, he may signify king Lud, as it appears, by another place, that Cleopolis is London,

Till now, said then the knight, I weened well,
That great Cleopolis where I have been,
In which the fairest FAERIE QUEENE doth dwell.

The fairest FAERIE QUEENE is queen Elizabeth: and by the lines that immediately follow, it should seem that Panthea is the queen's palace,

—The fairest citie was that might be seene,
And that bright towr all built of crystall cleene,
1. 10. 58.

But this idea of the crystall tower, and of the gold­en wall, and bridge of glass, &c. mention'd above, seem to be some romantic tradition. As to his FAE­RIE QUEENE, the notion of such a personage was very common; Chaucer in his Rime of Sir Thopas speaks of her, together with a fairy land; and Shake­spere who was universally conversant in popular su­perstition, has introduc'd her in his Midsummer­night's Dream. She was suppos'd to have held her court in the highest magnificence in the days of king Arthur, a circumstance by which the happiness of that reign was originally represented in the romantic annals of it.

[Page 41]Thus Chaucer.

In the old dayis of the king Arthure,
(Of which the Britons speken great honour)
All was this lond fulfillid of Fayry,
The Elf-QUENE with her jolly company
Daunsid full oft in many a grene mede,
This was the old opinion as I rede.*

Thus Spenser follow'd the popular tradition in sup­posing his FAERIE QUEENE to exist in the age of [Page 42] Arthur. In Chaucer we find that fairy land, and Fairies were us'd in a more general sense for an ideal place and people. Thus in the marchants tale.

Pluto that is king of FAYRIE.

And above,

Proserpine, and all her FAYRIE.

This fiction of the Fairies was undoubtedly brought with many other fantastic extravagancies of the like [Page 43] nature from the Eastern nations, by the European Christians, who had been at the holy war; and those expeditions were some of the first subjects of romance; as an admirable judge of this matter observes; who farther informs us; ‘"Nor were the monstrous em­bellishments of enchantments, &c. the invention of the romancers, but form'd upon Eastern tales, brought thence by travellers from their crusades and pil­grimages; which indeed have a cast peculiar to the wild imagination of the Eastern people."*

The Persians call the Fairies Peri; and the Arabs Ginn; and they feign, that there is a certain country inhabited by them, called Ginnistian, which corresponds to our Fairy-land. Our old romantic history sup­poses that Arthur still reigns in Fairy-land, from whence he will one day return to Britain, and re-esta­blish the round table, &c. Thus Lydgate,

He is a king ycrounid in Fairie;
With scepter, and sword, and with his regally,
Shall resort as lord and soveraigne
Out of Fairie and reigne in Britaine;
And repaire again the old round table,
By prophecy Merlin set the date, &c.

Many other instances might be alledged, from which it would be more abundantly manifested, that the imagination of our author was deeply tinctur'd with that species of writing with which his age was so [Page 44] intimately acquainted, and so generally delighted: but we have, perhaps, been already sufficiently prolix in a disquisition, which to the lovers of Spenser, cannot appear altogether unentertaining; a disquisition, af­fording that kind of information, which, though it does not improve the judgment, will gratify the cu­riosity. And if there should be any readers, who, disgusted with the ideas of knights, dragons, and en­chanters, should, after perusing the FAERIE QUEENE, address the author of it, as cardinal d'Este did Ario­sto, after reading his Orlando, ‘"Dove, Diavolo, Mes­ser Lodovico, avete pigliate tante coglionerie? Where the Devil, and did you pick up all these lies?"’ I beg those gentlemen will look upon this section as a sufficient answer to that question.

SECT. III. Of Spenser's use and abuse of antient history and mythology.

AS Spenser sought to produce surprise by extra­vagant incidents, and fantastic descriptions, the mythology of the antients afforded matter no less co­pious than suitable for such a design. He has ac­cordingly adopted some of their most romantic fic­tions, in many of which he has departed from the re­ceived tradition, as his purpose and subject required. And, indeed, with regard to our author's misrepre­sentation of the fables of antiquity, it may be ob­served, that from those arguments which are pro­duced [Page 45] against his fidelity, new ones may be drawn in favour of his fancy. Spenser's native force of in­vention would not permit him to pursue the letter of prescribed fiction with tame regularity and scru­pulous exactness. In many particulars he varies from antiquity merely that he may introduce new beauties, and frequently mentions one or two circum­stances of antient fable, not so much with a design of adorning his poem with them, as of taking an oppor­tunity from them, of raising a new fiction of his own. He sometimes, indeed, misrepresents these matters through haste; his allusions to antient history are likewise very frequent, which in many instances he has not scrupled to violate, with equal freedom, and for the same reasons.

B. i. c. i. S. xxxvii.
A bold bad man that dar'd to call by name
Great Gorgon.—

Mr. Jortin has cited many instances, by which it appears, that the antients were most superstitiously fearfull of uttering the name of Gorgon, or Daemo­gorgon. It may not be impertinent to remark, that they were no less afraid of calling the furies by their names.

Electra, in Euripides, says of the furies that tor­mented her brother.


[Page 46]
—Vereor enim nominare
Deas Eumenidas, quae eum certatim perterrent.

And in another scene Orestes says,


Visus surn mihi videre tres puellas nocti similes.

Whom Menelaus answers,


Novi quas dixisti; nominare autem nolo.

Below we have the same superstition concerning Hecate; for which it would be difficult, perhaps, to bring any antient testimony,

And threatned unto him the dreaded name
Of Hecate—
St. 43.

Either that her name was fear'd in general, or that Morpheus was particularly afraid of uttering, or of hearing it. Our author, with great strength of fancy, has feign'd such a circumstance as this of Merlin.

The fiends do quake, when any him to them does name.
3. 3. 11.

Though perhaps this is not more expressive of Mer­lin's diabolical power than what Olaus Magnus men­tions of that of a Swedish enchanter, viz. That he could [Page 47] blunt the edge of the weapons of his enemies only by looking at them; and that he could make hell a light place. B. i. C. iv. S. 30. He is describing Envy,

—still did chaw
Betweene his cankred teeth a venemous toad,
That all the poyson ran about his jaw.

Ovid * tells us, that Envy was found eating the flesh of vipers, which is not much unlike Spenser's picture. But our author has heighten'd this circum­stance to a most disgusting degree; for he adds, that the poyson ran about her jaw. This is, perhaps, one of the most loathsom ideas that Spenser has given us, though he paints very strongly (as Jortin observes) B. i. i. 20.

—She spewd out of her filthy maw
A flood of poyson horrible and black;
Full of great lumps of flesh and gobbets raw,
Which stunk so vilely that it forc'd him slack
His grasping hold.—

As also in the discovery of Duessa, 1. 8. 47. 48. He is also very indelicate where he speaks of Serena's wounds.

For now her wounds corruption 'gan to breed.
6. 5. 31.

[Page 48] See also 7. 7. 31. and 7. 7. 40. In reality, the strength of our author's imagination could not be suppress'd or kept in on any subject, and in some measure it is owing to the fullness of his stanza, and the frequency of his rhymes, that he has describ'd these disagreeable ob­jects so minutely. But to return to his Envy. This personage is again introduc'd, 5. 12. 29. chawing a snake, of which circumstance a most beautiful use is there made, St. 39.

Then from her mouth the gobbet she does take
The which whyleare she was so greedily
Devouring; even that half-gnawen snake
And at him throwes it most despitefully:
The cursed serpent, tho' she hungrily
Earst chaw'd thereon, yet was not all so dead,
But that some life remained secretly,
And as he past before withouten dread,
Bit him behind, that long the mark was to be read.

It may be urg'd, that Spenser drew the thought of her throwing the Snake at him, from Alecto's attack upon Amata.

Huic Dea caeruleis unum de crinibus anguem
Conjicit, inque sinus praecordia ad intima condit. *

But Spenser's application of this thought, is surely a much greater effort of invention than the thought itself. The malignity both of Envy, and of her Snake, [Page 49] could not have been exprest is more significant strokes; tho' the snake was her constant food, yet she was tempted to deprive herself of sustenance, that she might cast it at him; and tho' the snake by being thus con­stantly fed upon was almost dead, yet it's natural ma­lignity enabled it to bite him violently.

B. i. C. v. S. xxxix.
—His rash sire began to rend
His haire, and hastie tongue that did offend.

Theseus did not rend his tongue upon this occasion. Mr. Jortin would excuse our author for his false re­presentation of this matter, by supposing an elleipsis, viz. he began to rend his hair, and (to blame or curse) his tongue. Tho' Spenser is full of elleipses, yet he seldom has been guilty of such a one as this; I should therefore think this passage ought not to be refer'd to Spenser's Elleipses, but to that fault which he so fre­quently commits, the fal [...]ication of antient story. Besides the words that did offend join'd to hastie tongue, seem to be given by the poet as an express reason why he rent it. B. i. C. vi. S. xiv. Sylvanus is here introduced,

—His weake steps governing
And aged limbes on cypresse stadle stout.

I do not remember that Sylvanus is any where de­scrib'd as infirm with old age; neither did he use a [Page 50] cypress-tree for the purpose here mentioned, which was a young plant torn up by the roots, and carried in his hand. Virgil addresses him,

Teneram ab radice ferens, Sylvane, cupressum. *

B. i. C. vii. S. xvii.
—That renowned Snake
Which great Alcides in STREMONA slew,
Long-fostred in the filth of LERNA lake.

Hercules slew the Hydra in the lake of Lerna, be­tween Mycenae and Argos. Stremona is no where to be met with, which probably he put for Strymon, a river of Macedonia in the confines of Thrace. But to read Strymon here, would no more help out the sense, than it would the measure.

B. ii. C. iv. S. xli.
—Sonne of Erebus and Night.

Spenser is just to mythology in representing Erebus and Night as married. In another place this address is made to Night.

—Black Erebus thy husband is—
3. 4. 55.

In these lines of Milton,

Hence loathed melancholy
Of CERBERUS and blackest midnight born.

[Page 51] Mr. Upton would read EREBUS for Cerberus: the alteration is indeed ingenious; and to his defence of it he might have added, that Milton, in one of his juvenile Latin poems, has shewn his knowledge of this mythological point, viz.

Nox senis amplexus EREBI taciturna petivit.

After all, it is not improbable but that Milton might write CERBERUS: full of the idea of the loath­somness of melancholy, he seems to have chosen out the most detestable parents for her that his imagination could suggest, CERBERUS and MIDNIGHT; and it should be observed, that he does not say Midnight simply, but blackest Midnight, an epithet by which he strongly marks out his abhorrence of the offspring of so foul a pair, and the consistency and propriety of her being leagu'd with Cerberus.

Our author is likewise true to mythology in what he says of Night, in the following verses,

O thou most antient grandmother of old,
More old than Jove, whom thou at first didst breed.
1. 5. 22.

Thus Orpheus, in his hymn to Night,


Noctem deorum genitricem cantabo, atque hominûm,
Nox genetrix omnium.

[Page 52] He afterwards says of her,

Which wast begot in Daemogorgon's hall,

That is in Chaos, who is the parent of Night, accord­ing to Hesiod.


A Chao autem Erebus, atraque nox gignebantur.

Spenser makes Night the mother of Falshood, which is agreeable to Hesiod.

—Though I the mother be
Of Falshood.—
S. 27. below.


Nox perniciosa post illam fraudem peperit.

Spenser gives Night a chariot, for which he has the authority of many antient poets. Theocritus,



Jam bigis subvecta polum nox atra tenebat. (*)

Apollonius mentions the horses of Night,

[...].—* *

[Page 53] As does Tibullus,

Ludite, jam nox jungit Equos.

I have often thought, that what Spenser says of the horses of night, tempted Milton to go farther, and give them names.

Thus Spenser,

And cole-black steeds yborne of hellish broode
That on their rustie bits did champ as they were wood.
1. 5. 20.

And afterwards,

Her twyfold teme, of which two black as pitch,
And two were brown, yet each to each unlich.
1. 5. 28.

Milton's lines are these,

Nox senis amplexus Erebi taciturna reliquit,
Praecipitesque impellit equos, stimulante flagello;
Captum oculis Typhlonta, Melanchaetemque ferocem,
Atque Acherontaeo prognatam patre Siopem
Torpidam, & hirsutis horrentem Phrica capillis. *

Tho' at the same time it is probable, that he thought of the horses of the Sun, which are nam'd in Ovid. Milton, in the same poem, had an eye to another pas­sage in our author; who having describ'd the per­sonages, that sate by the high-way leading to hell, adds this fine image,

[Page 54]
And over them sad Horror with grim hew
Did alwaies sore, beating his iron wings.
2. 7. 2.

Milton, after describing some of the same per­sonages, adds,

Exanguisque locum circumvolat horror. *

Among these personages, Milton's description of Phonos, or murder (whom he couples with Pro­dotes, or treason) is remarkably beautifull.

Ipsi etiam pavidi latitant penetralibus antri
Et Phonos & Prodotes, nulloque sequente per antrum,
Antrum horrent, scopulosum, atrum feralibus umbris
Diffugiunt sontes, & retro lumina vertunt.

But I think is equall'd by Fletcher's figure of Phonos, in his forgotten poem, called the Purple Island.

Last of this rout the savage PHONOS went,
Whom his dire mother nurst with human blood,
And when more age and strength more fierce­nesse lent,
She taught him in a dark and desart wood,
With force and guile poore passengers to slay,
And on their flesh his barking stomack stay,
And with their wretched blood his fiery thirst allay.
Ten thousand furies on his steps awaited,
Some sear'd his hardned soul with Stygian brand,
Some with black terrors his faint conscience baited,
That wide he star'd, and starched hair did stand;
The first-borne man still in his minde he bore,
Foully array'd in guiltlesse brother's gore,
Which for revenge to heav'n from earth did loudly roar.*

It is observable, that this little poem of Milton, as containing a council, conspiracy, and attempt of Sa­tan, may look'd upon as an early prelusion of his ge­nius to the subject of the paradise lost.

B. ii. C. vii. S. 53.
The garden of Proserpina this hight;
And in the midst thereof a silver seat
With a thick arbour, &c.
Next thereunto did growe a goodly tree.

On this tree, he adds, grew golden apples; and that from this likewise sprung the tree of the Hesperides; but these circumstances, as also that of Proserpina's garden, &c. is, I think, not to be justified from an­tient writers. He afterwards informs us, that the gold­en apples by which Acontius won Cydippe, and that which Ate threw among the Gods, were gather'd from [Page 56] this tree: but these, as we learn from many passages in the Classics, were the produce of the Hesperian tree abovemention'd. He then tells us, that the branches of this tree overspread the river Cocytus, in which Tantalus was plung'd up to the chin, who was perpe­tually catching at its fruit, in which he copies Ho­mer, in some measure; who acquaints us, that many trees of delicious fruit wav'd over the lake in which Tantalus was plac'd; but it does not appear, from him, that Tantalus was fix'd in Cocytus, but in some lake peculiarly appropriated to his punishment.


Spenser has also made another use of Cocytus, viz. that the shores of Cocytus perpetually resounded with the shrieks of damned ghosts, who underwent an ever­lasting punishment by being dipt in its waters. Co­cytus, indeed, says antient fable, must be past, before there is any possibility of arriving at the infernal re­gions; but we do not find, that it was a punishment allotted to any of the ghosts, to be thus plung'd into its waves; nor that this circumstance was the cause of the cries which echoed around its banks.

What he has invented of Cocytus, exhibits a fine image: he supposes, that when Sir Guyon came to this river,

—He clomb up to the bank
And looking downe sawe many damned wights
In those sad waves; which direfull deadly stanke,
[Page 57]Plonged continually of cruel sprights,
That with their pittious cries, and yelling shrights,
They made the further shore resounden wide.
St. 57.

The antients tell us, that the golden apple, for which the goddesses strove on mount Ida, was pluck'd in the garden of the Hesperides; but Spenser's allego­rising imagination feigns, that it grew in hell. He might probably receive the hint of this tree with the golden apples from Homer's mention of various trees which grew in hell, near the lake of Tantalus, hinted at above; but the silver stool beneath it is en­tirely his own, which Mammon persuades the knight to seat himself upon, and is A NEW CIRCUMSTANCE of TEMPTATION.

—Thou fearfull foole,
Why takest not of that same fruit of gold;
Ne sittest downe on that same silver stoole,
To rest thy weary person in the shadow coole?
St. 63.

After all, as the mythology of the Pagans was their religion, the violation of it is hardly excusable.

B. ii. C. xii. S. xlvii.
They in that place him GENIUS do call:
Not that coelestial powre, to whom the care
Of life and generation over all
That lives, pertaines in charge particular,
Who wondrous thinges concerning our welfare,
And strange phantomes does let us oft foresee.
Therefore a God him sage antiquity
Did wisely make, and good Agdistes call,
But this same was to that quite contrary,
The foe of life, that good envies to all,
That secretly doth us procure to fall
Through guilefull semblaunts which he makes us see.

These lines may be farther illustrated from the fol­lowing passage in Natalis Comes.

‘"Dictus est autem GENIUS, ut placuit latinis, a gignendo, vel quia nobiscum gignatur, vel quia illi procreandorum cura divinitus commissa puta­retur. Hic creditur nobis clam nunc suadens, nunc dissuadens, universam vitam nostram gu­bernare.—Nam existimantur Genii Dae­mones rerum, quas voluerint nobis persuadere, spectra & imagines sibi tanquam in speculo impri­mere, quodcunque illis facillimum sit. In quae spectra cum anima nostra clam respexerit, illa sibi veniunt in mentem, quae si ratione perpendantur, tum recta fit animi deliberatio: at si quis posthabi­bita ratione, malorum spectrorum & visorum ductu feratur, ille in multos errores incurrat necesse est, si spectra fuerint praecipue a malignis daemonibus oblata.*"’ That the first Genius here mention'd was likewise called Agdistes, we learn from the same au­thor. ‘"Quem postea Agdistem appellarunt."(†)

[Page 59]The ceremony of offering flowers and wine to the Genius exprest in these lines,

With diverse flowres he daintily was deckt,
And strowed round about, and by his side
A mighty mazer bowle of wine was sett,
As if it had to him been sacrifide.
S. 49.

Is found in Horace,

Floribus & Vino GENIUM memorem brevis aevi.*

The Genius spoken of in the following stanzas, seems to be that which is represented in the PIC­TURE of Cebes.

And double gates it had, which open'd wide,
By which both in and out men moten pass;
Th' one faire and freshe, the other old and dride:
OLD GENIUS the Porter of them was,
OLD GENIUS, the which a double nature has.
3. 6. 31.
He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the world desire:
A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require,
That he with fleshlie weedes would them attire.
[Page 60] [...], &c. Cernitis, inquit, septum hoc? Cernimus. Hoc primùm Vobis tenendum est, locum hanc appellari Vitam; & magnam multitudi­nem, quae portae assistit, eos esse qui in Vitam venturi sunt. Senex is qui superne stat, chartam quamdam una manu tenens, altera vero quiddam quasi monstrans, Genius dicitur. Mandat autem ingredientibus, quid eis ubi in vitam venerint, faciendum sit.

The Third Booke of the FAERIE QUEENE; contain­ing the legend of BRITOMARTIS, or of CHASTITY.

Britomartis, among the Cretans, was another name for Diana, the goddess of Chastity; and in this book Spenser's Britomartis is represented as the patroness of Chastity. It is not improbable, as our author has copied the greatest part of the second Canto of this book from the Ceiris of Virgil, that he learn'd, from the same poem, that Britomartis was a name for Diana, viz.

Dictynnam dixere tuo de nomine Lunam.
v. 305.

She was a Cretan nymph, and the daughter of Jupi­ter and Charme, whom Virgil has introduced, in his Ceiris, as the nurse of Scylla, and from whom our [Page 61] author has copied his Glauce, Britomart's nurse, in the Canto mentioned above. She was called Dictyn­na, because she invented nets for hunting, which be­ing also one of Diana's names, Britomartis and Dia­na were look'd upon as the same. Callimachus speaks of her as one of the nymphs of Diana's train, but observes, that she was called by the Cydonians, Dic­tynna. He has left us the history of Britomartis in his hymn to Diana.


Praecipuè autem inter alias omnes Gortynida amasti Nympham,
Cervarum Venatricem, Britomartin, Jaculatricem; cujus olim Minos
[Page 62] Amore perculsus, pervagatus est montes Cretae.
Illa vero alias quidem hirtis sub quercubus latitabat Nympha,
Alias autem in locis uliginosis. At ipse novem men­ses percurrebat
Loca praerupta, & pendentes scopulos: nec inter­misit insectationem,
Donec apprebensa ferme Nympha insiliit mare
Ab alto Vertice: insiliit autem in piscatorum
Retia quae ipsam conservarunt: hinc deinceps Cy­dones
Nympham ipsam, Dictynnam; montem vero unde desiliit Nympha
Dictaeum appellitant: excitatisque ibi sacris
Sacra etiam faciunt.

Upon the word [...], says the scholiast, [...].’ And Solinus speaks to the same effect. ‘"Cretes Dianam religiosissimè venerantur [...] gentiliter nominantes, quod sermone nostro sonat virginem dulcem."* But tho' Spenser in Brito­martis had some reference to Diana, yet at the same time he intended to denote by that name the martial BRITONESSE.

The reader is desired to take notice, that the passage which Spenser has copied from the Ceiris of Virgil begins at this verse of that poem.

[Page 63]
Quam simul Ogygii Phoenicis Filia Charme. *

And ends at,

Despue ter Virgo, numero deus impare gaudet.

B. iii. C. vi. S. 30. Speaking of the garden of Adonis,

In that same garden all the goodly flowres,
Wherewith dame nature doth her beautifie,
Are fetcht; there is the first seminarie,
Of all things that are born to live and die.

In his description of this garden he might probably have an eye to the notion of the antients concerning Adonis, that he represented the sun which quickens the growth of all things. Thus Orpheus, in his Hymn to Adonis,


Others represent him as the seed of wheat. Thus the scholiast of Theocritus, after having informed us, that Adonis after his death remained six months in the em­braces of Venus, and six months with Proserpine. [...] [Page 64] [...].(*) ‘"Hoc re vera ita se habet: scilicet, quod Adonis frumentum est satium: quod sex menses sub terra degit; & sex menses eum habet Venus; nimirum Aeris tempe­ries; & postea a messoribus colligitur."’ Orpheus, in the same hymn, calls the body of Adonis,


Corpus frugiferum.

He has placed Cupid and Psyche in this garden, where they live together in

—stedfast love and happy state.
St. 50.

But Apuleius represents this happy state of Cupid and Psyche to have commenced after their reception into Heaven. However, their offspring, Pleasure, is a­greeable to what Apuleius relates, ‘"Sic ecce Psyche venit in manum Cupidinis; & nascitur illis matu­ro partu filia, quam VOLUPTATEM nominamus."* He has made Pleasure the daughter of Cupid in ano­ther place; speaking to Love,

There with thy daughter Pleasure they do play
Their hurtlesse sports.—

[Page 65] B. iii. C. xi. S. xlvii.Of the statue of Cupid.

—Wings it had with sundrie colours bright
More sundry colours than the proud Pavone
Beares in his boasted fan, or Iris bright,
When her discolour'd bowe she spreads thro' heaven bright.

Cupid was represented by the antients with parti­colour'd wings, as we learn (among others) from this passage quoted by Mr. Jortin, from an epigram ascrib'd to Virgil,

Marmoreusque tibi DIVERSICOLORIBUS alis
In morem picta stabit Amor pharetra.

But this picturesque circumstance was probably sup­ply'd by our author's fancy. In the Pastorals, March, he draws Cupid after the same manner,

With that sprung forth a naked swaine
With spotted wings like Peacocke's traine.

Thus also of love, in the next Canto, St. 23.

And clapt on hie his coloured winges twaine.

In the comparison of the Peacock and the Rainbow, (as they occur together) he probably imitated Tasso.

Ne'l superbo PAVON si vago in monstra
Spiega la pompa de l'occhiute piume,
[Page 66] Ne l' IRIDE si bella indora, e inostra
Il curvo grembo, e rugiadoso al lume. *

The jolly Peacock speads not half so fair
The eyed feathers of his pompous train;
Nor so bends golden Iris in the air,
Her twenty colour'd bow thro' clouds of rain.

Spenser's proud Pavone is literally Tasso's superbo Pa­von. He has again join'd these two comparisons; Speaking of a Butterfly's wings.

Not halfe so many sundry colours arre
In Iris bowe—
Nor Juno's bird in her eye-spotted traine,
So many goodly colours doth containe.

Where eye-spotted traine is plainly the occhiute piume of the Italian poet.

Chaucer, in one of his figures of Cupid, supposes that his wings were adorn'd with rich plumage.

And ANGELIKE his wingis saw I sprede.(†)
B. iii. C. xii. S. vii.
And every wood and every valley wide
He fill'd with Hylas name; the nymphes eke Hylas cride.

[Page 67]Most of the antient writers who relate the story of Hylas, mention the circumstance of Hylas's name being often re-echo'd by the hills, &c. when it was so loudly and frequently call'd upon by Hercules; but I do not recollect that any of them speak of the nymphs as repeating his name. With regard to the for­mer particular, Antonius has given us an ex­plication of it, not generally known, from the [...] of Nicander. ‘"Hercules (says he) having made the hills and forrests tremble, by calling so mightily on the name Hylas; the nymphs who had snatch'd him away, fearing lest the enraged lo­ver should at last discover Hylas in their fountain, transformed him into Echo, which answer'd Hylas to every call of Hercules."’ This solution throws a new light on the circumstance of Hylas's name being so often eccho'd back, and which is particularly insisted on by Virgil, Eclog. 6. v. 44. by Propertius, in his E­legy De Raptu Hylae, 1. 20. and by Valerius Flaccus, b. 7. v. 593. On account of the many invocations of his name, said to be made by Hercules, and of its being so often re-eccho'd, I suppose a custom, men­tion'd by Solinus, was every year celebrated on the banks of the lake Hylas. In cujus [Hylae] memoriam usque adhuc solenni cursitatione lacum populus circuit, & Hylam Voce clamat. * The distress of Hercules, after he had lost Hylas, is finely described by Valerius Flaccus, 3. 565. & seq. and the manner by which Hylas is decoy'd to the fountain is a pretty poe­tical fiction. v. 545. Upon the whole, I am in­duced [Page 68] to think, that Apollonius has much more beautifully describ'd this story than Theocritus. It is remarkable, that Scaliger, who, in general, prefers Flaccus to his original Apollonius, should thus ex­press himself of the comparison concerning the an­guish felt by Hercules on the occasion of losing Hy­las, which occurs in both poets, (after quoting the Latin of Flaccus) Haec quidem sonora magis; plus ta­men arrident Graeca. * B. iv. C. x. S. xlvii. The poet is addressing Venus,

Great GOD of men and women—

Mr. Jortin observes, that Venus is called GOD in Virgil.

Descendo, ac ducente DEO flammam inter & hostes

Where Servius: ‘DEO, secundum eos, qui dicunt utrius­que sexus participationem habere numina; nam ait Calvus.

Pollentemque DEUM Venerem

To this it may be added, that the poet prepares the reader for the appellation GOD, apply'd to Venus, St. 41. above, in his description of the statue of that goddess.

But, for they say she hath both kinds in one,
Both male and female, both under one name:
[Page 69]She sire and mother is herself alone,
Begets and eke conceives, ne needeth other none.

He has also follow'd the same notion, in Colin Clouts Come Home Again.

For Venus selfe doth solely couples seeme,
Both male and female thro' commixture joyn'd.

B. v. C. i. S. xii.
But when she parted thence she left her groome
An yron man which did on her attend,
Alwayes to execute her stedfast doome,
And willed him with Arthegall to wend,
And do whatever things he did intend:
His name was TALUS, made of iron mould,
Immoveable, resistless, without end;
Who in his hand an iron flail did hold,
With which he thresht out falsehood, and did truth unfold.

The character of executing justice, here attributed to Talus, is exactly agreeable to that which he bears in antient story; nor has Spenser greatly varied from antiquity in the make of this wonderfull man; for he is there said to be form'd of brass, and by our author of iron. Plato gives the following account of him. [...] [Page 70] [...]. Utebatur autem Minos hoc legum suarum custode apud urbem; in caeteris vero Cretae partibus Talo. Et profectò Talus ter in anno vicos circuibat legibus tuen­dis intentus in illis; quas habebat in aeneis tabulis in­scriptas; unde nuncupatus est Talus. As to the cir­cumstance of Talus's traversing the isle of Crete, it exactly corresponds with what Spenser says afterwards of his iron man, who did the same in Ierne.

And that same yron man, which could reveale
All hidden crimes, thro' all that realme he sent,
To search out those that us'd to rob and steale,
Or did rebell 'gainst lawfull government.
6. 12. 26.

Plato has told us, that Talus was called brazen, on account of his carrying the laws about with him, writ­ten in brazen tables; but Apollonius informs us, that he was actually made of brass, and invulnerable.


Sed is cum caetero corpore & membris esset
Aeneus, & invulnerabilis, tamen sub tenonte habebat
[Page 71] In malleolo turgentem sanguine venam, quam tenuis
Continebat tunicula, & vitae praestabat mortisque confinium.

Apollonius likewise takes notice of his circuiting Crete three times a year.


Ter in anno Cretam aeneis obeuntem pedibus.

Apollodorus will further illustrate this matter. [...].* Exinde navi­gantes prohibentur quò minùs Cretae appellerent a Talo; hunc quidam aenei generis hominum esse dicunt; illi a Vulcano Minoi traditum fuisse: erat autem Homo ahe­neus: sunt autem qui eum Taurum nominant. Habebat verò venam unam a cervice usque ad crura protensam: in tuniculâ vero venae aeneus infigebatur clavus. Talus iste ter. unoquoque Die insulam percurrens eam contueba­tur. This marvellous swiftness of Talus is likewise refer'd to by our author,

[Page 72]
His yron page, who him pursew'd so light,
As that it seem'd above the ground he went,
For he was swift as swallow in her flight.
5. 1. 20.

And is alluded to by Catullus, in his Ode to Camerius, where he tells him that he should not be able to pur­sue him,

Non CUSTOS si ego fingar ille CRETUM.(†)

Orpheus (or rather *Onomacritus) calls TALUS, in his Argonautics,


‘"The brazen-triple giant."’ The circumstance of the iron flail is added from our author's imagination.

B. v. C. viii. S. xlvii.
Like raging Ino when with knife in hand
She threw her husband's murdred infant out.

Ovid reports, Met. 4, that Ino threw herself, with her son Melicerta, from the top of a rock into the sea. Others say that she murdred Melicerta, and after that leapt into the sea. It is difficult to fix upon Spenser's precise meaning in these verses.

[Page 73]
Or as that madding mother, 'mongst the rout
Of Bacchus' priests her own deare flesh did teare.

The madding mother is Agave. Her son Pentheus being of a very temperate disposition, and consequent­ly averse to the rites of Bacchus, she, together with the rest of the Maenades, tore him in pieces in the midst of the Bacchanalia. Mr. Upton, instead of,

—Her owne dear flesh did teare,

would read, her SON'S dear flesh. But surely the poet (and that with no great impropriety of expres­sion) might mean her Son's flesh, by her owne flesh.

B. v. C. x. S. x.
Orthrus begotten by great Typhaon,
And fowle Echidna—

who guarded the purple oxen of Geryon. I wonder that Spenser should in this place omit the mention of a seven-headed dragon, who, together with Orthrus, was placed to guard these oxen, and was likewise the offspring of Typhaon and Echidna.

B. iv. C. xi. S. xiii.He is giving a catalogue of the Sea Gods; among the rest is Astraeus,

—that did shame
Himselfe with incest of his kin unkend.

[Page 74]Natalis Comes thus relates the story of Astraeus. ‘"Astraeus qui per inscitiam congressus cum Alcippe sorore, sequenti die cognita affinitate ex annulo, maerore captus se in fluvium praecipitavit, qui prius dictus est Astraeus ab ipso, &c."* Of these afterwards, S. 17.

But why doe I their names seeke to reherse,
Which all the world have with their issue fill'd?
How can they all in this so narrow verse
Contained be, &c.

Natalis Comes having finish'd his catalogue of these divinities, adds, Ut alios infinitos prope praetermittam; nam plures quàm octoginta me legisse memini. Spenser probably took his catalogue from this mythologist; I think he has given us no names (Albion excepted) but what are found in that author; and besides the account of Astraeus above-mention'd, we find Spen­ser's Euphemus copied from him.

And faire Euphemus that upon them goth,
As on the ground without dismay or dread.
S. 14.

N. Comes.— Euphemus—cui Munus dedit ut super undis tanquam super terrâ proficisceretur.

B. iv. C. xi. S. xix.
—So wise is Nereus old
And so well skill'd: nathlesse he takes great joy,
Oft-times among the wanton nymphes to sport and toy.

[Page 75] Of the justice and prophetical power of Nereus, Mr. Jortin has produc'd antient testimonies. This last part of his character may be illustrated from these lines in Orpheus,


Quinquaginta puellis laetate, in fluctibus,
Elegantibus choris, Nereu.
B. vi. C. x. S. 22.

Speaking of the Graces,

They are the daughters of sky-ruling Jove,
By him begot of faire Eurynome.

Milton, in his L'Allegro, represents the Graces as the offspring of Venus and Bacchus. This mytholo­gy (as an ingenious critic on that passage observes) without doubt suits the nature of Milton's subject bet­ter; but I can hardly think that such a liberty is al­lowable upon any occasion. The mention of Eury­nome, in this stanza of our author, puts me in mind of another passage in Milton, where this Goddess is likewise mention'd.

And fabled how the serpent whom they call'd
Ophion with Eurynome, the wide
Encroaching Eve perhaps, had first the rule
Of high Olympus, &c.*

[Page 76] Which, as the learned Dr. Newton and others ob­serve, is copied from these verses of Apollonius,


What I have to observe here, is, that Apollonius, as well as Milton, has hinted, that Ophion was of the serpent-race: which will appear from considering what goes before these lines.* Orpheus begins his [Page 77] song with the creation of things; after mentioning the sun and moon, mountains and rivers, he speaks of the creation of serpents.


Quemadmodum exorti sint Montes, & resonantes fluvii
Cum ipsis Nymphis, & quomodo omnia reptilia con­creverint.

[Page 78] And in the next line, from these EPITETA, or Ser­pents, he passes on to Ophion,

[...], &c.

Thus here is a close connection, and an easy transition in the context of Apollonius, which doth not appear at first sight.

As an instance of an imitation of Milton from A­pollonius has been just produced, I hope the reader [Page 79] will excuse my taking this opportunity of producing another. The English poet thus describes Adam's hair,

—Hyacinthin locks,
Round from his parted forelock manly hung

The circumstance of the hair hanging like bunches of grapes, has been justly admired; but it is literally [Page 80] translated, from this description of Apollo's hair, in the Greek poet.


Aurei ab utraque gena
Cincinni racemantes assultabant eunti.

The word [...] could hardly be render'd into English by any other word than by clustring.

B. vii. C. vi. S. iii.Spenser here makes Hecate the daughter of the Titans. Authors differ concerning the parents of Hecate; Orpheus calls her,


Tartari Filia Hecate.

[Page 81] The Titans were indeed thrown into Tartarus, but it could not be said, from thence, that the Titans were her parents; tho' this, I presume, was the best argument that our author had for his genealogy. In this stanza Bellona is likewise feigned to be the off­spring of the Titans; but Bellona was the sister of Mars, who was the son of Jupiter and Juno; or, as Ovid reports, of Juno alone.

A classical reader of the FAERIE QUEENE may dis­cover many other examples which properly belong to this Section; but those which are here omitted, he may find * collected with equal learning and sagacity, by one, whose excellent writings as a critic, are only surpass'd by those in which he has distinguish'd himself as a christian.

SECT. IV. Of Spenser's Stanza, Versification, and Language.

ALthough Spenser's favourite Chaucer had made use of the ottave Rime or Stanza of eight lines, yet it is most probable, that our author was induced to make choice of it (with the addition of one line) from the example of Tasso and Ariosto, who were the most fashionable poets of his age. But Spenser, in making this choice of his stanza, seems not suffi­ciently to have consider'd the genius of the English language, which will not easily admit of that more frequent repetition of the same termination, which [Page 82] this stanza requires; a circumstance not difficult in the Italian, which deals largely in identical cadences. This constraint led our author into many absurdities. For example,

  • I. It necessitated him to dilate the thing to be ex­prest, however unimportant, with trifling and insipid circumlocutions, viz.
    Now hath faire Phaebe with her silver face,
    Thrice seene the shadows of the nether world,
    Sith last I left that honorable place,
    In which her royal presence is enroll'd.
    2. 3. 44.
    That is, ‘"it is three months since I left her palace."’
  • II. It obliged him, when matter fail'd him to­wards the close of his Stanza, to run into a ridiculous redundancy and repetition of words, viz.
    In which was nothing pourtrahed nor wrought,
    Nor wrought, nor pourtrahed, but easie to be thought.
    2. 9. 33.
  • III. It forc'd him, in order to make out his com­plement of rhymes to introduce a puerile or imperti­nent idea, viz.
    Not that proud towre of Troy tho' richly GILT,
    2. 9. 45.
    In this line, being laid under a necessity of producing somewhat consonant to spilt and built, which went be­fore, [Page 83] he has given us an image at once little and im­proper. And to the difficulty of his stanza, I think we may impute the great number of his Ellipses, some of which will be pointed out in another place.

Notwithstanding these absurdities flow from Spen­ser's stanza, yet it must be own'd that some ad­vantages arise from it; and we may venture to affirm, that the fullness and significancy of Spenser's descrip­tions is often owing to the prolixity of his stanza, and the multitude of his rhymes. The discerning reader is desired to consider the following stanza as an instance of what is here advanced. Guyon is binding Furor.

With hundred iron chaines he did him bind
And hundred knots, which did him sore constraine;
Yet his great iron teeth he still did grind,
And grimly gnash, threatening revenge in vaine:
His burning eyen, whom bloudie strakes did staine,
Stared full wide, and threw forth sparkes of fire;
And more for ranke despight, than for great paine,
Shakt his long locks colour'd like copper wire,
And bit his tawny beard, to shew his raging ire.
2. 4. 15.

In this stanza there are some images which are, per­haps, the consequence of a multiplicity of rhymes.

He all that night, that too long night did passe,
And now the day out of the ocean-maine
[Page 84]Began to peep above this earthly masse,
With pearly dew sprinkling the morning grasse;
Then up he rose like heavy lump of leade,
That in his face, as in a looking glasse,
The signes of anguish one might plainely reade.
3. 5. 26.

Dryden, I think, somewhere remarks, that rhyme often helped him to a thought; an observation, which, probably, Spenser's experience had likewise supplied him with: Spenser, however, must have found more convenience, in this respect, from writing in rhyme, than Dryden, in proportion as the stanza of the for­mer obliged him to a more repeated use of it.

In speaking of Spenser's rhyme, it ought to be re­mark'd, that he often new-spells a word to make it rhyme more precisely. Take these specimens.

And of her own foule entrailes makes her meat,
Meat fit for such a monster's monsterous DIEAT.
6. 12. 31.

Timely to joy, and carry comely cheare
For tho' this clowd have now me overcast,
Yet do I not of better times DESPEARE.
5. 5. 38.

Tho' when the terme is full ACCOMPLISHID
Then shall a sparke of fire which hath long while,
Bene in his ashes raked up, and hid.
3. 3. 47.

Then all the rest into their coches CLIM,
[Page 85]And through, &c.
Upon great Neptune's necke they softly swim.
3. 4. 42.

—Mightily amate,
As fast as forward earst, now backward to RETRATE.
4. 3. 26.

Shall have that golden girdle for reward,
And of, &c.
Shall to the fairest lady be PREFAR'D.
4. 2. 27.

—Into the hardest stone,
Such as behind their backes, &c.
Were thrown by Pyrrha, and DEUCALIONE.
5. 8. 2.

and to be short, we meet with ycled for yclad, darre for dare, prejudize for prejudice, sam for same, lam for lamb, denay for deny, pervart for pervert, heare for hair, and numberless other instances of the orthography being destroyed for the rhyme-sake. This was a liberty which Chaucer, Gower, and Lyd­gate frequently made use of; and it may not be im­proper in this place to exhibit the sentiments of a * critic in Q. Elizabeth's age upon it. ‘"Now there cannot be in a maker a fowler fault than to falsifie his accent to serve his cadence; or by untrue orthography to wrench his words to help his rhyme; for it is a sign that such a maker is not copious is his own lan­guage".’—However he seems afterwards to allow the deviation from true spelling, in some measure. ‘"It [Page 86] is somewhat more tollerable to help the rhyme by false orthographie, than to leave an unpleasant dissonance to the eare, by keeping trewe orthographie and losing the rime; as for example, it is better to rime dore with restore, than in his true orthographie which is doore.—Such men were in effect the most part of all your old rimers, and 'specially Gower, who to make up his rime would for the most part write his termi­nant syllable with false orthographie; and many times not sticke to put in a plaine French word for an English; and so by your leave do many of our com­mon rymers at this day." We find in many passages of our author the orthography violated, when the rhyme without such an expedient would be very exact; thus BITE when made to rhyme with DELIGHT is some­times spelt BIGHT, as if the eye could be satisfy'd in this case as well as the ear. Instances of this sort oc­cur often in Harrington's Ariosto, and more particu­larly of the word said, which is often occasionally written SED. This practice was continued as far down as the age of Milton.

Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing SED.

Said is thus printed SED in the edition of 1645, that it might appear to rhyme, with greater propriety, to the preceding spread: later editors, not know­ing the fashion of writing said, upon some occasions, SED, alter'd it to fed, which utterly destroy'd the [Page 87] sense. The same spelling is met with again in the same edition, and for the same reason, in L'Allegro.

She was pincht and pull'd she SED,
And he by friars lantern led.

Hughes, not considering our author's custom of mis­spelling a word for the convenience of rhyme, makes him frequently guilty of some very bad rhymes; for that editor (among other examples of his correctness) has reduced Spenser's text to modern orthography with great accuracy.

It is indeed surprising, upon the whole, that our author should have been able to execute a poem of such a length as the FAERIE QUEENE with so much spirit, laden with so many shackles, and opprest with so grievous a BONDAGE OF RIMING. I do not re­member that he has been so inaccurate, as to make the same word rhyme to itself in more than four or five instances; a fault, which if he had committed very frequently, his many beauties of versification would have obliged us to overlook; and which Har­rington should more frequently have avoided, to compensate, in some measure, for the tameness and prosaic mediocrity of his numbers.

Notwithstanding our author's affectation * of obso­lete phrases and words, yet it may be affirm'd, that [Page 88] his style is, in general, perspicuous, flowing, and exuberant. His Pastorals are written in a profess'd imitation of the style of Chaucer, of which he has taken care to acquaint us, in the beginning of Colin Clouts Come Home Again.

The shepherd's boy best knowen by that name,
That after Tityrus first sung his lay.

And the tale of the Oak and Briar, in the Pastoral of Februarie, is more particularly modelled after Chau­cer's manner, and is accordingly usher'd in with this preparatory introduction.

—A Tale of Truth
Which I cond of Tityrus in my youth.

And in another Pastoral he hints at his having copied Chaucer.

That Colin hight which well could pipe and sing,
For he of Tityrus his songs did lere.

[Page 89] He even seems, in the Pastorals, to have attempt­ed an imitation of the visions * of Pierce Plow­man; [Page 90] for after exhorting his muse not to contend with Chaucer, he adds,

Nor with the Plowman that the pilgrim playde awhile.

[Page 91] And besides, that his Pastorals might appear a more complete specimen of a work in old English, he has given them the title of an old book called the SHEP­HEARD'S KALENDER, first printed by Wynkin a [Page 92] Worde, and reprinted about twenty years before our author published his Pastorals, viz. 1559. Hence, says E. K. in his Epistle prefix'd, ‘"He tearmeth it the SHEPHERD's KALENDER, applying an old name to a new work."’ One of Spenser's reasons for using so much antient phraseology in these Pastorals, was undoubtedly with a design to stamp a Doric, or rather rustic simplicity upon them; but the princi­pal one was that which is deliver'd by his friend and commentator, ‘"who was privie to all his designs",’ E. K. ‘"In myne opinion, says he, it is one especiall prayse of many which are due to this poet, that he hath labour'd to restore, as to their rightfull heri­tage, such good and naturall English words, as have been long time out of use, and almost cleane disherited; which is the onely cause that our mother-tongue, which truly of itselfe is both ful enough for prose, and stately enough for verse, hath long time beene counted most bare and barren of both; which default, when as some have endevored [Page 93] to salve and recure, they patched up the holes with peeces and ragges of other languages; borrowing here of the French, there of the Italian, and every where of the Latine; not weighing how ill those tongues accord with themselves, but much worse with ours; so now they have made our Englishe tongue a gallimaufrey, or hodge-podge of all other speeches."’ Thus that which induced Spenser to adopt so much obsolete language in the Pastorals, induced him likewise to do the same in the FAERIE QUEENE. Hence it is manifest, that he was disgusted with the practice of his cotemporary writers, who had adulterated, according to his judgement, the purity of the British tongue by various innovations from the Spanish, French, Latin, and Italian. And that this was the case in the age of Queen Elizabeth will appear from the following passages. Thus Marston in his satires.

I cannot quote a motte Italianate
Or brand my satires with a Spanish terme.*

And Camden having given us a specimen of the Lord's Prayer in old English has these words. ‘"Hitherto will our sparkfull youth laugh at their great grand-fathers English, who had more care to do well, than to speak minion-like; and left more glory to us by their exploiting great actes, than we shall by our forging new words, and un­couth phrases." A learned gentleman one [Page 94] R. C. who has inserted a letter to Camden in his re­mains, thus speaks. ‘"So have our Italian travellers brought us acquainted of their sweet-relished phrases; even we seeke to make our good of our late Spanish enemie, and fear as little the hurt of his tongue, as the dint of his sword."’ again, ‘"We within these sixty years have incorporated so many Latin and French words, as the third part of our tongue consisteth now in them."’ And Ascham in his Schole-Master informs us, that not only the language but the manners of Italy had totally infected his country-men, where he is describing the ITALIANIZ'D ENGLISHMAN.*

[Page 95]Our author's disapprobation of this practice may be made to appear more fully from his own words, [Page 96] where he hints that Chaucer's language (which he so closely copied) was the pure English.

4. 2. 32.

But tho' Spenser disapprov'd of this corrupt adul­teration of style, so fashionable in is age, yet we find [Page 97] him notwithstanding, frequently introducing words from a foreign tongue such, as, visnomie, amen­ance, [Page 98] arret, mespise, sovenance, afrap, aguise, a­menage, abase, and the like; but these words the frequent return of his rhyme obliged him to intro­duce, and accordingly they will generally be found at the end of his lines. Thus the poverty of our tongue (or rather the unfrequency of identical termi­nations in it) often compelled him for the sake of rhyme, to coin new English words, such as damni­fy'd, unmercify'd, wonderment, warriment, unruli­ment, habitaunce, hazardrie, &c. &c. To this cause his many latinisms may likewise be attributed, which, like the rest, are substituted to make out the necessary jingle.

The censure of B. Johnson, upon our author's style, is perhaps unreasonable, ‘"Spenser, in affecting the antients, writ no language."* The ground-work [Page 99] and substance of his style, is the language of the age in which he lived; this indeed is season'd with va­rious expressions deduced from a remote age, but in such a manner, that the language of his age was ra­ther strengthened and dignified, than debas'd or dis­guis'd by such a practice. In truth, the affectation of Spenser in this point, is by no means so striking and visible as Johnson has insinuated; nor is our author so obsolete in his style, as he is generally thought, or represented to be. For many stanzas together we may frequently read him with as much facility, as we can the same number of lines in Shake­spere. But tho' I cannot subscribe to the opinion of the last-quoted critic, concerning our author's recourse to the antients, yet I must confess, that the fol­lowing sentiments, relating to the same subject, are admirable. ‘"Words borrow'd of antiquity do lend a kind of majesty to style, and are not without their delight sometimes. For they have the autho­rity of yeares, and out of their intermission do lend a kind of grace-like newnesse. BUT THE ELDEST OF THE PRESENT, AND NEWNESSE OF THE PAST LANGUAGE IS THE BEST."

SECT. V. Of Spenser's Imitations from Chaucer.

IT has been before observ'd in general, that Spenser copied the language of Chaucer; it may with equal truth be affirm'd, that he has likewise in many pas­sages [Page 100] imitated the sentiment of Chaucer; and I shall now proceed to give some specimens of his imitati­on in both these particulars.

B. i. C. i. S. viii.
Much can they praise the trees so straight and hie,
The sayling pine, the cedar proud and tall,
The vine-prop elme, the poplar never dry,
The builder oake, sole king of forrests all,
The aspine good for staves, the cypresse funerall.
The Laurell, meed of mighty conquerours,
And poets sage; the firre that weepeth still,
The willow, worne of forlorne paramours,
The eugh, obedient to the benders will,
The birch for shafts, the sallow for the mill,
The myrrhe sweet-bleeding in the bitter wound,
The warlike beech, the ash for nothing ill,
The fruitfull olive, and the platane round,
The carver holme, the maple sildom inward sound.

*Ovid, Seneca, (*)Lucan, (†)Statius, and ††Claudian, have all left us a description of trees; [Page 101] but Spenser, in this before us, seems more imme­diately to have had his favourite Chaucer in his eye; he has, however, much improv'd upon the brevity and simplicity of our antient bard.

The bilder oke, and eke the hardie asshe,
The piller elme, the coffir unto caraine,
The boxe pipe-tree, holme to whips lasshe,
The sailing firre, the cipres death to plaine,
The shooter ewe, the aspe for shaftes plaine,
The olive of peace, and eke the dronken vine
The victor palme, the laurer to divine.

In Chaucer's Complaint of the blacke knight, we meet with another description of trees, from which Spenser seems also to have drawn one or two circumstances.

The mirre also that wepith ever' of kinde
The cedris hie, as upright as a line.*

Spenser, perhaps, in having given us this minute and particular enumeration of various trees, has incurred a smaller share of censure than some of the Roman authors mentioned above. In some of them, indeed, such a description will be found superfluous and im­pertinent; but, upon this occasion, it is highly con­sistent, and, indeed, expedient, that the poet should dwell, for some time, on the beauty of this grove, in describing its variety of trees, as that circumstance tends to draw the red-cross knight and his compa­nion farther and farther into the shade, 'till at length [Page 102] they are imperceptibly invited to the cave of error, which stood in the thickest part of it: in short, this description is so far from being puerile, or ill-placed, that it serves to improve, and help out the allegory. But notwithstanding this may be affirm'd, in com­mendation of Spenser, yet I am apt to think, that the impropriety of introducing such a description, would not have appear'd a sufficient reason to our poet, why he should not have admitted it; for his judgment was so greatly overwhelm'd by his imagination, that he could never neglect the opportunity of a good de­scription, whenever it presented itself. The reader will excuse my producing another passage from Chaucer, in which he ridicules, with no less humour than judg­ment, the particular detail of trees, and of the circum­stances which follow'd upon their being fell'd, given us by one of the above-mention'd antient poets. He is speaking of Arcite's funeral.

But how the fire was maken up on height,
And eke the names, how all the trees hight,
As oke, firre, beech, aspe, elder, elme, popelere,
Willow, holme, plane, boxe, chesten, and laurere,
Maple, thorne, beech, ewe, hasell, whipultree,
How they were feld, shall not be told for me:
Ne how the gods runnen up and down,
Disherited of her habitatioun,
In which they wonned in rest and pees,
Nymphes, Faunies, Amadriades.
Ne how the beasts, ne how the birds all
Fledden for feare, when the trees was fall.
[Page 103]Ne how the groun agast was of the light,
That was not wont to see the sonne bright;
Ne how the fire, &c.

B. i. C. xii. S. xiv.The poet is speaking of the magnificent feasting, af­ter the red-crosse knight had conquer'd the dragon.

What needs me tell their feast, and goodly guise,
In which was nothing riotous, nor vaine?
What needs of dainty dishes to devise,
Of comely services, or courtly traine?
My narrow leaves cannot in them containe,
The large discourse of royal princes state.

To this I shall beg leave to subjoin another passage of the same kind; in which he is describing the wedding of Florimel.

To tell the glory of the feast that day,
The goodly service, the devisefull sights,
The bridegroomes state, the brides most rich aray,
The pride of ladies, and the worth of knights,
The royall banquetts, and the rare delights,
Were worke fit for an herauld, not for me.
5. 3. 3.

After this indirect and comprehensive manner, Chau­cer expresses the pomp of Cambuscan's feast.

[Page 104]
Of which shall I tell all the array,
Then would it occupie a sommer's day;
And eke it needeth not to devise
At every course the order of service.
I wol not tellen as now, of her strange sewes,
Ne of her swans, ne of her heronsewes.
Eke in that lond, as tellen knights old,
There is some meat that is fully dainty hold,
That in this lond men retch of it but small:
There is no man that may reporten all.*

Thus also when lady Custance is married to the Sow­dan of Surrie.

What shuld I tellen of the rialte
Of that wedding? or which course goth beforn?
Who blowith in a trompe, or in a horne?

In these passages it is very evident, that Chaucer in­tended a burlesque upon the tedious and elaborate de­scriptions of such unimportant circumstances, to be met with in books of chivalry. In the last verse the burlesque is very strong. B. i. C. xii. S. xxiv. He is speaking of a grand assembly, which is held in the hall of the palace of Una's father.

[Page 105]
With flying speed, and seeming great pretence,
Came running in, much like a man dismaid,
A messenger with letters, which his message said.
All in the open hall amazed stood,
At suddennesse of that unwarie sight,
And wondred at his breathlesse hastie mood;
But he for nought would stay his passage right,
Till fast before the king he did alight,
Where falling flat, great humblesse he did make,
And kist the ground whereon his foot was pight.

He seems to have copied this surprise, occasion'd in the hall by the sudden and unexpected entrance of this messenger, (together with some of the attending circumstances) from a similar but more noble surprise in Chaucer, which happen'd at Cambuscan's annual birth-day festival.

And so befell, that aftir the third course,
While that the king sat thus in his noblay,
Herk'ning his minstrelis their thingis play,
Beforn him at his bord deliciously;
In at the halle dore full sodeinly
There came a knight upon a stede of brass;
And in his hond, &c. &c.
* * * * * * * * * * *
And up he rideth to the hie bord;
In all the hall ne was there spoke a word,
[Page 106]For marveile of this knight, him to behold
Full besily they waiten yong, and old.
This straunge knight, &c.
* * * * * * *
Salved the king and quene, and lordis all,
By ordir, as they sittin in the hall,
With so hie reverence and obeisaunce
As well in speche, as in countinaunce,
That, &c. &c.
* * * *
And aftir this, beforn the hie bord,
He with a manly voice saide his message.*

B. ii. C. xii. S. li.
Thereto the heavens alwaies joviall
Lookt on them lovely, still in stedfast state,
Ne suffred storme, nor frost on them to fall,
Their tender buds or leaves to violate,
Nor scorching heat, nor cold intemperate,
T' afflict the creatures which therein did dwell;
But the milde aire with season moderate,
Gently attempred and dispos'd so well,
That still it breathed forth sweet spirit, and holesome smell.

Chaucer in the Assemble of fowles.

The air of the place so attempre was,
That never was ther grevance of hot ne cold,
[Page 107]There was eke every holesome spice and gras,
Ne no man may there waxe sicke ne olde.(†)

As a proof of this imitation, it may be observ'd, that Spenser has not only here borrow'd some of Chaucer's thoughts, but some of his words. He might, never­theless, have some passages from the classics in his eye, cited by Mr. Jortin.*

B. iii. C. ii. S. xix.The poet, among other rare qualities of Merlin's wondrous mirrour, mentions the following,

Whatever foe had wrought, or friend had fayn'd
Therein discovered was—

And afterwards, St. 21.

Such was the glassie globe that Merlin made,
And gave unto king Ryence for his guard,
That never foes his kingdom might invade,
But he it knew at home, before he hard
Tidings thereof, and so them still debard.
It was a famous present for a prince,
And worthy worke of infinite reward,
That treasons could bewray, and foes convince.

[Page 108] From whence it is plain, that Spenser drew the idea of this mirrour, from that which is presented by the strange knight to Cambuscan, in Chaucer.

This mirror eke, which I have in my hond,
Hath soche a might, that men may in it se
Whan there shall fall any adversite
Unto your reigne, or to yourself also,
And opin se who is your frend or fo.
And ovir all, if any lady bright
Hath set her hert on any manir wight,
If he be false she shall the tresoun se,
His newe love, and all his subtilte,
So opinly, that there shall nothing hide.*

Spenser likewise feigns, that his mirror was of service in the purposes of love, and as such it is consulted by Britomartis, but upon an occasion different from that which is here mention'd by Chaucer. She looks in it to discover, who was destin'd to be her husband.

Whom fortune for her husband would allott.
St. 23.

As the uses of this mirror were of so important a na­ture, Spenser ought not to have first mention'd it to us by that light appellation, Venus' looking glass; where he is speaking of Britomart's love for Arthegall,

Whose image she had seen in Venus' looking-glass.
3. 1. 8.

[Page 109]
B. iii. C. ix. S. xxviii.
She sent at him one firie dart, whose hed
Empoysned was with privie lust, and jelous dred.
Hee from that deadly throwe made no defence,
But to the wound his weake heart opened wide,
The wicked engine thro' false influence
Past through his eyes, and secretly did glyde,
Into his hart, which it did sorely gryde.

Which seem to resemble these of Chaucer. He is speaking of Cupid.

He took an arrow full sharpely whet,
And in his bowe when it was sett,
He streight up to his eare drough
The strong bowe that was so tough,
And shot at me so wonder smert,
That through mine eye unto mine hert
The takell smote, and deepe it went.*

The thought of the heart being wounded thro' the eye occurs again in Chaucer.

So that this arrow anone right
Throughout eye, as it was found,
Into mine hert hath made a wound.

[Page 110] Thus also Palamon speaks, after he had seen Emely.

But I was hurt right now through mine eie
Into mine hert.—

The thought likewise occurrs again, in our poet's Hymne in honour of Beautie.

Hath white and red in it such wondrous powre
That it can pierce through th' eyes unto the hart?

B. iv. C. ii. S. xxxii.
Whylome, as antique stories tellen us,
Those two, &c.
* * * * * *
Though now their acts be no where to be found,
As that renowned poet them compiled,
With warlike numbers, and heroick sound,
Dan Chaucer, well of English undefiled,
On fame's eternall bead-roll worthy to be filed.

The Squiers tale of Chaucer being imperfect, * our poet thus introduces his story of the battle of the three brethren for Canace; which he builds upon the fol­lowing hint of Chaucer.

[Page 111]
And after woll I speke of Camballo,
That fought in listis with the brethren two,
For Canace, er that they might her winn.

But with these lines the story breaks off.

Mr. Upton * calls this addition of Spenser to Chaucer's fragment a completion of the squier's tale; but it is certainly nothing more than a completion of one part or division of Chaucer's poem; for, besides what Chaucer propos'd to speak of in the verses above-quoted concerning the contest for Canace, he intended likewise to tell us,

How that this Falcon got her love againe
Repentant, as the story tellith us,
By mediation of Camballus.


First woll I tell you of king Cambuscan
That in his time many a cite wan,
How that he wan Thedora to his wife;
And after woll I speke of Algarsife,
For whom full oft in grete peril he was,
Ne had ben holpin, but by th' hors of bras.(*)

It is no less amusing to the imagination to bewilder itself in various conjectures concerning the expedients [Page 112] by which the particular events here hinted at were se­verally brought about, and to wander into a romantic disquisition concerning the miracles wrought by the means of this wonderful steed, than it is matter of concern, to reflect, that Chaucer's description of them is utterly lost; especially as we may reasonably con­clude, from the remaining parts of this tale, that those which are perish'd, must have discover'd no less striking efforts of the imagination. It appears, that Milton was particularly fond of this poem, and that he was not a little desirous of knowing the end of a story which promis'd so many beauties; in his Il Pen­seroso, he invokes Melancholy to

—call up HIM that left HALF-TOLD
The story of Cambuscan bold.

But for what reason are we to suppose that he desir'd him to be CALL'D UP? Was it not for this reason, that he might tell that part of the HALF-TOLD tale which re­main'd untold? as before he requests that Orpheus might be rais'd, to sing

Such notes, as warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,*

so he does not desire that Chaucer should be called up for nothing; but that this author of the imperfect tale of Cambuscan should likewise tell

[Page 113]
Of Camball and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride—

circumstances and events, which are not in the half-told story which Chaucer hath left us, but which are only propos'd to be told in the verses above cited, and are the subject of the sequel.*

[Page 114]I cannot omit this opportunity of lamenting, with equal regret, the loss of great part of a noble old Scottish poem, entitled, HARDYKNUTE; which exhibits a striking representation of our antient mar­tial manners, that prevail'd before the conveniency and civilities of refin'd life had yet render'd all men fashionably uniform; and lull'd them into that tran­quill security, which naturally excludes all those ha­zardous incidents, and glorious dangers, so suitable to the character and genius of the heroic muse.

B. iv. C. ii. S. xxxiii.
But wicked Time, that all good thoughts doth waste,
And workes of noblest wits to nought out­weare,
[Page 115]That famous moniment has quite defac'd;
* * * * * * * * * *
O cursed Elde! the canker-worme of writs;
How may these rimes (so rude, as doth appear)
Hope to endure, sith workes of heavenly wits
Are quite devour'd, and brought to nought by little bits!

Thus Chaucer.

This old storie in latine, which I finde
Of queen Annelida, and false Arcite,
That Elde, which all thingis can frete and bite,
(And it hath freten many a noble storie)
Hath nigh devourid out of her memorie.

B. vi. C. ix. S. v.
He chaunc't to spy a sort of shepheard groomes
Playing on pipes, and caroling apace,
The whiles their beasts, there in the budded broomes,
Beside them fed—

These verses are a distant imitation of Chaucer. They are more immediately an imitation of himself in the Eclogues.

So loytering live you little-heard-groomes
Keeping your beasts in the budded broomes:
* * * * * * * * * *
And crowing in pipes made of grene corne.*

[Page 116] which are apparently an immediate imitation of these in Chaucer.

And many a floite, and litlyng horne,
And pipis made of grene corne,
As have these little herdegromes,
That kepin bestis in the bromes.

The word heard-groomes occurs again,

—That they were poore heard-groomes.
6. 11. 39.

B. vii. C. vii. S. v.
Then forth issew'd (great goddesse) dame NATURE,
With goodly port, and gracious majesty,
Being far greater, and more tall of stature
Than any of the gods, or powers on hie.

Afterwards, speaking of her face. St. 6.

—It so beauteous was,
And round about such beames of splendor threw,
That it the sunne a thousand times did pass,
Ne could be seene, but like an image in a glass.
That well may seemen true: for well I weene
That this same day, when she on Arlo sat,
Her garment was so bright, and wondrous sheene,
[Page 117]That my fraile wit cannot devize to what
It to compare, &c.
In a fair plaine, upon an equall hill,
She placed was in a pavilion;
Not such as craftes-men by their idle skill,
Are wont for princes state to fashion;
But th' earth herself of her owne motion,
Out of her fruitfull bosome made to grow
Most dainty trees, that shooting up anon
Did seem to bowe their blos'ming heads full lowe
Fit homage unto her, and like a throne did shew.
So hard it is for any living wight,
All her array, and vestiments to tell
That old Dan Geffrey (in whose gentle spirght
The pure well-head of poesie did dwell)
In his fowles parley durst not with it mel,
But it transfer'd to Alane, who, he thought,
Had in his plaint of kindes describ'd it well.

The last-quoted stanza is no obscure hint, that our poet had been consulting Chaucer's Assembly of fowles for this description of NATURE. But Spenser has given many new and delicate touches to Chaucer's rough sketch, as will appear upon comparison.

Tho was I ware, where there ysate a quene,
That as of light the sommer sonne shene
[Page 118]Passith the sterre, right so ovir mesure,
She fairir was than any other creture.
And in a launde, upon a hill of floures,
Was set this quene, this noble goddesse NATURE,
Of braunchis were her hallis and her boures,
I wrought aftir her craft and her mesure.
* * * * * * * * * *
And right as Alaine in the plaint of kinde
Deviseth Nature of soche araie and face,
In such araie men mightin her there finde.*

B. xvii. C. viii. S. xlvi.
But Life was like a faire young lusty boy,
Such as they faine Dan Cupid to have beene,
Full of delightfull health, and lively joy,
Deckt all with flowres, and wings of gold fit to employ.

Chaucer thus represents Cupid.

But of his robe to devise
I dreade encombred for to be;
For not yclad in silke was he
But all in floures, and flourettes.

But the antients have left us no authority for such a representation of Cupid. Our author, St. 34. above, gives him a green vest.

And Cupid-selfe about her fluttred all in greene.

[Page 119] Which is equally unwarrantable. Though Catullus has given him a yellow vest.

Quam circumcursans huc illuc saepe Cupido,
Fulgebat CROCINA candidus in tunica. *

Where Scaliger remarks, that Sappho attributes a purple vest to this deity.

B. vii. C. viii. S. xl.
Next was November; he full grosse and fat,
As fed with lard, and that right well might seeme,
For he had been a satting hogs of late.
* * * * * * * * *
And after him came next the chill December;
Yet he thro' merry feasting which he made,
And great bonfires, did not the cold remember,
His Saviour's birth his mind so much did glad.
* * * * * * * * * *
And in his hand a broad deepe boawle he beares,
Of which he freely drinks an health to all his peeres.

In describing these figures, Spenser seems to have re­member'd some circumstances in Chaucer's picture of Janus, or January.

Janus sit by the fire with double berde,
And drinketh of his bugle horne the wine;
[Page 120]Before him stant brawn of the tuskid swine,
And (†) nowil singeth every lustie man.††

I shall now lay before the reader some instances of phrases and words, which Spenser has adopted from Chaucer.

B. i. Introduction, St. iii.
—With you bring triumphant MART.

We have no reason to imagine, that Spenser here arbitrarily uses Mart instead of Mars, for the conve­nience of rhyme, since he had the authority of Chau­cer for it.

All esily now for the love of MARTE.


O cruil god of deth, dispiteous MARTE.*

We find it likewise in other places. Chaucer some­times uses MART for war.

B. i. C. i. S. xxxiv.
And well could FILE his tongue as smooth as glass.

So Chaucer.

For wele he wiste when the song was songe,
He must preche, and well AFILE his tonge.**


This Pandarus gan new his tong AFILE.(*)

[Page 121] The same metaphor occurrs more than once again in our author.

His practick wit, and his fair FILED tongue.
2. 1. 3.

—However, Sir, ye FILE
Your courteous tongue, his praises to compile.
3. 2. 12.

B. i. C. iv. S. xl.
Redoubted battaile ready to DARRAINE.

Darraine is often used by Chaucer.

The everich should an hundred knights bring
The battle to DARRAIN.

Full privily two harneis had he dight
Both sufficient and mete to DARRAINE
The battail in the field, betwixt them twaine.*

The word seems to be de deriv'd from the French ar­ranger; so that to darraine battle is, to set the battle in array. Our poet has used arrang'd (from arranger) and applied it to battle more than once.

So both to battel fierce ARRANGED are.
1. 2. 36.

—ARRANG'D in battle new.
1. 6. 38.

Chaucer, in another place, uses darraine in a sense not agreeable to its genuine signification.

[Page 122]
Everich of you shall bring an hundred knights
* * * * * * * * * *
Alredy to DARRAIN here by battaile.

Where it should imply, TO DETERMINE. This word being a Chaucerism, our author has very remarkably affected the use of it, viz.

—sad battaile to DARRAINE.
1. 7. 11.

A triple warre.—
2. 2. 26.

—six knights that did DARRAINE
Fierce battaile against one.—
3. 1. 20.

—new battaile to DARRAINE.
4. 4. 26.

—new battaile to DARRAINE.
4. 5. 24.

And dreadfull battle 'twixt them do DARRAINE.
5. 2. 15.

In which they two the combat might DARRAINE.
6. 12. 9.

—Those giants, which did warre DARRAINE
Against the heavens.—
6. 7. 41.

We have here an instance in which the word is used in a more vague sense,

[Page 123]
—How best he mote DARRAINE
That enterprize.—
4. 9. 4.

But we are told, in the glossary to Chaucer, (Urry's edit.) that this word, among other senses, signifies, to dare, to attempt. Thus, by a gradual detortion, and by an imperceptible progression from one kindred sense to another, a word, at length, attains a meaning en­tirely foreign to its original etymology.

Spenser's frequent use of DARRAINE seems to have somewhat familiaris'd it in Queen Elizabeth's age. We meet with it in Shakespere, who probably drew it from our author.

DARRAIGN your battle; they are near at hand.*

B. i. C. vii. S. xxix.
His GLITTERAND armor shined far away.

Spenser thus affectedly spells the participle glittering, in imitation of Chaucer. So in the Plowman's tale,

That high on horse willeth ride
In GLITTERANDE gold, of great array

And in the same poem.

With GLITTERANDE gold as grene as gall.(†)

[Page 124] Glitterand is very frequently used by our author.

Soone as those GLITTERAND armes he did espy.
2. 7. 42.

Eftsoones himselfe in GLITTERANDE arms he dight.
2. 11. 17.

Her glorious GLITTERAND light doth all mens eyes amaze.
1. 4. 16.

We meet with it likewise in the Eclogues.

Ygirt with bells of GLITTERAND GOLD.

Many of Chaucer's active participles are thus termi­nated, viz. sittande, smertande, laughande, &c. for sitting, smarting, laughing. We meet with this ter­mination of the active participle very frequently in the antient Scotch poets.

B. i. C. vii. S. xiv.
—Doe him not to die.


—& doen to die
These losengeours, with her flatterie.*

The instances of this expression are innumerable, both in Chaucer, and in our author.

B. ii. C. ii. S. xxii.
And suffred not their blowes to BITE him nere.

[Page 125] That is, to pierce him to the quick. The word is frequently used, in the sense, to pierce or wound, in Chaucer.

Ne short sword to stick with point BITING
No man ne draw.—*

And made his sword deep in his flesh YBITE.

The jealous strokes on their helmes BITE.(*)

Speaking of a sword, afterwards,

Throughout his armure it will kerve and BITE.


But in his sleve he gan to thring
A rasour sharpe and well-BITING.(†)

Nor are instances of this word less frequent in Spenser, viz.

The cruell steele so greedily doth BITE
In tender flesh—
1. 5. 9.

His BYTING sword, and his devouring speare.
1. 7. 48.

That first did teach the cursed steele to BITE
In his own flesh—
2. 6. 32.

The pointed steele—
His harder hide would neither pearce nor BITE.
1. 11. 16.

[Page 126]
—The sharpe steele arriving forcibly
On his broad shield, BIT not—
2. 5. 4.

A stroke,

And glauncing downe, would not his owner BITE.
2. 8. 38.

And pearced to the skin, but BIT not more.
2. 8. 44.

A dart,

And had not powre in his soft flesh to BITE.
3. 5. 19.

Till on her horses hinder parts it fell,
Where BITING deep, so deadly it imprest.
4. 6. 13.

That glauncing on her shoulder-plate it BIT
Unto the bone.—
5. 7. 33.

But BYTING deepe therein.—
6. 12. 21.

i. e. into his shield.

The tempred steele did not into his braine-pan BITE.
6. 6. 30.

And we find another instance of biting near, for piercing to the quick:

Much was the lady in her gentle mind
Abasht at his rebuke, that BIT her neare.
6. 11. 64.

[Page 127] And in this manner we find it used by Shakespere,

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not BITE SO NIGH
As benefits forgot.(†)

B. ii. C. iv. S. xxiv.
Saying, he now had boulted all the floure.

That is, he had search'd the matter to the bottom. This form is founded upon an old proverb in Chau­cer,

But I ne cannot boult it to the brenne
As can that holy doctour Saint Austen.

B. ii. C. vi. S. xliii.
HARROW now out, and weal-away, he cryde:

So Chaucer,

And gan to cry HARROW and weal-away. *

HARO is a form of exclamation antiently used in Normandy, to call for help, or to raise the Hue and Cry.(*) We find it again in our author,

HARROW the flames which me consume,—
2. 6. 49.


—HARROW, and weal-away!
After so wicked deed, &c.—
2. 8. 46.

[Page 128] It occurs often in Chaucer, and is, I think, always used as an exclamation of GRIEF; but there are some passages in an old MYSTERY printed at Paris, 1541, where it is applied as a term of ALARM, according to its original usage. Lucifer is introduced summoning the devils.

Dyables meschans, &c.
* * * *
Viendrez vous point a mes cris, & aboys,
* * * * * * *
HARO, HARO, nul de vous je ne veoys?

And in another place, where he particularly addresses Belial.

HARO, HARO, approche toy grant Dyable,
Approche toy notayre mal fiable,
Fier Belial, &c.

It is observable, that the permission of the CLAMEUR DE HARO is to this day specified, amongst that of other officers, in the instrument of Licence prefix'd to books printed in France.

B. iii. C. i. S. lxiv.
To stir up strife, and troublous CONTECK broche.

Spenser here, when he might have used contest, chuses rather Chaucer's obsolete term CONTECK. Thus in the Knight's tale,

CONTEKE with bloody knyves, and shape menace.

[Page 129] Again,

Of CONTEKE, and of whelpis gret and light.

Our poet had us'd it before in the Eclogues.

But kindle coales of CONTECKE and ire,
Wherewith they sett all the world on fire.*

B. iii. C. ii. S. v.
—Like a PYNED ghost—

So likewise,

That like a PYNED ghost he soon appears.
4. 7. 41.

We find FORPYNED ghost in Chaucer, which is the same as PYNED ghost.

He was not pale as a FORPYNED ghost.(*)

B. iii. C. vi. S. vi.
But wondrously they were begott and bred,
Through influence of th' heavens chearfull ray;
As it in antique books is mentioned.

These introductions give authority to a fictitious story. Thus the tale of Canace is usher'd in,

Whylom as antique stories tellen us.

And in another place he refers to history for a sanc­tion to his invention,

[Page 130]
As ye may else-where read that ruefull history.
3. 6. 53.

Chaucer frequently makes use of these forms. He thus begins the Knight's tale.

Whylom as olde storis tellin us.

And again, in the same tale.

—As old books us saine,
That all this storie tellen more plaine.*

And afterwards,

—As men may behold
In Stace of Thebes, and these bookes old.

B. i. C. vii. S. xlvii.
—The mighty OLLYPHANT that wrought
Great wreake to many errant knights of yore.

The giant OLLYPHANT here mentioned, is probably that which Sir Thopas meets, in his expedition to the land of Fairy.

Till him there came a great giaunt,
His name was called Sir OLIPHAUNT.(*)

B. iii. C. vii. S. lvii.
Because I could not give her many a JANE.

So Chaucer.

[Page 131]
Of Bruges were his hosin broun,
His robe was of Chekelatoun,
That cost many a JANE.(†)

Many a jane, that is, much money. Skinner in­forms us, that JANE is a coin of Genoa; and Speght Gl. to Chaucer, interprets JANE, half-pence of Janua, or galy half-pence. Chaucer sometimes uses it as a coin of little value. As,

—Dere ynough, a JANE.*

And in other places.

B. iii. C. ix. S. iii.
Then listen lordinges—

Chaucer often applies this introductory form in his Canterbury tales. Thus too the old poem of Sir Be­vis of South-hampton begins.

Listen lordinges, and hold you still,
Of doughty men, tell you I will.

B. iii. C. ix. S. 20.
Her golden lockes, that were in tramels gay
Up-bounden, did themselves adoune display,
And raught unto her heeles.—

So Chaucer.

[Page 132]
Her tresses yellow, and long straughten
Unto her heeles downe they raughten.*

And in the same poem,

Her haire downe to her heeles went.

Our author again expresses himself in the same man­ner, speaking of a robe.

—When she list, it raught
Down to her lowest heele.—
5. 5. 2.


—Her golden lockes that were upbound
Still in a knott, unto her heeles downe traced.
4. 1. 13.

This mention of golden hair puts me in mind of a correction which Mr. Upton has made in the follow­ing verse of Chaucer.

Her GILDED heris with a GOLDEN thread
Iboundin were.(*)

Mr. (†) Upton thinks that here is a transposition oc­casion'd by the transcriber's haste, and that we should apply gilded to threde, and goldin to heris, viz.

[Page 133]
Her goldin heris with a gilded threde
Iboundin were—

The alteration appears at first sight to be very just; But it is perhaps unnecessary if we consider that gilte or gilded, is often us'd by Chaucer, and applied to hair. Thus,

His GILT here was ycrounid with a son.*

And in the same poem,

Hide Absolon thy GILTE tressis clere.

We have here gildid hair,

Dischevilid with her bright GILDID here.(**)

B. iii. C. ix. S. xxxi.
—Thus was the ape
By their faire handling put into Malbecco's cape.

A proverb from Chaucer.

This cursed Chanon put in his hode an ape.(††)


The Monke put in the marchants hode an ape.(†)

[Page 134]
B. iii. C. x. S. xix.
To seek her ENDLONG both by sea and land.

I do not rembmber that endlong occurs in any poet before Spenser, Chaucer excepted; nor in any of Spenser's contemporaries; so that probably our author drew it from his favorite bard, viz.

—The reed blood
Ran ENDLONG the tree.


Loke what Daye that ENDLONG to Britaine
Ye remeve all the rockis stone by stone.(**)

And in other places. Mr. Pope has reviv'd this word with great propriety.

B. iii. C. x. S. xxxi.
Bigge looking, like a doughty DOUZEPERE.

In the glossary to Urry's Chaucer we are told that doseperis is from the French les douze pairs; the twelve peers of France. Some legendary governors of Rome are so called in allusion to those of France, in these lines of the Merchant's second tale, or the History of Beryn,

[Page 135]
When it [Rome] was governed by the DOSEPERIS.††

And below,

Then Constantyne the third after these DOSIPERIS.*

It may be doubted whether or no our author borrow'd this word DOUZEPERE from Chaucer; for Chaucer's tale in which the word occurrs was first printed by Mr. Urry, who informs us that he could meet with only one MSS. copy of it.

B. iii. C. xii. S. xi.
With him went DANGER.—

Spenser seems to have personified danger after the ex­ample of Chaucer, who has made him a very signifi­cant character in the Romaunt of the rose; but I do not remember that any circumstances in Spenser's description of him are borrow'd from thence. He is again introduc'd as the guardian of the gate of good desert in the temple of Venus, 4. 10. 18. and after­wards, as an advocate for Duessa, 5. 9. 45.

B. iv. C. i. S. xxxii.
His name was BLANDAMOUR.—

There was an old romance which celebrated the atchievments of Blandamour; which Spenser might have seen. If not, he probably drew the name from this hint of Chaucer,

[Page 136]
Men speken of romances of pris,
Of Horne-child, and of Ipotis,
Of Bevis, and Sir Gie,
Of Sir Libeaux, and BLANDAMOURE.*

B. iv. C. iv. S. xxiii.
—Fiercely forth he rode,
Like sparke of fire, that from the anvil GLODE.

The compiler of the Glossary to Spenser informs us, that GLODE signifies glanc'd, or that it is written, by poetical licence, for glowed. As to the latter of these explanations, I do not think, that glow had acquired so vague a sense in our author's age; and where is the authority for the former? Spenser un­doubtedly borrow'd it from the following passage of Chaucer.

His good steede he bestrode
And forth upon his way GLODE
As sparke out of the bronde.

Our author has here plainly borrow'd the thought, as well as the particular word in question, which, however, he has differently applied. May not GLODE be the preter-imperfect tense of glide?

B. v. C. i. S. xxv.
—This doubtfull causes right
Can hardly but by sacrament be tride,
Or else by Ordele.—(†)

[Page 137] So Chaucer,

Where so you list by Ordal, or by othe.*

B. vi. C. vi. S. xii.
'Gainst all both good and bad, both MOST and LEAST.

MOST here signifies greatest; and in the following instances; as, MORE implies greater.

I do possesse the world's MOST regiment.
7. 7. 17.

That is, I am possest of the greatest sway over the world.

—All other weapons lesse or MORE,
Which warlike uses had devis'd of yore,
5. 8. 34.

For ere thou limit what is lesse or MORE.
5. 2. 34.

In Sonnet 20.

In his MOST pride disdaineth, &c.


What tho' the sea with waves continuall
Doe eat the earth, it is no MORE at all,
Ne is the earth the lesse.
5. 2. 39.

In Sonnet 55.

Thus for to be the world's MOST ornament.

This is the language of Chaucer; viz.

I saie, that she ne had not MOST fairenesse.

[Page 138] That is, I do not affirm that she had the greatest share of beauty.

The grete geftes also to the MOST and LESTE.*


From Boloigne is the erle of Pavie come,
Of which the fame yspronge to MOST and LESTE.

Thus we have also MORE or LESS for greater and smaller.

—The goddesse
Both of the see, and rivers MORE and LESSE.(†)

Thus also MUCH or LITE is great and small.

But he ne left, neither for raine ne thonder,
In sikeness, ne in mischief to visite
The farthist in his parish MUCH or lite.(*)

And to this day MUCH is prefix'd to some villages in England, as a mark of greatness. The ingenious au­thor of Miscellaneous Observations on Macbeth, re­marks, that in the interpolated Mandeville, a book printed in the age of queen Elizabeth, there is a chap­ter of India THE MORE AND THE LESS, note 43.

I had almost past over some of the subsequent in­stances.

B. ii. C. 6. S. xxix.
That a large purple streame adowne their GIAMBEUX falls.

[Page 139] He probably drew GIAMBEUX, i. e. boots, from this passage in the Rime of Sir Thopas.

His JAMBEUX were of cure buly.(†)

B. vi. C. vii. S. xliii.
But in a jacket quilted richly rare
Upon CHECKLATON, he was strangely dight.

Checklaton likewise occurs in the last-mention'd poem of Chaucer.

His robe was of CHEKELATOUN.

Speght * interprets this word, a stuff of checkerwork made of cloth of gold; and Skinner, a stuff like motley.

To PRICK is very frequently used by Spenser, as well as by Chaucer, for, to ride; as is MANY for re­tinue, multitude, or company. Dryden, in his in­imitable Music-ode, has thus used MANY.

The MANY rend the skies with loud applause.

Many also is to be found in this sense in Harrington and Shakespere.

It should not be omitted, that LAD for led, often occurs in Chaucer, as it does likewise in Spenser, viz. a milk-white lamb she LAD. 1. 1. 4 whom they LAD. 2. 12. 84. a wretched life they LAD. 3. 12. 16. life which afterwards he LAD. 4. 8. 2. to their purpose [Page 140] LAD. 5. 12. 37. The virgin LAD. 4. 12. 33. he him LAD. 5. 1. 22. away was LAD. 6. 10. 39.

Our author seems to have used, never none, for, there never was one, from an affectation of Chaucer's manner; altho' it must be confess'd, that most of our old English writers frequently join two negatives, when no affirmation is intended. Hickes, after ob­serving, that a negation is often express'd in the Anglo-Saxonic by two negatives, has these words,— Editor Chauceri nihil antiqui sapiens, dicit * ipsum imi­tatum fuisse Graecos in vehementius negando per DUO NEGATIVA; tametsi Chaucerus (Literarum Graecarum ignarus) more sui temporis, in quo Saxonismus non peni­cus exoleverat, DUOBUS NEGATIVIS est usus .’ After which he produces some instances in the Saxon, where not only two, but three, and four negatives are put together, with a negative signification.

It is not pretended, that all the obsolete words and phrases, to be met in our author, are here set down, [Page 141] but those only which carry with them a more certain and undoubted evidence of their being immediately derived from Chaucer. Thus here are several old old words unnoticed, which appear likewise in Chau­cer; but which are no more the property of him, than they are of Lidgate, of Gower, and of the au­thor of Piers Plowman; so that it would be difficult in some cases to ascertain and mark out the particular source from which our author drew; however it is manifest that he had the most frequent recourse to, and drew the largest draughts from Chaucer,

—The well of English undefilde.

I cannot dismiss this section without a wish, that this neglected author whom Spenser proposed in some mea­sure, as the pattern of his language, and to whom he is not a little indebted for many noble strokes of poetry should be more universally and attentively studied. Chau­cer seems to be regarded rather as an old poet, than as a good one, and that he wrote English verses four hundred years ago seems more frequently to be urged in his commendation, than that he wrote four hun­dred years ago with taste and judgment. We look upon his poems rather as venerable relics, than as finish'd patterns; as pieces calculated rather to gratify the antiquarian than the critic. When I sate down to read Chaucer with the curiosity of knowing how the first English poet wrote, I left him with the satisfaction of having found what later and more refin'd ages could hardly equal in true humour, pathos, or sublimity. It must [Page 142] be confest that his uncouth or rather unfamiliar lan­guage has deterr'd many from perusing him; but at the same time it must be allowed, that nothing has more contributed to his being little looked into, than the convenient opportunity of reading him with faci­lity in modern imitations. Thus when translation (for such may imitations from Chaucer be call'd) be­comes substituted as the means of attaining the knowledge of any difficult and antient author, the original not only begins to be neglected and excluded as less easy, but also to be despised as less ornamental and elegant. And thus tho' Mr. Pope's translation of Homer is perhaps the best that ever was made of any author, yet it has so far indulg'd the laziness or illi­teracy of many readers, as to tempt them to acquiesce in the knowledge of Homer acquir'd by it, as suffici­ent; and thus many have preferr'd that translation to the Graecian text, in proportion as the former contains more frequent and more shining metaphors, more lively descriptions, and in general appears to be more full, elaborate, and various.

SECT. VI. Of Spenser's imitations from Ariosto.

B. i. C. i. S. xxix.

THIS circumstance of the Red-cross knight and Una meeting with Archimago disguised like a hermit, who tells them a feign'd tale, and after that raises two spirits with an intent to deceive the Red­cross [Page 143] Knight, seems to be copied from Ariosto, who introduces Angelica meeting with an hypocritical hermit who raises a false spirit with a design to de­ceive Sacrapant and Renaldo, and to exasperate them against Orlando, &c.

Che scontro un' eremita, &c.

But Spenser has greatly improv'd the hint. Archi­mago is again introduc'd after the same manner, B. i. C. vi. S. xxxiv. and B. ii. C. i. S. viii.

B. i. C. ii.

This illusion effected by Archimago, who discovers a fictitious Una to the Red-cross Knight in the em­braces of a young 'squire, seems to be imitated from the deceptions carried on in the enchanted castle of Atlanta, where many of the guests are impos'd upon by false representations of the persons of their friends or mistresses; and more particularly from that passage where Orlando, after having been cheated with the appearance of a fictitious Angelica, is made to hear her cry out for his assistance, as if some villain was ravishing her, &c.

Dum que in presentia del mio caro Orlando
Da questo ladro mi sara rapita? *
Piu, &c. &c.

[Page 144]
Helpe now or never helpe; alas shall I,
In mine Orlando's sight loose my virginitie?

B. i. C. vii. S. xxxiii.
His warlike shield all closely cover'd was
Ne might of mortal eye be ever seene,
* * * * * * * * * *
The same to wight he never would disclose,
But when as monsters huge he would dismay,
Or daunt unequall armies, &c.
* * * * * * * * * *
And when he list the prouder lookes subdew
He would them gazing blind, &c.

This is the shield of Atlanta.

D'un bello drappo di seta havea coperto
Lo SCUDO in braccio il Cavalier celestie,
Come avesse, non so, tanto sofferto
Di tenerlo nascosto in quella veste;
Ch' immantinente, che lo mostra aperto,
Forza e chi' l mira abbarbagliato resto,
E cada, come corpo morto cade.

[Page 145]
This heavenly hellish warrior bare a shield
On his left arme, that had a silken case,
I cannot any cause or reason yeeld,
Why he should keep it coverd so long space:
It had such force that whoso it beheld,
Such shining light it striketh in their face,
That down they fall, &c.—

B. i. C. viii. S. iii.
—Wide wonders of all
Of that same hornes great vertues weren told.
* * * * * * *
Was never wight that heard that shrilling sound
But trembling feare did feele in every vaine.

This horne, with its miraculous effects, is borrow'd from that which Logestylla presents to Astolfo.

Dico che' l'corno di si orribil suono,
Ch' ovunque s' ode fa fuggir la gente. *
Non puo, &c.

An horne in which if he do once but blow
The noise thereof shall trouble men so sore,
That all both stout and faint shall flie therefro.

[Page 146] I wonder Spenser should have made so little use of this horn. He has not scrupled to introduce the shield above-mentioned (tho' as manifestly borrow'd from Ariosto) upon various occasions.

B. i. C. viii. S. xlvi.

Duessa who before appear'd young and beautiful, stript of her rich apparel is discover'd to be a lothsom old woman. She is a copy of Ariosto's Alcina, who after having long engaged the affections of Rogero by her youth and beauty, is at last, by the virtue of his ring, discovered to be old and ugly. These cir­cumstances of Duessa's discovery are literally drawn from Ariosto.

A loathly wrinkled hag ill-favourd old.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Her crafty hed was altogether bald,
Was overgrowne with scurfe, and filthy scalde,
Her teeth out of her rotten gums were feld.

Pallido, crespo, e macilento avea
Alcina il viso, il crin raro, e canuto,
* * * * * * * * * *
Ogni dente di bocca era caduto. *

[Page 147]
Her face, was wan, a leane and writheld skin,
* * * * * * * * * *
Her haire was gray of hue, and verie thin,
Her teeth were gone, &c.—

B. ii. C. iv. S. xix.
It was my fortune, &c.

This tale, is borrow'd from the tale of Geneura in Orlando Furioso, C. iv. S. l. &c.

B. ii. C. xi. S. xxxvii.

The difficulty which prince Arthur finds in killing Maleger, seems to be copied from the encounter of Griffin and Aquilant with Orillo, who (like Maleger) re­ceives no hurt from all the wounds that are given him: And the circumstances by which Maleger's death is effected, partake much of the fantastic extravagance of those by which Orillo is at last kill'd. See Or­lando Fur. C. xv. S. lxvii. &c. &c.

B. iii. C. iv. S. lix.
—A mighty speare,
Which Bladud made my magicke art of yore.
* * * * * * *
For never wight so fast in sell could sit,
But him perforce unto the ground it bore.

This enchanted spear of Britomartis is the lame d'oro which Astolfo presents to Bradamante.

[Page 148]
La Lancia, che di quanti ne percote
Fà le selle restar subito vote. *

The speare—
With head thereof if any touched were
Straight ways to fall to ground they must be fayne.

Spenser sometimes calls it Goldelaunce.

B. iii. C. iv. S. i.
Where is the antique glory now become
That whilome wont in women to appeare?
Where, &c.

This introduction in praise of women, seems to be enlarg'd from that of Ariosto to C. 20.

Le Donne antiche hanno mirabil cose,
Fatto ne l'arme, e ne le sacre muse,
E de lor' opre belle, e gloriose
Gran lume in tutto il mondo si diffuse.
Arpalice, e Camilla son famose,
Perche in battaglia erano esperte, &c.

Marvellous deeds by divers dames were donne
In times of old, as well by sword as pen;
So as their glorie shined like the sunne,
And famous was both far and neare, as then
[Page 149]The fame Harpalice in battel won,
Camilla's worth, &c.

And, B. 3. C. 2. S. 1. he touches upon the same argument again.

Here have I cause in men just blame to find
That in their proper praise too partiall bee,
And not indifferent to woman-kind,
To whom no share in armes and chivalrie
They doe impart, ne maken memorie
Of their brave gests, and prowesse martiall;
Scarce do they spare to one, or two, or three,
Roome in their writs; yet the same writing small
Does all their deeds deface, and dims their glo­ries all.

Where he seems to copy the close of the above intro­duction of Ariosto.

E forse ascosi han lor debiti onori
L'invidia; o il non saper de gli scrittori. *

Doubtlesse the fault is either in back-biters,
Or want of skill, and judgment in the writers.
B. iii. C. iii. S. xx.

Merlin here discovers to Britomart her future pro­geny; which he does likewise to Bradamante in Ariosto. C. 3.

[Page 150]
B. iii. C. vii. S. lii.
But read thou squire of Dames, &c.

The tale of the squire of Dames is a copy of the Hosts tale in Ariosto. c. 28.

B. iii. C. x. S. xlvii.

Malbecco mixes with the flock of goats, and passes for one. He might have here the escape of Ulysses from Polypheme in his eye; but more immediately, perhaps, the like expedient made use of by Norandin, who mixes among the goats, as a goat, that he may gain access to Lucina. C. 17. S. 35. &c. Norandin, indeed, is drest up in goat-skins, but Malbecco's similitude is made out by his horns, which he wears as a cuckold; a fiction, the meanness of which nothing but the beau­tiful transformation, at the end of the Canto, could have made amends for.

B. iv. C. i. S. xiii.
With that her glistring helmet she unlaced,
Which doft, her golden locks that were upbound,
Still in a knott unto her heeles downe traced.

Marsifa thus discovers herself,

Al trar de gli elmi tutti vider come
Havea lor dato ajuto una donzella.
Fa conosciuta a l'auree crespe chiome
Ed a l'faccia delicata, &c. *

[Page 151]
Now when Marsisa had put off her bever,
To be a woman everie one perceive her.
Her golden hair trust up with careless grace
Her forehead faire, &c.

A few stanzas above she is compar'd to Bellona;

Stimato egli hauria lei forse Bellona.
S. 24.

So our author, St. 14.

Some, that Bellona in that warlike guise
To them appear'd—

See a like discovery, B. 3. C. 9. S. 20, 21. Spenser's Britomart is a manifest copy of Ariosto's Bradamante and Marsisa.

B. iv. C. ii. S. iv.
—The bold Sir FERRAUGH hight.

Sir Ferraugh is one of Ariosto's knights.

B. iv. C. iii. S. xlv.
Much more of price, and of more gracious powre
Is this, then that same water of Ardenne;
The which Renaldo drunke in happy houre,
[Page 152]Described by that famous Tuscane penne;
For that had might to change the harts of men
From love to hate.—

That famous Tuscan pen Ariosto describes two foun­tains in Ardenna, from one of which Renaldo drinks, and from the other Angelica.

E questo hanno causato duo fontane,
Che di diverso effetto hanno liquore;
Ambe in Ardenna, e non sono lontane.
D' amoroso disio l' una empie il core,
Che bee dell' altra, senza amor rimane,
E volge tutto in ghiaccio il primo ardore.
Rinaldo gustò d' una, e amor lo strugge;
Angelica de l' altra, e l' odia, e fugge. *

The cause of this first from two fountaines grew,
Like in the taste, but in th' effects unlike,
Plaste in Ardenna, ech in others vew,
Who tastes the one loves dart his heart doth strike;
Contrarie of the other doth ensew,
Who drinke thereof their lovers shall mislike;
Renaldo dranke of one, and love much pained him,
The other drank this damsell, and disdained him.

By Spenser's account of this WATER of ARDENNE it might be concluded that Rinaldo drank of that fountain which turn'd love into hate; but it appears from this [Page 153] passage in Ariosto, that he drank of that fountain which produc'd the contrary effect. However it is manifest, that our author alludes to another place in Ariosto, where Renaldo drinks of that fountain which produc'd the effect here describ'd by Spenser. C. 42. S. 63.

B. v. C. ii. S. iv.
—Here beyond,
A cursed cruell Sarazin doth wonne
That keepes a bridges passage by strong hand;
And many errant knights hath there foredonne.

Thus the pagan in Ariosto 29. 35. keeps a bridge, which no man can pass over unless he fight with him; and which occasions many combats in the water, one of which sort is here describ'd between Sir Arthe­gall and the Saracen, S. 11.

In MORTE ARTHUR we find an account of a knight who kept a bridge*, in which a circumstance is men­tion'd, (not in Ariosto) which Spenser seems to have copied from thence, in the passage under considera­tion. ‘"On the third day he rode over a long bridge; and there start upon him sodainly a passing fowle chorle, and he smote his horse, and asked him why he rode over that bridge without his licence."’ [Page 154] So Spenser,

Who as they to the passage gan to draw,
A villaine came to them with scull all raw,
That passage-money did of them require.
St. 11.

B. v. C. iii. S. xxxiv.
And called Brigadore.—

The name of his horse. Brigliadoro is the name of Orlando's horse: From Briglia d' oro, a golden bridle. B. v. C. ix. S. xi.He is describing GUILE.

Als at his backe a great wide net he bore,
With which he seldome fished at the brooke,
But us'd to fish for fools on the dry shore.

This net seems to be borrow'd from the like expe­dient made use of by Caligorant.

Piacer fra tanta crudelta si prende
D' una RETE, &c.*

And in this crueltie he hath great sport,
To use the service of a certaine net.

[Page 155]
B. vi. C. xi. S. ii. &c.
Like as is now befalne to this faire maid,
Faire Pastorell, &c.

The distress of Pastorella is something similar to that of Isabel, who is seiz'd by certain outlaws or pirates, and imprison'd in a cave in order to be sold for a slave. C. 12. S. 91. &c.

It has been before remark'd, that Spenser in his BLATANT BEAST had some reference to the story of the questing beast mention'd in the romance of MORTE ARTHUR. Yet, notwithstanding, I am apt to think, that Spenser in representing scandal under the shape of a monstrous and unnatural beast, imitated, or ra­ther vyed with Ariosto, who has represented avarice and jealousy under the picture of two hideous beasts; the first of which, like the BLATANT BEAST attacks all estates alike, enters the palace as well the cottage, but vents his rage in a more particular manner against the clergy, sparing not even the pope himself. She is at last supposed to be bound by Leo the tenth, as Jealousy is supposed to be driven to her den by Renaldo. It is not improbable, that Ariosto, in adumbrating these violent passions under the figure of beasts, form'd of many unnatural combinations, might have an eye to the beast in the REVELA­TIONS, which ‘"rose out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy; and [Page 156] the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion."* See F. Q. 6, 12, 23, &c. and Orl. Furios. c. 26. S. 27. and c. 42. S. 44, &c.

The reader will excuse my adding, in this place, a passage which Spenser has drawn from his favorite Italian poet, in the Mourning Muse of Thestylis.

The blinded archer-boy,
Like Larke in showre of raine,
Sate bathing of his wings,
And glad the time did spend
Under those crystall drops,
Which fall from her faire eyes,
And at their brightest beames,
Him proynd in lovely wise.

Cosi a le belle lagrime le piume
Si bagna Amore, e gode al chiaro lume.

So the blind god, whose force no man can shunne,
Sits in her eyes, and thence his darts doth fling;
Bathing his wings in her cleare crystal streames,
And sunning them in her rare beauties beames.

Though it must be confess'd that Spenser's verses bear a stronger resemblance to these of Nic. Archias, of a Lady weeping.

[Page 157]
Tam suavi in pluvia nitens Cupido
Insidebat, uti solet volucris
Ramo, vere novo, ad novos tepores
Post solem accipere aetheris liquores,
Gestire & pluviae ore blandiendo.

I had almost forget to take notice, that our author, in his Radegunde with her city of females, probably had an eye upon Ariosto's land of Amazons.

But although Spenser appears to have imitated, and consequently to have admir'd Ariosto, from a survey of the preceding instances; and to have been ambi­tious of rivalling the Orlando Furioso, in composing a poem upon a kindred and similar plan; yet it may be affirmed, that they were both of a genius entirely different. Spenser, amidst all his absurdities, abounds with beautiful and sublime representations; while A­riosto's strokes of true poetry bear a very signal dis­proportion, in their number, to his sallies of roman­tic imagination: he gives us the grotesque for the graceful, and extravagance for majesty: he frequent­ly moves our laughter and surprise by the whimsical figures of a Callot, but seldom awakens our admira­tion by the just portraits of a Raphael. To confess the truth, Ariosto's vein is so far different from Spen­ser's, that it is absolutely comic, and infinitely better suited to scenes of humour, than to serious and so­lemn description; he so greatly excels in painting the familiar manners, that what are call'd his tales, are, by far, the most shining passages in his poem. Many of [Page 158] his similes are likewise the strongest indications of his turn for burlesque.*

But if there should be any readers, who, from some of the fictions in Orlando, would prove that its author was possess'd of an extensive and magnifi­cent invention, let them remember, that these are commonly borrow'd from romances, and adapted occasionally by the poet to the tenor of his allegory; and if it should be granted, that some, or the greatest part of these were deriv'd from his own fancy, yet these, as they so enormously transgress the bounds of nature and probability, ought by no means to be ad­mitted as genuine marks of the TRUE POET.

SECT. VII. Of Spenser's Inaccuracies.

FEW poets will appear to have written with greater rapidity than Spenser. Hurried on by the vehe­mence of imagination he frequently cannot find time to attend to the niceties of construction, or to stand still and revise what he has before written, in order to prevent contradiction, inconsistency, or repetition. Hence it is, that he not only fails in the connection of single words, but of circumstances, and not only violates the rules of grammar, but those of truth, probability and propriety. He was more sollicitous about giving bold than exact touches to his figures, and was so earnestly intent of forming what was great, that he forgot to produce that which was correct. So that if, with these inaccuracies, we consider the irregu­larity of Spenser's plan in general, we may venture to conclude, that no poet ever shewed more imagi­gination with less judgement, than the author of the FAERIE QUEENE. It may be looked upon as a very officious piece of ill-nature to draw together these in­ferior and subordinate faults, and

—Seek slight faults to find,
Where nature moves, and rapture warms the mind.

But a review of them will tend to explain many pas­sages in particular in our author, and to bring us ac­quainted with his manner in general.

[Page 160]I shall begin with his Elleipses, in which the rea­der will find his omission of the Relative to be fre­quent.

B. i. C. vi. S. x.
As when a greedy wolf through hunger fell,
A silly lamb far from the flocke doth take,
Of whom he meanes his bloody feast to make,
A lyon spyes fast running towards him.

He should have said a greedy wolf WHO thro' hunger fell.

B. i. C. vii. S. xxxvii.
A gentle youth, his dearely loved squire,
His speare of heben wood behind him bare,
A goodly person, and could menage faire,
His stubborne steede, &c.
WHO is omitted before could menage faire.

B. i. C. x. S. xlii.
Whose face he made all beasts, to feare and gave
All in his hand.—

That is, into WHOSE hand he gave all.

B. i. C. xi. S. xxi.
He cryde as raging seas are wont to roare,
When wintry storme his wrathfull wreck doth threat,
The roring billowes beat the rugged shore,
[Page 161]As they the earth would shoulder from her seat
And greedy gulfe devoure—

Some such word as WHILE is to be understood before the roring billowes, &c.

B. i. C. x. S. li.
Whose staggering steps thy steadie hand doth lead
And shews the way, his sinfull soule to save.

He should have said, and to WHICH IT shews the way.

B. iii. C. ii. S. xlv.
Which lovst the shadow of a warlike knight
No shadow, but a body hath in powre.

No shadow, but WHICH a body, &c.

B. ii. C. viii. S. xxxviii.
With that he strooke, and th' other strooke withall,
That nothing seemd mote beare so monstrous might,
The one upon his cover'd shield did fall
And glauncing downe did not his owner bite,
But th' other did upon his troncheon smite.

The one upon his, &c.
That is the STROKE, or SWORD of the one, &c.

And afterwards,

But th' other, i. e. the STROKE of the other, &c.

[Page 162] So again,

4. 6. 13.

So sorely he her strooke that thence it glaunct
Adowne her backe.—

That is, the WEAPON glaunct, &c.

B. iv. C. vi. S. xxxvii.
Ne in his face, nor blood or life appear'd,
But senselesse stood, &c.

That is, HE senselesse stood.

B. iv. C. vii. S. vii.
But certes was with milke of wolves and tigers fed.

But certes HE was, &c.

B. i. Introduct. S. ii.
Whom that most noble Briton prince so long
Sought thro' the world, and suffred so much ill.

He should have said, and FOR WHOM he suffred, &c.

B. i. C. x. S. xii.
The eldest—
Like sunny beames threwe from her crystall face
That could have daz'd the rash beholders sight
And round about her head did shine like heavens light.

That could have daz'd, i. e. That WHICH, &c. THAT put for that which occurs in other places, [Page 163] and may mislead a reader not acquainted with Spen­ser's manner.

Thus again,

THAT erst him goodly arm'd, now most of all him harm'd
1. 11. 27.

THAT one did reach, the other pusht away.
4. 1. 29.

He should not have omitted WHICH in the last verse, and WHICH round about her, &c.

B. i. C. x. S. xliii.
Had charge the tender orphanes of the dead,
And widows ayde—

That is, widows TO ayde.

B. i. C. xii. S. ix.
The sight with idle feare did them dismay,
Ne durst approche him nigh—

Ne durst THEY approche him nigh, &c.

B. ii. C. ii. S. xxxviii.
As gentle hind, whose sides with cruell steele
Thro lanced, forth her bleeding life doth raine,
Whiles the sad pang approching she doth feele,
Brayes out her latest breath—

SHE should have been inserted before brayes out, &c.

[Page 164]
B. ii. C. ii. S. xvii.
Sterne melancholy did his courage pass,
And was (for terror more) all arm'd in shining brass.

He means, and HE was for, &c.

B. ii. C. iv. S. ix.
And eke that hag with many a bitter threat
Still cald upon to kill him in the place.

That is, still called upon HIM to, &c.

B. v. C. iii. S. xiii.
Which when he had perform'd, then backe againe
To Bragadocchio did his shield restore.

To Bragadocchio HE did, &c.

B. i. C. iii. S. v.
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily.

That is, HE ran, &c.

B. i. C. i. S. iv.
Seemed in heart some hidden care she had,

For IT seemed, &c. So St. 32.

Nowe said the lady draweth toward night.

That is, IT draweth. [Page 165] So again,

So easy was to quench his flamed mind.
2. 8. 4.

For, so easy IT was, &c.

B. i. C. x. S. lxii.
As for loose loves are vaine, and vanish into nought.

As for loose loves THEY are vaine, &c.*

[Page 166]I shall now produce some instances of his con­fused construction.

B. i. C. iii. S. xii.
Till seeing by her side the Lyon stand
With sudden fearee her pitcher downe she threw,
And fled away; for never in that land
[Page 167]Face of faire lady did she ever view,
And that dread Lyons looke her cast in deadly hew.

After having told us, that seeing the Lyon stand by her, she fled away for fear, he adds, that this was because he never had seen a lady before, which cer­tainly was no reason why she should fly from the lyon. What our author intended to express here, was, that ‘"at seeing the lyon, and so beautiful a lady, an object never seen before in that country, she was affrighted, and fled."’

B. i. C. vi. S. v.
—He gan the fort assaile,
Whereof he weend possessed soone to bee,
And with rich spoile of ransackt chastitie.

Of which he weend soone to bee possessed, is not improper; but, to be possessed with rich spoile, &c. is very inac­curate. Here seems to be likewise somewhat of an elleipsis, and I think he should have said, rich spoile of ITS ransackt chastitie.

B. i. C. x. S. xl.
The fourth appointed by his office was
Poor prisoners to relieve with gracious ayde,
And captives to redeeme with price of brass,
From Turks and Sarazins which them had staid;
And though they faultie were, yet well he waid
That God to us forgiveth everie howre,
Much more than that why they in bands were layd.

[Page 168]The poet says, that his office was to relieve PRI­SONERS, and to redeem CAPTIVES with money from Turkish slavery; who though guilty of crimes, yet he consider'd that God every hour pardons crimes much greater than those for which they were impri­son'd.—By this it should seem, that those enslav'd by the Turks were guilty of crimes, &c. but the poet would signify by they faultie were, the prisoners first mention'd, who were deservedly imprison'd on account of their crimes.

Another instance of our author's inaccuracy, is, his tautology, or repetition of the same circumstances.

B. iv. C. xii. S. i.
For much more eath to tell the starres on hy,
Albe they endlesse seeme, &c.
Then to recount the seas posteritie.

The difficulty of numbering the deities present at the marriage of Thames and Medway, he expresses in the same manner, in the stanza immediately preceding.

The which more eath it were for mortall wight,
To tell the sands, or count the starres on hye.

B. vi. C. vi. S. iv.
For whylome he had been a doughty knight,
As any one that lived in his dayes,
And proved oft in many a perilous fight,
[Page 169]In which he grace and glory won alwaies;
And in all battles bore away the bayes;
But being now attackt with timely age
And wearie of this world's unquiet waies,
He tooke himselfe unto this hermitage.

All this we were told a few lines before.

And soothly it was said by common fame,
So long as age enabled him thereto,
That he had been a man of mickle name,
Renouned much in arms, and derring doe;
But being aged now, and weary too
Of warres delights, and worlds contentious toyle,
The name of knighthood he did disavow,
And hanging up his arms, and warlike spoile,
From all the worlds incumbrance did himself assoile.
C. v. S. 37.

To this head we may refer the redundancies of a word.

B. iii. C. vi. S. xi.
It fortuned faire Venus having lost
Her little son, the winged god of love,
* * * * * * * *
Him for to seeke SHE left her heavenly house.

[Page 170] SHE is unnecessary in the last line, as FAIRE VENUS is the nominative case. Other instances of this fault might be produced.

I shall now cite some instances in which he contra­dicts himself, and runs into other absurdities, on ac­count of his forgetting, or not reviewing what he had before written, and, in general, from an hasty manner of composition. B. i. C. iv. S. viii.Speaking of Pride, he says, she

—shone as Titan's ray.

And in the following stanza he compares her to Phae­ton, where he says, she

Exceeding shone, like Phoebus fairest child.
S. 9.

This is a very striking Anti-climax.

B. i. C. xi. S. xlvii.
Another faire like tree eke grew thereby,
Whereof whoso did eat, eftsoones 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 occa­casion'd the fall of man; in the stanza before, he af­firms the same of the tree of life.

[Page 171]
The tree of life the crime of our first father's fall.
S. 46.
B. ii. C. i. S. xxvi, xxvii.

In these stanzas Sir Guyon suddenly abases his spear, and begs pardon of the red-crosse knight, for having attack'd him; as if he had just now discover'd him to be the red-crosse knight: whereas he knew him to be so, St. 19. and after that resolves to fight with him. B. iv. C. v. S. xxxvii.Speaking of CARE,

He like a monstrous giant seemd in sight,
Far passing Brontes, and Pyracmon great.

If CARE was so monstrous a giant, how could he dwell, with his six servants, in the little cottage above-mention'd?

They spide a little cottage, like some poore man's nest.
S. 32.

B. iv. C. i. S. 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 Bri­tomartis was a woman; and as she was so much ter­rified, it was highly natural, that she should assure him [Page 172] of it; tho' this would have prevented an entertaining surprise, which the poet reserv'd for. 4. 6. 28.

B. i. C. ix. S. vi.
Aread, prince Arthur—

Arthur and Una have been hitherto represented as entire strangers to each other; and it does not appear how Una became acquainted with the name of this new knight.

B. i. C. viii. S. xliii, &c.

It is unnatural, that the red-crosse knight should be so suddenly reconcil'd to Una, after he had forsaken her for her supposed infidelity and impurity. The poet should certainly have express'd an eclaircisse­ment between them.

B. vi. C. xi. S. li.

It was an instance of Sir Calidore's courage, to re­store to Coridon his flocks; but not of his courtesie, to carry away his love Pastorella. The poet should have manag'd the character of his PATRON OF COUR­TESIE with more art.

As Spenser has drawn the character of his hero prince Arthur from history, he has limited himself to a particular period of time, in which all the events of his poem, however fictitious or imaginary, are sup­posed to have happen'd: upon this account all disco­veries made since that particular period of time, are [Page 173] improperly specified; and the mention of them may be justly term'd an anachronism. Our author has been guilty of one or two faults of this kind, which we shall lay before the reader.

And evermore their hideous ordinance,
Upon the bulwarkes cruelly did play.
2. 11. 14.

Spenser should have spar'd this circumstance of fire-arms. Ariosto was more cautious in this matter; for tho' he has suppos'd the use of them upon a par­ticular occasion in the age of Charlemagne; yet, not­withstanding, he hints, that they were soon after­wards destroy'd, and that the use of them was not re­viv'd till many years after; and as the invention, so the revival of them is attributed to the devil. C. 11. S. 22. It has been observ'd, that Milton copied the invention of fire-arms from Ariosto; and it may fur­ther be observ'd, that Milton, in the speech which one of the evil angels makes upon them,

—They shall fear we have disarm'd
The thunderer of his only dreaded bolt,

has copied from himself, in one of his latin epigrams.*

[Page 174]
At mihi major erit, qui lurida creditur arma,
Et trifidum fulmen surripuisse Jovi. *

[Page 175] Chaucer in his account of the battle of Anthony and Cleopatra with Octavius, mentions guns.

With grisly soune, outgoith the grete gonne.*

B. vi. C. ii. S. v.
All in a woodman's jackett he was clad
Of Lincolne greene.—

[Page 176] It would be difficult to prove that a manufacture of green cloth subsisted at Lincoln in the age of king Arthur; and indeed if it could, we should not readily dispense with the poet's mention of it. [Page 177] To these may be added some of his ambiguities.

B. i. C. vii. S. xlvi.
Bred in the loathly lakes of Tartary.

[Page 178]The poet should not have us'd Tartary here for Tartarus, as the reader might mistake it for the [Page 179] country of that name. He has committed the same fault in Virgil's Gnat.

Lastly the squalid lakes of TARTARIE.

B. ii. C. x. S. xv.
Did head against them make, and strong MUNIFI­CENCE.

By MUNIFICENCE our author signifies defence or for­tification; from munio and facio. This is a word very injudiciously coin'd by Spenser, as the same word in our language signifies quite another thing. Milton perhaps is more blameable for a fault of this kind.

Now had they brought the work, by wondrous art

As the ambiguous term pontifical may be so easily construed into a pun, and may be interpreted popish, as well as bridge-making.

B. iii. C. i. S. xxxvi.
And whilst he bathd with her two crafty spyes
She secretly would search each dainty lim.

crafty spyes is here a periphrasis for eyes, but a very inartificial one; as it may so easily be mistaken for two persons whom she employ'd, with herself, to search, &c.

SECT. VIII. Of Spenser's imitations of himself.

COmmentators of less taste than learning, of less judgment than ostentation, have taken infinite pains to point out those passages which their respective authors have imitated from others.* This enquiry is executed with a modest reserve, and extended no far­ther than to those passages which are distinguish'd with more indubitable evidences of transcription or imitation, might (it should seem) prove equally instructive and entertaining: as it would the better enable us to regu­late our idea of the merit and character of an author, by ascertaining what degree of genuine invention is to be allow'd him, and by shewing how far he has im­prov'd the materials of another by his own art and man­ner of application; at the same time that it must ne­cessarily gratify the inquisitive disposition of every reader. But where there are even the most apparent traces of likeness, how very seldom can it be affirm'd, with any truth, as a late very sagacious critic has amply prov'd, that an imitation was intended? and how few of the commentators above-mention'd are there, who do not (to use his own words) mistake RESEM­BLANCES [Page 181] for THEFTS?* As this then is a business which proceeds upon an uncertain foundation, afford­ing the amusement of conjecture rather than the satis­faction of truth; it may perhaps be a more serviceable undertaking, to produce an author's IMITATIONS OF HIMSELF: and this will be more particularly useful in the three following respects, viz. It will discover the FAVORITE IMAGES of an author; it will teach us how VARIOUSLY he expresses the same thought; and it will often EXPLAIN DIFFICULT passages, and words.

B. i. Introduct. S. 3.
Faire Venus sonne that with thy cruell dart,
At that good knight so cunningly didst rove,
* * * * * * * * * *
Lay now thy deadly heben bowe apart.


Like as Cupido on Idaean hill,
When having laid his cruell bowe aside,
And mortall arrowes, wherewith he doth fill
[Page 182]The world with murd'rous spoyles, and bloody pray,
With his faire mother he him dights to play,
And with his goodly sisters, &c.
2. 8. 6.

And in the following, speaking of Cupid in the garden of Adonis,

Who when he hath with spoyles and crueltie
Ransackt the world, and in the wofull hearts
Of many wretches sett his triumphs hie,
Thither resorts, and laying his sad darts
Aside, with faire Adonis playes his wanton parts.
3. 6. 49

Thus again,

And eke amongst them little Cupid plaid
His wanton sports, beeing returned late
From his fierce warres, and having from him layd
His cruell bowe, wherewith he thousands hath dis­mayd.
2. 9. 34.

B. i. C. viii. S. xxix.Prince Arthur enters Orgoglio's castle.

Then gan he loudly thro' the house to call,
But no man car'd to answer to his cry,
There reign'd a solemne silence over all,
Nor voice was heard, nor wight was seen in bowre or hall.

This affecting image of silence and solitude is again to be met with, after Britomart had survey'd the rich furniture of Busirane's house.

But more she marvail'd, that no footings trace,
Nor wight appear'd, but wasteful emptinesse,
And solemne silence over that place
3. 11. 53.

[Page 183]
B. i. C. xii. S. xxxix.
—Many an angels voice,
Singing before th' eternall majestie
In their trinall triplicities on hie.

Thus in an HYMNE of heavenly love; of angels,

There they in their trinal triplicities,
About him wait.—

The image of the angels singing in their trinall tri­plicities, puts me in mind of a passage in Milton's LYCIDAS, where the pointing seems to be wrong.

There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
Who sing, and singing in their glory move.

According to the present pointing, the sense is, ‘"The saints who are in solemn troops, and sweet societies, entertain him;"’ or, entertain him in [among] their solemn troops, and sweet societies: but if the comma was struck off after Societies, another and more beautiful meaning would be introduced, viz. ‘"The saints who SING IN solemn troops and sweet societies, entertain him, &c."’ B. ii. C. iii. S. xxiv.Of Belphaebe speaking,

And twixt the pearles and rubies softly brake
A silver sound—

Thus in Sonnet 81.

But fairest she, when so she doth display
The gate with pearles, and rubies richly dight,
Thro' which her words so wise do make their way.

[Page 184] Ariosto gives us pearls and corall for the lips and teeth.

Che da i coralli, e da le pretiose
Perle uscir fanno i dolci accenti mozzi. (*)

The corall and the perle by nature wrought.

B. ii. C. iii. S. xxv.
Upon her eyelids many graces sate
Under the shadow of her even browes.

In Sonnet 40.

When on each eye-lid sweetly doe appeare
An HUNDRED GRACES as in shade to sit.

And in a verse of his PAGEANTS preserv'd by E. K.*

An hundred graces on her eye-lids sate.

[Page 185] Which he drew from a modern Greek poem ascrib'd to Musaeus,


In the Hymn of heavenly love we find a thousand graces.

[Page 186]
Sometimes upon her forehead they behold
A thousand graces masking in delight.

Our author, in the FAERIE QUEENE, has also co­pied from the same poem ascrib'd to Musaeus. Scu­damore, in the Temple of Venus, is much in the same circumstances with Leander.

Tho shaking off all doubt, and shamefast feare,
Which ladies love I heard had never wonne
'Mongst men of worth, I to her stepped neare,
And by the lilly hand her labour'd up to reare.
4. 10. 53.


And afterwards,

* * * * * * *

Audacter autem ob amorem impudentiam affectans,
* * * * * * *
Sed ipse audacter adibat prope puellam
* * * * * * *
Tacite quidem stringens roseos digitos puellae.

WOOMANHOOD rebukes Scudamore for this insult, whom Scudamore answers,

Saying, it was to knight unseemly shame,
Upon a recluse virgin to lay hold;
That unto Venus' services was sold.
To whom I thus: nay, but it fitteth best,
[Page 187]For Cupids man with Venus' mayd to hold;
For ill your goddesse services are drest
By virgins, and your sacrifices let to rest.
S. 54.

In the same manner Hero rebukes, and Leander answers.

* * * * * *

Quid me, infelix, Virginem trahis?
Veneris non te decet Deae sacerdotem sollicitare.
* * * * * *

Leander answers,


Veneris ut sacerdos exerce Veneris opera;
Huc ades, initiare nuptialibus Legibus Deae;
Virginem non decet administrare Veneri;
Virginibus Venus non gaudet.

But, to return to the subject.

B. ii. C. xii. S. lxvii.
And the Ivorie in golden mantle gownd.

Thus in the Epithalamion.

Her long loose yellow lockes—
* * * * *
Doe like a golden mantle her attire.

[Page 188]It is remarkable, that Spenser's females, both in the FAERIE QUEENE, and in his other poems, are all describ'd with yellow hair. And in his general de­scription of the influence of beauty over the strongest men, he particularizes golden tresses.

And mighty hands forgett their manlinesse,
Drawn with the power of an hart-robbing eye,
And wrapt in fetters of a GOLDEN TRESSE.
5. 8. 1.

Whether this was done in compliment to Q. Elizabeth, who had yellow hair, or in imitation of the Italian poets, who give most of their women tresses of this colour, I leave to the determination of the reader. B. iii. C. i. S. xxxvi.Speaking of Venus, while Adonis was bathing.

And throwe into the well sweet rosemaries,
And fragrant violets, and pancies trim,
And ever with sweet nectar she did sprinkle him.

Thus in the Prothalamion.

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew
Great store of flowers, the honour of the field,
That to the sense did fragrant odours yield,
All which upon those goodly birds they threw,
And all the waves did strew,
That like old Peneus waters they did seeme,
When downe along by pleasant Tempes shore,
Scattred with flowers thro' Thessaly they streeme.

[Page 189] To these we may add,

—And ever as the crew
About her daunct, sweet flowres that far did smell,
And fragrant odours they upon her threw.
6. 10. 14.

The circumstance of throwing flowers into the water, is not unlike what Milton says of Sabrina's stream.

—The shepherds, at their festivals,
Carol her goodness lowd in rustic layes,
And throw sweet garland-wreaths into her streame,
Of pancies, pinks, and gaudy daffadils.(†)

Statius introduces Love and the Graces sprinkling Stella and Violantilla, on their wedding-night, with flowers and odours.

Nec blandus Amor nec Gratia cessat
Amplexum virides optatae conjugis artus
Floribus innumeris, & olenti spargere thymbra. *

And in another place he speaks of Venus pouring the fragrance of Amomum over Earinus in great abundance; a circumstance not much unlike that just mention'd concerning Venus and Adonis.

Hunc multo Paphie saturabat amomo.

B. iii. C. vii. S. xvi. Of the witches son, who falls in love with Florimel.

Oft from the forrest wildings he did bring,
[Page 190]Whose sides empurpled were with smiling red;
And oft young birds, which he had taught to sing
His mistresse prayses sweetly caroled:
Girlands of flowres sometimes for her faire head
He fine would dight; sometimes the squirrel wild
He brought to her in bands, &c.

Such presents as these are made by Coridon to Pastorell.

And oft when Coridon unto her brought,
Or little sparrows stolen from their nest,
Or wanton squirrels in the woods farre sought.
6. 9. 40.

B. i. C. ix. S. 24.
—staring wide
With stony eyes, and hartless hollow hewe,
Astonisht stood, as one that had espide
Infernall furies with their chaines untide.

Spenser often expresses fear, or surprize, in this manner,

—As one affright
With hellish fiends, or furies mad uprore.
2. 5. 37.

—The stony feare
Ran to his heart, and all his sense dismay'd,
Ne thenceforth life, ne courage did appeare,
But as a man whom hellish fiends have frayd,
Trembling long time he stood.
2. 8. 46.

[Page 191]
—Oft out of her bed she did astart,
As one with vew of gastly fiends affright.
3. 2. 29.

Ne wist he what to thinke, or to devise.
But like as one whom fiends have made afraid,
He long astonisht stood; ne ought he said,
Ne ought he did; but with fast-fixed eyes
He gazed still upon that snowy maid.
5. 3. 18.

From the passages already alleged, and from some some others which I shall produce, it will appear, that Spenser particularly excells in painting affright, confusion, and astonishment.

Abessa's affright at seeing the Lion and Una.
1. 3. 12.

Full fast she fled, ne ever lookt behind,
* * * * * * *
And home she came, where as her mother blind
Sate in eternall night; nought could shee say,
But suddaine catching hold, did her dismay,
With quaking hands, and other signs of feare;
Who full of gastly fright, and cold dismay,
Gan shut the dore.—
1. 3. 12.

The behaviour of Abessa and Corecca, when Kirkra­pine was torn in pieces by the Lion.

[Page 192]
His feareful friends weare out the wofull night,
Ne dare to weepe, nor seeme to understande
The heavy hap, which on them is alight,
Afraid lest to themselves the like mishappen might.
1. 3. 20.

DESPAIRE has just persuaded the red-crosse knight to kill himself. 1. 9. 48.

The knight was much enmoved with his speach,
That as a swords point thro' his hart did pearce,
And in his conscience made a secret breach,
Well-knowing true all that he did reherse,
And to his fresh remembrance did reverse
The uglie hue of his deformed crimes,
That all his manly powres it did disperse,
As he were charmed with inchanted rimes,
That oftentimes he quakt, and fainted oftentimes.
In which amazement when the miscreant
Perceived him to waver weake and fraile,
Whiles trembling horror did his conscience dart,
And hellish anguish did his soule assaile;
To drive him to despaire and quite to quaile,
He shewed him painted in a table plaine
The damned ghosts that do in torments waile,
And thousand fiends that do them endlesse paine
With fire and brimstone, which for ever shall remaine.
The sight whereof so throughly him dismaid,
That nought but death before his eyes he saw,
And ever-burning wrath before him laid,
By righteous sentence of th' Almighties law;
Then 'gan the villaine him to overawe,
And brought unto him swords, ropes, poyson, fire,
And all that might him to perdition draw,
And bade him chuse what death he would desire,
For death was due to him, that had provokt Gods ire.
But when as none of them he saw him take,
He to him raught a dagger sharpe and keene,
And gave it him in hand; his hand did quake,
And tremble like a leaf of aspine greene;
And troubled bloud through his pale face was seene
To come and goe, with tydings from the hart,
As it a running messenger had beene;
At last, resolv'd to work his final smart
He lifted up his hand, that backe againe did start.

It is a trite observation, that we paint that best, which we have felt most. Spenser's whole life seems to have consisted of disappointments and distress; so that he, probably, was not unacquainted with the bitter agonies of a despairing mind, which the warmth of his imagina­tion, and, what was its consequence, his sensibility of temper contributed to render doubly severe. Unmerit­ed and unpitied indigence ever struggles hardest with [Page 194] true genius; and a good taste, for the same reasons that it enhances the pleasures of life, sustains with uncom­mon torture the miseries of that state, ‘"in which (says an incomparable moralist) every virtue is obscured, and in which no conduct can avoid reproach; a state in which chearfulness is insensibility, and dejection fullenness, of which the hardships are without ho­nour, and the labours without reward."’ To these may be added his personage FEAR.

Next him was FEAR all arm'd from top to toe,
Yet thought himselfe not safe enough thereby;
But fear'd each shadow moving to and fro;
And his owne armes when glittering he did spy,
Or clashing heard, he fast away did fly,
As ashes pale of hew, and wingy-heel'd;
And evermore on Danger fix'd his eye,
'Gainst whom he alwaies bent a brazen shield,
Which his right hand unarmed fearfully did wield.
3. 12. 12.


When Scudamour those heavy tidings heard
His hart was thrild with point of deadly feare,
Ne in his face, or blood or life appear'd,
But senselesse stood, like to amazed steare
That yet of mortal stroke the stound doth beare.
4. 6. 37.

A priest of Isis after having heard the dream of Britomart.

Like to a weake faint-harted man he fared,
Thro' great astonishment of that strange sight;
[Page 195]And with long locks upstanding stiffly stared,
Like one adawed with some dreadfull spright.
5. 7. 20.

Other instances of this sort might be cited; but these are the most striking.

It is proper to remark, in this place, that Spenser has given three large descriptions, much of the same nature, viz. The Bower of Bliss, 2. 12. The Gardens of Adonis, 3. 5. And the Gardens of the Temple of Venus, 4. 10. all which, though, in general, the same, his invention has diversified with many new circumstances; as it has likewise his Mornings: and perhaps we meet with no poet who has more re­quently, or more minutely, at the same time, de­lineated the Morning, than Spenser. He has intro­duced two historical genealogies of future kings and princes of England, 3. 3. and, 2. 10. beside two or three other shorter sketches of English history. He often repeatedly introduces his allegorical figures, which he sometimes describes with very little variation from his first representation; particularly, DISDAIN, FEAR, ENVY, and DANGER. In this poem we like­wise meet with two hells, 1. 5. 31. and 2. 7. 21.

It may not be foreign to the purpose of this Section, to lay before the reader some uncommon words and expressions, of which Spenser, by his frequent use, seems particularly fond.

B. ii. C. v. S. xxxii.
That round about him dissolute did PLAY
Their wanton follies, and light merriment.

[Page 196]Spenser often uses the verb PLAY, in this sense, with an accusative case.

A multitude of babes about her hong,
PLAYING their sports.—
1. 10. 31.

—The fry of children young
Their wanton sports, and childish mirth did PLAY.
1. 12. 7.

Then do the salvage beasts begin to PLAY
Their pleasant friskes.—
4. 10. 46.

But like to angels PLAYING heavenly toyes.
5. 10. 42.

—PLAYING his childish sport.
5. 16.

How Mutability in them doth PLAY
Her cruel sports—
7. 6. 1.

And in an Hymne of Love.

There, with thy daughter Pleasure, they do PLAY
Their hurtlesse sports.—

To these we may add,

—did SPORT
Their spotlesse pleasure, and sweet love's content.
4. 10. 26.

We find PLAY used after this manner in Milton.

—For Nature here
Wanton'd as in her prime, and PLAY'D at will
Her virgin fancies.—*

B. i. C. ii. S. xliii.
—In this MISFORMED howse.

[Page 197]Spenser often arbitrarily prefixes MIS to a word, viz. misfeigning, 1. 3. 40. misdiet, 1. 4. 23. mis­aymed, 1. 8. 8. misborne, 1. 5. 42. misdoubted, 4. 2. 23. mischallenge, 4. 3. 11. misconceit, and mis­fare, 4. 6. 2. misregard, 4. 8. 29. misthought, 4. 8. 58. mistrained, 5. 11. 54. misfell, 5. 5. 10. mis­doubtfull, 5. 6. 3. misdight, 5, 7. 37. misdesert, 6. 1. 12. misgotten, 6. 1. 18. miscreated, 2. 7. 42. I have been the more prolix in collecting these instances, in order to justify a very happy conjecture of Mr. Jortin*, without which it will be difficult to make sense of a passage in our author, viz.

Some like to hounds, some like to apes DISMAYD.
2. 11. 11.

Mr. Jortin proposes to read MISMADE, i. e. ill-shaped; an alteration which we cannot reject, when we consi­der the liberties Spenser took in adding MIS to a word. He probably sent it to the press mismayd, that it might rhyme more exactly (and that Spenser was very exact in this point, I have before endeavour'd to prove) with assayd, and arrayd; but the compositors were better acquainted with dismayd, which they according­ly adopted.

B. ii. C. iv. S. xliv.
—When Rancour rife
Kindles revenge, and threats his RUSTIE knife.


[armd]—some with long speares,
Some RUSTIE knives.—
2. 9. 13.

[Page 198]
Bitter despight, with Rancour's RUSTIE knife.
1. 4. 35.

[a wound]

In which a RUSTIE knife long time had fixed stood.
1. 9. 36.

And of DANGER,

A net in th' one hand, and a RUSTIE blade
In th' other was.—
3. 12. 11.

The steeds of Night are thus describ'd,

Their RUSTIE bits did champ.—
1. 5. 20.

The word RUSTIE seems to have convey'd the idea of somewhat very loathsome and horrible to our au­thor. In Virgil's Gnat he applies it to horror.

Nor those same mournfull kingdoms compassed
With RUSTIE horror.—

I will hence take occasion to correct a passage in Chaucer, in the character of the Reve.

And by his side he bare a RUSTIE blade.

I do not perceive the consistency of the Reves wear­ing a rustie sword; I should rather be inclin'd to think that the poet wrote trustie blade.

And by his side he bare a TRUSTIE blade.

B. iii. C. i. S. lxii.
And to her weapon ran; in mind to GRIDE
The loathed leachour—

[Page 199] Spenser frequently uses GRIDE, which signifies to pierce. This word, as E. K. remarks in the Pastoral of Fe­bruarie, is often used by Lidgate, but never once by Chaucer. Spenser was very well versed in all our an­tient English bards, but I do not remember that he pays a compliment to any of them, Chaucer excepted(*), and the author of Pierce Plowman. GRIDE is found in the following passages.

—Whose love hath GRYDE
My feeble breast.—
3. 2. 37.

—An arrow—
—Secretly did glide
Into his heart, which it did sorely GRIDE.
3. 9. 29.

Such was the wound that Scudamour did GRIDE.
4. 6. 1.

All as I were through the body GRIDE.**
Therewith my soul was sharpely GRIDE.††

—A serpent—
With brandisht tongue the emptie ayre did GRIDE.*

And again, in F. Q.

—Through his thigh the mortall steele did GRIDE.
2. 8. 36.

Milton probably adopted this old word from our author.

[Page 200]
The GRIDING sword with discontinuous wound
Pass'd through him.—(†)
6. 329.

B. ii. C. iii. S. xxv.
That was ambition, rash desire to STIE.

(*) Mr. Jortin informs us, that STIE signifies to soar, to ascend; so that the sense of the verse before us, is, ‘"that was ambition, which is a rash desire of still ascending upwards."’ STIE occurs again often.

Thought with his wings to STIE above the ground.
1. 11. 25.

—A storm—
Long here and there, and round about doth STIE.
4. 9. 33.

—Love can higher STIE
Than reason's reach.—
3. 2. 36.

That from this lower tract he dar'd to STIE
Up to the cloudes.*
Whilst in the smoke she unto heaven did STIE.
With bolder wing shall dare aloft to STY
To the last praises of the Faerie Queene.(†)

** This word occurs in Chaucer's Testament of Love. ‘"Ne steyrs to STEY one is none."(†) Where it is [Page 201] used actively, ‘"to lift one up."’ Gower has used this word in the preter-imperfect tense, but neutrally.

And or Christe went out of this erthe here,
And STICHED to heven.—**

B. i. C. ii. S. iii.
—Death is an equall doome
To good and bad the common INNE of rest.

INNE for Habitation, Seat, or Recess, is much used by Spenser. In his age this word had not acquir'd the vulgar cast which it would carry with it in modern poesy. The bowre of blisse,

The worldes sweet INNE from paine and wearisom turmoyle.
2. 12. 32.

He shall his dayes with peace bring to his earthly INNE.
3. 3. 29.

And where the chanting birds lull'd me asleepe,
The ghastly owle her grievous INNE doth keepe.

INNHOLDERS is likewise used for inhabitants.

I do possesse the worlds most regiment,
And if ye please it into parts divide,
And every parts INHOLDERS to convent.
7. 7. 17.

B. i. C. xii. S. xxxix.
Driven by FATALL error.—

[Page 202] That is, driven by an error ordain'd by the fates. Again,

At last by FATALL course they driven were.
3. 9. 4.

Nor lesse she fear'd that same FATALL read.
4. 12. 27.

That is, that same decree of the Fates.

Or did his life her FATALL date expire.
2. 8. 24.

That is, her date assigned by the Fates.

Either FATALL end,
Or other mighty cause, us to did hither send.

That is, some end which the Fates intend to ac­complish. 3. 3. 14.FATALIS has sometimes the same signification as Spenser's FATAL. So Virgil,

FATALEM Aeneam manifesto manifesto numine ferri. *

B. vi. C. vii. S. xix.
The whiles his salvage page that wont be PREST.

PREST is very frequently used by Spenser; in some places it signifies ready or quick; in others it seems to be used adverbially, for quickly, immediately. It is plainly the old French word, Preste, quick, or nimble, which sometimes is used adverbially. Mr. Jortin de­rives it from praesto adesse.

[Page 203]
—For what art thou
That makst thyself his dayes-man to prolong
The vengeance PREST?—
2. 8. 28.

That is, instant or present vengeance.

Who him affronting, soone to fight was readie PREST.
4. 3. 22.

That is, readie quickly.

In which his work he had sixe servants PREST.
4. 5. 36.

That is, six ready, or nimble, servants; or perhaps, present.

So hard behind his backe his foe was PREST.
4. 8. 41.

That is, His foe was very near him behind.

To warne her foe to battell soone be PREST.
5. 7. 27.

That is, be soone ready to fight with her.

—Finding there ready PREST
5. 8. 8.

That is, ready and present, ready at hand.

He watcht in close await with weapons PREST.
6. 6. 44.

That is, with his weapons ready, prepar'd. It is us'd in many of these senses by Chaucer.

Was throughout Troy ifled with prest wings.*

That is, with nimble or ready wings.

[Page 204]
Also these wickid tonguis ben so PREST
To speke us harm.

That is, so ready to speak, &c.

Neither was fowle, that commeth of engendrure,
That there ne was PREST in her presence.*

That is, that was not present before her.

This word is to be met with in most of our old English poets, particularly Lord Surrey, Wyat, Tuberville, &c. Harrington much uses it in his Ariosto.

B. vii. C. vi. S. xxviii.
Like a SORT of Steeres.—

SORT occurs perpetually in Spenser, for flock, troop, company, &c.

And like a SORT of bees in clusters swarmed.
5. 4. 36.

That is, a swarm.

But like a SORTE of sheepe.—
5. 4. 44.

That is, a flock.

And all about her altar scattered lay
Great SORTES of lovers.—
4. 10. 43.

That is, a great number, a large assembly of, &c.

A SORT of shepherd-groomes.—
6. 9. 5.

That is, a company of shepherds.

[Page 205]
A SORTE of shepherds sewing of the chace.

That is, a company of shepherds hunting.

It is not unfrequent in Harrington. We find it in the Psalms, where few perhaps assign the proper meaning to it. ‘"How long will ye imagine mischief against every man? Ye shall be slain all the SORT of you." i. e. your whole company, or multitude, shall be slain. The Septuagint render it, [...].’

But it is time to relinquish a disquisition, which will be discuss'd with so much superior learning and pene­tration, by one who intends shortly to oblige his coun­try with a dictionary of its language; a work for which its author is admirably qualified, as he has al­ready given us a specimen of his abilities regarding such a subject, if we may judge from a series of essays, in which not only criticism and morality have ap­pear'd with new lustre, but from which the English language has receiv'd new grace and dignity.

SECT. IX. Mr. Upton's opinion, concerning several passages in Spenser, examined.

AS that part of criticism which consists in rectify­ing the doubtful readings, and explaining the more obscure passages of an antient author, necessarily [Page 206] deals much in conjecture, and from its nature can sel­dom afford demonstration, and as those who are em­ploy'd in this province, are too frequently compell'd to deduce their positions, not from what is, but from that which seems to be the truth, no science, perhaps, pro­duces a greater diversity of opinions concerning the same point, than this. That which appears a lucky cor­rection or alteration to one commentator, is rejected by another, as absolutely improbable and absurd; and, indeed, the difference of sentiment in this case, is dictated by the different manner of conceiving things, which nature has implanted in the minds of different persons. At the same time it must be acknowledg'd, that the pride of appearing more sagacious than our predecessors, often occasions the variation here insisted upon; and sometimes mere caprice and obstinacy. Though in examining some of the ensuing passages, I may be deceiv'd (as the rest of my brethren have been) by the appearance of truth, which I have as­sign'd above, as one of the causes of difference of opi­nion among the critics; I can promise the reader, that I will not suffer myself to be voluntarily misled by any of the last-mention'd corrupt principles and pre­judices; and, upon this account, I shall be ready to give up any point, which, in this Section, I shall be proved to have mistaken; hoping to find Mr. Upton a no less candid man, than an ingenious critic.

[Page 207]

B. i. C. i. S. xliii.
A fit false dream that can delude the sleepers SENT.

Mr. Upton proposes to read sleepers SHENT, i. e. sleepers ill-treated or abus'd. But I rather think, that we should preserve the common reading, SENT, which is the proper and original spelling of scent: Sent, says Skinner (which we falsely write scent) is deriv'd a sentiendo. Thus the meaning of this verse, is, ‘"A false dream that could deceive or impose upon the sleeper's perception."’ So that sent, if we consider its radix, sentio, is here plainly made to sig­nify perception in general. Scent is often thus spelt in our author.

—At SENT of stranger-guest.
4. 6. 41.

—Through his perfect SENT.
3. 7. 22.

—Of sundry SENT and hewe.
7. 7. 10.

Scent is often thus written by Milton, and, as Dr. Newton observes, with great propriety.

The season prime for sweetest SENTS and airs.*

—the SENT
Of that alluring fruit.

—such a SENT I drew
Of carnage.—**

—With SENT of living carcasses.††

[Page 208] I confess that SENT is somewhat harsh in this sense: but what will not rhyme oblige the poet to say?

B. i. C. ii. S. xix.
And at his haughtie helmet making mark,
So hugely strooke, that it the steele did rive,
And rent his head; he tumbling downe ALIVE,
With bloody mouth his mother earth did kiss,
Greeting his grave; his grudging ghost did strive
With the fraile flesh; at last it flitted is,
Whither the soules, &c.

Mr. Upton would alter alive, in the third verse, to bilive, i. e. immediately: For, says he, did he tumble down alive after his head was cleft asunder?* With­out entering into an anatomical disquisition concern­ing the possibility of living after such a blow; we may remark, that the poet himself intimates to us, that he fell down alive, and did not die till after his fall, in these lines,

—His grudging ghost did strive
With the fraile flesh; at last it flitted is.

Mr. Upton would enforce and confirm the justness of his correction, by remarking, that the poet, in these verses, copied from Virgil,

Procubuit MORIENS, & HUMUM semel ore MOMORDIT.

[Page 209] Where the word moriens doth not imply, that the man who fell down, was dead. I must confess that alive is superfluous, but Spenser has run into many other superfluities on account of the frequency of his rhyme. Mr. Upton proposes likewise to write Earth [His Mother Earth] with an initial capital, supposing it a PERSON; however, we had, perhaps, better suppose it a THING: for if we understand it to be a Person, what an absurd mixture arises?

—His Mother EARTH did kiss,
Greeting his GRAVE.—

Grave cannot be referr'd to Earth as a Person, but it may be to Earth as a Thing. However, it must be confess'd, that this is such an absurd mixture as Spen­ser was very likely to have fallen into; and we have numberless instances of this fault, in his account of the rivers which attended the marriage of Thames and Medway, 4. 11. Where God and River (that is, Person and Thing) are often indiscriminately put, the one for the other.

B. xxiii. C. iv. S. i.
And a DRY DROPSIE through his flesh did flow.

How can a Dropsy flow, (says Mr. Upton) if it be dry? He proposes to remove this contradiction by reading dire Dropsy, the dirus Hydrops of Horace. But it is plain, that dry Dropsie is the species of the Dropsy so call'd, the dry Dropsy or Tympanites; which Spenser has inaccurately confounded with the other species of the Dropsy, which may not improperly be [Page 210] said to flow through the flesh; not considering the in­consistency of making a dry thing flow. As to Mr. Upton's correction dire, I cannot perceive how DIRE could ever be mistaken by the printers for DRY. Mr. Upton might, with equal propriety, have objected to the following words, DRY Drops.

And with DRY DROPS congealed in her eye.
2. 1. 49.

By the way, it will be difficult also to determine what Spenser means by congealed, which occurs again in the same sense, and on the same occasion,

—In whose faire eye
The crystal humour stood congealed round.
3. 5. 29.

But, upon supposition that the tears were actually frozen in her eye, we should think dry a very odd epithet for ice.

To return: By DRY Dropsie, may not the poet, also mean, a Dropsie, which is the CAUSE of thirst?

B. i. C. iv. S. xlii.
Him little answer'd th' angry Elfin knight.

Mr. Upton reads,

Him angry—

Him angry, says Mr. Upton, means the Paynim, who is said to be enraged above,

Pardon the error of enraged wight.
S. 41.

But because the Paynim is angry, doth it necessarily follow, that the Elfin knight should not be so too? He certainly has reason to be enraged and angry after [Page 211] that bitter taunt, which provokes him to throw down his gauntlet, as a challenge. It is surely wrong to alter the text, when there is neither necessity to re­quire, nor authority to support the correction.

B. i. C. v. S. v.
On th' other side in all mens open view
Duessa placed is, and on a tree
Sans foy his shield is hang'd with bloody hew,
Both those the lawrell garlands to the victor dew.

Mr. Upton thus reads the last line,

Both those AND TH' lawrel garlands to the victor due.

But surely Duessa, and Sans foy his shield, are the lau­rel garlands, that is, the rewards to be given to the conqueror. Laurel garlands are metaphorically used, and put in apposition with Duessa, and Sans foy his shield. It may be urg'd, as another objection to Mr. Upton's alteration, that Spenser never cuts off the vowel in THE before a consonant; upon which ac­count I would reject Hughes's reading of the follow­ing line,

The Nemaean forest 'till th' Amphitryonide—
7. 7. 36.

That editor reads,

TH' Nemaean—

Hughes's reading, indeed, restores the true accent to Nemaean, but Spenser frequently violates the accent of names of ancient places, &c.

B. ii. C. v. S. xxii.
—a flaming fier-brond,
[Page 212]Which she in Stygian lake, AYE BURNING bright,
Had kindled.—

Mr. Upton, upon supposition that we refer aye burn­ing to Fier-brond, does not approve of reading aye-burning, but y-burning. He is unwilling to join ay- (or y) burning to Stygian Lake; for, says he, the lake of brimstone burnt not bright, but only serv'd to make darkness visible. I allow, that Milton's idea of this lake was, that it serv'd to make darkness visible. * But might not Spenser's idea of the Stygian lake be different from Milton's? Besides, why was the wea­pon carried to this Lake to be kindled, unless the Lake was BURNING?

The poet has given us the same image and allego­ry in another place,

Firebrand of hell, first tind in Phlegethon
By thousand furies.—
4. 2. 1.

B. iii. C. ii. S. iii.
But ah! my rimes too rude and rugged are,
When in so high an object they doe lighte,
And striving fit to MAKE, I feare do MARRE.

Mr. Upton remarks, that MAKE, in this passage, signifies to verfify, ΠΟΙΕΙΝ, versus facere. But there is reason to think, that make is here oppos'd to marre, in the same sense as it is in the following lines.

Likewise unequal were her handes twaine,
That one did reach, the other pusht away,
That one did make, the other mard again.
4. 1. 29.

Make and Marr were thus us'd together, as it were [Page 213] proverbially, in our author's age. Thus Harrington, in his Ariosto,

In vaine I seeke my Duke's love to expound,
The more I seeke to make, the more I mard. ††
Yes, answer'd Guidon, be I made or mard. *
Ten years will hardly make that he would marr.

Thus also G. Tuberville to the Countess of War­wick, Ann. 1570.

Should make or marre as she saw cause.

And in these lines from an old translation of Ovid, quoted by the author of the Arte of English Poesie. Medea of her children.

Was I able to make them I pray you tell,
And am I not able to marre them as well?**

Again, in an old bombast play ridicul'd by Shakespere, ‘"And make and marre the foolish fates."(*)

Thus then the meaning of the lines before us is, ‘"My verses are quite unpolish'd for so sublime a subject, so that I spoil or destroy, instead of producing or executing any thing good or perfect."’

In the pastoral JUNE, make is manifestly us'd in the sense versify; and for this we have moreover the testi­mony of E. K.

The god of shepheards Tityrus is dead,
Who taught me homely as I can to MAKE.

Again, in Colin Clouts come home again.

Besides her peerlesse skill in MAKING well,
And all the ornaments of wondrous wit.

[Page 214] That is, Q. Elizabeth, whom in another place he calls,* a PEERLESSE POETESSE. Again,

And hath he skill to MAKE so excellent,
Yet hath so little skill to bridle Love?††

The author of the Art of English poesie generally uses MAKER for POET, ΠΟΙΗΤΗΣ; and if we believe Sir J. Harrington, it was that author who first brought this expression (the significancy of which is much com­mended by Sir P. Sydney, and B. Johnson) into fashion about the age of Q. Elizabeth. ‘"Nor to dispute how high and supernatural the name of a MAKER is, so christned in English, by that unknowne godfather, that this last year save one, viz. 1589, set forth a booke called the Arte of English Poesie."

B. i. C. vii. S. xxxiii.
But all of diamond perfect pure and cleene.

Mr. Upton proposes to read sheene instead of CLEENE. But if this alteration is necessary here, is it not like­wise equally so in the following verses?

And that bright towre all built of crystall CLEENE.
1. 1. 58.

Again in sonnet, 45.

Leave lady in your glasse of crystall CLEENE.

Harrington, in a translation of an epigram of James I. on Sir Philip Sidney's death uses CLEAN as an epithet to Venus's carknet, i. e. a necklace.

[Page 215]
She threw away her rings, and carknet CLEENE.**

B. v. C. vii. S. xiv.
And swearing faith to eyther on his blade.

Mr. Upton observes, that we have here an instance of Spenser's learning, and that he makes his knights swear by their swords agreeable to that custom among the Goths and Hunns, as related by Jornandes, and Amm. Marcellinus. But I am inclin'd to believe, that our author drew this circumstance from books that he was probably much better acquainted with, old romances. In MORTE ARTHUR we have frequent in­stances of knights swearing in this manner. The same ceremony occurs again,

—He made him sweare
By his own sword.—
6. 2. 43.

In another place one of the knights swears by his knighthood, an oath which we likewise frequently meet with in Romance.

—As he did on his knighthood sweare.
6. 3. 18.

B. ii. C. vi. S. v.
More swift than swallow SHERES the liquid sky.

Mr. Upton * produces the expression of sheres the liquid sky, as one of Spenser's Latinisms, from RADIT iter liquidum; and adds, that Milton has likewise us'd [Page 216] the same Latin metaphor; I suppose the passage hin­ted at by Mr. Upton is, where, Satan

—SHAVES with level wings the deep.

But shave and shear are perhaps as different as rado and tondeo. And TONDET iter liquidum would, I believe, be hardly allowed as synonymous to RADIT iter liquidum. My opinion is therefore, that Spenser here intended no metaphor, but that he us'd SHERE for share, to cut or divide, as he has manifestly in these instances.

Cymochles sword on Guyons shield yglaunst
And thereof nigh one quarter SHEARD away.
2. 6. 31.

‘"cut away nigh one quarter."’ In the following instances, for the reason above assign'd, we ought to interpret SHEARE [shere] to cut, or divide.

Which with their finny oars the swelling sea did SHEARE.
3. 4. 33.

And thro' the brackish waves their passage SHEARE.
3. 4. 42.

i. e. cut their way or passage. Thus likewise,

An eagle that with plumy wings doth SHEARE
The subtile ayre.—
3. 7. 38.

In another place we have share, of Arthegall's sword,

But wheresoever it did light it throughly SHARD.
5. 1. 10.

[Page 217] So Milton, of Michael's sword.

—Deep-entring SHAR'D
All his right side*.—

SECT. X. Of Spenser's Allegorical Character.

IN reading the works of an author who lived in a remote age, it is necessary, that we should look back upon the customs and manners which prevailed in his age; that we should place ourselves in his si­tuation, and circumstances; that so we may be the bet­ter enabled to judge and discern how his turn of thinking, and manner of composing were biass'd, in­fluenc'd, and, as it were, tinctur'd, by very familiar and reigning appearances, which are utterly different from those with which we are at present surrounded. For want of this caution, too many readers view the knights and damsels, the turnaments and enchant­ments of Spenser with modern eyes, never consider­ing that the encounters of Chivalry subsisted in our author's age, as has been before hinted; that ro­mances were then most eagerly and universally read; and that thus, Spenser from the fashion of his age, was naturally dispos'd to undertake a recital of chivalrous atchievements, and to become, in short, a ROMANTIC POET.

Nor is it sufficiently consider'd, that a prevalent practice of Spenser's age contributed in a very consi­derable [Page 218] degree to make him an ALLEGORICAL POET. It should be remember'd that, in the age of which we are speaking, allegory was the subject and foun­dation of public shews and spectacles, which were then exhibited with a magnificence superior to that of former times; that the vices and virtues personify'd, and represented by living actors, distinguish'd with their respective emblematical types, were generally in­troduc'd to constitute PAGEANTRIES, which were then the principal entertainments, and shewn not only in private, and upon the stage, but very frequently in the open streets, for solemnising any public occasion. As a proof of what is here advanc'd, I would refer the reader to Hollinshed's * description of the SHEW OF MANHOOD AND DESERT exhibited at Norwich, before queen Elizabeth; and more particularly to his account of a TURNEY performed by Fulke Gre­vile, the lords Arundell, and Windsor, and sir Philip Sydney; who are feign'd to be the children of DESIRE attempting to win the fortresse of BEAUTY; in which last spectacle much poetical invention is discover'd.

[Page 219]In the mean time, I do not deny that our author, was in great measure, induc'd, from the practice of Ariosto, to write a poem partaking much of allegory: yet it must still be granted, that Spenser's manner of allegorizing seems to have rather resulted from some of the spectacles just mention'd, than from what he had red in Ariosto. In fact, Ariosto's allegory does not so much consist in personifying the virtues, vices, and affections of the mind, as it does in adumbrat­ing moral doctrine * under the actions of men and [Page 220] women. In such an adumbration, Spenser's allegory sometimes consists; as in the first book, where The Red-crosse Knight, or a TRUE CHRISTIAN, attended by Una, or TRUTH, defeats the wiles of Archimago, or the DEVIL, &c. &c. yet he has shewn himself a much more ingenious allegorist, where his IMAGINA­TION BODIES forth unsubstantial things, TURNS THEM TO SHAPE, and marks out the nature, powers, and effects of that which is ideal and abstracted, by visible and external symbols; as in his delineations of FEAR, ENVY, FANCY, DESPAIR, and the like. Ariosto gives us but few of these symbolical beings, in comparison of Spenser; and those which he has given us, are by no means drawn with that fullness and distinctness with which they are painted by the latter. And that Spenser painted these figures so fully and distinctly, may we not reasonably attribute it, to his being frequently ha­bituated to the sight of these symbolical beings, distin­guish'd with their proper emblems, and actually en­dued with speech, motion, and life?

As a more convincing argument in confirmation of what has been asserted upon this head, it may be re­mark'd, that Spenser denominates his most exquisite groupe of allegorical figures, the MASKE OF CUPID; thus, without recurring to conjecture, his own words indubitably demonstrate, that he had sometimes repre­sentations of this sort in his eye: he tells us, that these figures were

—a jolly company
In MANNER of a MASKE enranged orderly.
3. 12. 5.

[Page 221] And in his introduction to this groupe, it is manifest that he drew from another allegoric spectacle of age, called the DUMB SHEW*, which was wont to be ex­hibited before every act of a tragedy. St. 3.

And forth issewd, as on the ready flore
Of some theatre, a grave personage,
That in his hand a branch of laurel bore,
With comely haveour, and countnance sage,
Yclad in costly garments, fit for tragicke stage.
Proceeding to the midst he still did stand,
As if in mind he somewhat had to say;
And to the vulgar becking with his hand,
In sign of silence, as to heare a play.
By lively actions he gan bewray
Some argument of matter passioned;
Which doen, he backe retyred soft away;
And passing by, his name discovered,
EASE, on his robe in golden letters cyphered.

He afterwards styles these figures MASKERS.

St. 6.

The whiles the MASKERS marched forth in trim array.
The first was FANCY, like a lovely boy,
Of rare aspect, &c.

From what has been said, I would not have it ob­jected, that I have intended to arraign the natural fertility of our author's invention; and to prove, that he minutely copied after these representations; all that I have endeavoured to inculcate, is, that Spenser was not only better qualified to delineate fictions of this sort, because they were

—OCULIS subjecta fidelibus*

Because they were the real objects of his sight, but that (as all men are influenced by what they see) he was prompted and induced to delineate them, because he saw them, especially as they were so much the de­light of his age.

Instead of entering into an examination of Spenser's manner of allegorising, and of the conduct of his allegories in particular, which has been done with an equally judicious and ingenious discernment by Mr. Spense; I shall mention one capital fault committed by the poet in this point, which does not immediately fall under the rules of criticism.

[Page 223] ‘"Painters, says a French writer, ought to employ their allegories in religious pictures, with much greater reserve than in profane pieces. They may, indeed, in such subjects as do not represent the mysteries and miracles of our religion, make use of [Page 224] an allegorical composition, the action whereof shall be expressive of some truth, that cannot be repre­sented otherwise, either in painting or sculpture. I agree therefore to let them draw FAITH and HOPE supporting a dying person, and RELIGION in deep affliction at the feet of a deceased prelate. But I am of opinion, that artists who treat of the mira­cles and dogmas of our religion, are allowed no kind of allegorical composition.—The facts whereon our religion is built, and the doctrine it delivers us, are subjects in which the painter's imagination has no liberty to sport.*"’ The conduct which this author condemns, is practised by Spenser, with this difference only; that the painters here condemned are supposed to adapt human allegory to divine mystery, whereas Spenser has adopted divine mystery to human allegory. Such a practice as this, is not only to con­found sacred and profane matters, but to place the li­centious sallies of imagination upon a level with the dictates of divine inspiration; to debase the truth and dignity of heavenly things, by making Christian alle­gory subservient to the purposes of Romantic fiction.

This fault our author has most glaringly committed throughout his whole first book, where the imaginary instruments and expedients of romance, are perpetually interwoven with the mysteries contained in the BOOK of REVELATIONS. Duessa, who is formed upon the idea of a romantic enchantress, is gorgeously array'd in gold and purple, and presented with a triple crown [Page 225] by the giant Orgoglio, and seated by him on a mon­strous seven-headed dragon, (i. 7. 16.) whose tail reaches to the skies, and throws down the stars, (St. 18.) she bearing a golden cup in her hand. (1. 8. 25.) This is the SCARLET WHORE, and the RED DRAGON in the REVELATIONS. ‘"Behold a great red dragon, having seven heads, and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads; and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to earth*."’ Again, ‘"I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colour'd beast, full of names of blas­phemy, having seven heads, and ten horns; and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet co­lour, and decked with gold, and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hands, full of abomination, and filthiness of her fornication."’

In Orgoglio's castle, which is describ'd as very magnificent, Prince Arthur discovers

An altar carv'd with cunning imagery,
On which true Christians blood was often spilt,
And holy martyrs often doen to die,
With cruel malice and strong tyranny;
Whose blessed sprites, from underneath the stone,
To God for vengeance cride continually.
1. 8. 36.

The inspir'd author of the above-nam'd sacred book mentions the same of what he saw in heaven. ‘"I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain [Page 226] for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, how long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge, and avenge our blood on them that dwell on earth*?"’

A hermit points out to the RED-CROSSE knight the New Jerusalem, (1. 10. 53.) which an angel discovers to St. John, (c. 21. 10, &c.) This prospect is taken, says the poet, from a mountain more lofty then either the mount of Olives or Parnassus; these two compa­risons thus impertinently linked together, strongly re­mind us of the absurdity we are now speaking of, the mixture of divine truth, with profane invention; and naturally lead us to reflect on the difference be­tween the oracles frequently utter'd from the former, and the fictions of those who dreamt on the latter.

Spenser in the visionary dominions of Una's father has planted the TREE of LIFE, and KNOWLEDGE: from the first of the trees, he says, a well flow'd, whose waters contain'd a most salutary virtue, and which the dragon could not approach. Thus in the same scripture, ‘"He shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the TREE of LIFE".’ The circumstance, in par­ticular, of the dragon not being able to approach this water is literally adopted from Romance, as has been before observ'd**. Thus also by the steps and expe­dients [Page 227] of romance, we are led to the death of the dra­gon who besieged the parents of Una, by which is figur'd the destruction of the old serpent mention'd in the Apocalypse.

The extravagancies of Pagan Mythology are not improperly introduced into a poem of this sort, as they are acknowledged falsities, or at best, if expres­sive of any moral truth, no more than the inventions of men. But he that applies the VISIONS OF GOD in such a manner, is guilty of an impropriety, which, I fear, amounts to an impiety.

If we look back from Spenser's age thro' the state of poesy in this kingdom, we shall find that it prin­cipally consisted in the allegoric species; but that this species never received its absolute consummation till it appear'd with new lustre in the FAERIE QUEENE. There are indeed the works of some English poets now remaining, who wrote before Gower and Chau­cer; but these are chiefly chroniclers in rhyme, and seem to have left us the last dregs of that kind of composition which was practic'd by the British bards: as for instance, the * chronicle of Robert of Glocester, who wrote according to his own account about the year 1280. And hence we may observe, [Page 228] that Gower and Chaucer were reputed the first Eng­lish poets, because they first introduc'd INVENTION into our poetry; they MORALIZED THEIR SONG, and strove to render virtue more amiable, by cloathing her in the veil of fiction. Chaucer, it must be ac­knowledged, deserves to be rank'd as one of the first English poets, on another account; his admirable ar­tifice in painting the manners, which none before him had ever attempted even in the most imperfect de­gree; and it should be remember'd to his honour, that he was the first who gave the English nation, in its own language, an idea of HUMOUR. With these flou­rish'd the author of PIERCE PLOWMAN'S VISIONS, of which I have given an occasional sketch, above. To these succeeded Lydgate, who from his principal performances the FALL OF PRINCES, and STORY of [Page 229] Thebes, might more properly be styled a legendary than allegorical poet; although the first of these, is in great measure, a series of visions*, and the latter contains a groupe of imaginary personages which his master Chaucer cannot surpass. He is describing the company present at the marriage of Oedipus and Jocasta.

But at this wedding plainly for to tell,
Was CERBERUS, chief porter of hell,
And HEREBUS, father to HATRED,
Was there present with his holle kindred,
His wife also with her browes blacke,
And her daughters, sorow for to make,
Hidiously chered, and ugly for to see,
ALECTO eke; with LABOUR, and ENVIE,
And cruel DETH in his rent wede.
Fearfull, pale, DRONKENESSE, and AGE,
Cruell MARS, and many a tigre wood,
Brenning IRE, and unkind blood,

We have of this author two poems, viz. the ** TEMPLE of GLASS, and the DANCE of DEATH, [Page 230] or dance of MACHABREE,* which are both pro­fessedly written in the species of which I am at [Page 231] present speaking. Lidgate has received numberless encomiums from our old English poets, to which [Page 232] his language entitled him, rather than his ima­gination; for though he is a very unaminated writer, yet he made very considerable improvements in the original state of our English versification, by writing in so polite a style; and it ought not to be denied, that Lydgate is the first English poet, who can be red without hesitation and difficulty. To Lydgate succeeded John Harding, who wrote a Chro­nicle, in verse, of all our English kings, from Brutus to the reign of king Edward IV. in which he liv'd. This piece is often commended, and quoted by some of our best antiquaries. But his merit, as an histo­rian, naturally excludes him from that which he should arrogate as a poet: accuracy in collecting, and fideli­ty in relating events, may be, perhaps, justly allow'd him, but not the least effort of invention. So that, from the specimen produced by Harding at this time, there was some reason to presage, that poesy was re­lapsing into its primaeval barbarism; and that the rudeness of Robert of Gloucester, would be reinstated [Page 233] in the place of Chaucer's taste, judgement, and imagination.

However in the reign of Henry VII. ample amends were made for this interval of darkness by Stephen Hawes, a name generally unknown, and not menti­oned by any English compiler of the lives of English poets, but by the accurate Wood*. This author I look upon to be the restorer of invention in our poetry, whose streams had flow'd in a current still more polluted and sluggish, ever since the time of Chaucer. He not only reviv'd, but highly improved the an­tient allegoric vein, which the rhyming chronicle of the last mentioned poet had (as I before hinted) now totally expelled. Instead of that dryness and harsh­ness of description which are so remarkably disgusting in his predecessors, we are by this author often enter­tained with the fullness and luxuriancy of Spenser-Hawes refin'd Lydgate's versification, and gave it, what it wanted, sentiment and invention; added new graces to the seven-lined stanza, which Gower and Chaucer first introduced into our tongue from the Italian; and, to sum up all, was the first of our poets, who taught fertile fancy, and high-wrought fiction to wear the garb of perspicuous and harmonious numbers. The title of his poem is almost as universally un­known as his name, and is as follows. ‘"The history of GRAUNDE AMOURE and LA BEL PUCEL, called the PASTIME OF PLEASURE; contayning the know­ledge of the seven sciences, and the course of man's lyfe in this worlde. Invented by Stephen Hawes, [Page 234] grome of Kyng Henry the seventh his chamber."’ In a note after the contents, it is said to be written in the twenty-first year of Henry VII. which is in the year, 1505.

In the reign of king Henry VIII. learning appear'd with new lustre in this island; and this age is perhaps the first which England ever saw, that may with pro­priety be styled classical; as it was dignify'd with the great names of Sir Thomas More, Colet, dean of St. Paul's, Cheke, Ascham, together with many more illustrious rivals in genius and erudition Nor is it the most inconsiderable honour of this age, that Eras­mus was now entertained and patronized in England; and that the Greek language, in which are reposited the treasures of true learning now began to be taught and admir'd. In this age flourish'd John Skelton, who notwithstanding the great and new lights with which he was surrounded, contributed not the least share of improvement to what his ancestors had left him; nor do I perceive that his versification is in any degree more polish'd than that of his immediate predecessor, Hawes. His best pieces are written in the allegorical manner, and are, his CROWNE of LAU­RELL, and BOWGE OF COURT. But the genius of this author seems little better qualify'd for pic­turesque, than for satyrical poetry; in the former, he wants invention, grace, and dignity; in the lat­ter, wit, and good manners.

I should be guilty of injustice to merit in particu­lar, and to a nation in general, which amidst a variety [Page 235] of disadvantages has kept a constant pace with Eng­land in the progress of literature, were I here to omit the mention of two Scottish poets, who flourish'd a­bout this time, Sir David Lyndesay, and William Dunbar; the former of which, in his DREAM, and other pieces, and the latter in his GOLDEN TERCE, or SHIELD, and in THE THISTLE AND ROSE, has discover'd a genuine spirit of allegorising. Soon af­terwards, appear'd a series of poems, entitled the MIRROR OF MAGISTRATES, form'd upon a * dra­matic plan, and capable of admitting some of the most affecting pathetical strokes; but these, however honour'd with the commendation of Sir Philip Syd­ney, are little better than a biographical detail. There is one piece indeed among the rest, which exhibits a train of imaginary personages so beautifully drawn, [Page 236] that in all probability they contributed to stimulate and awaken the imagination of Spenser, in forming the like descriptions. This however may be affirm'd from demonstration, that SACKVILLE'S INDUCTION ap­proaches nearer to the FAERIE QUEENE in allegoric representation than any previous or succeeding poem.

After the FAERIE QUEENE, allegory began to de­cline, and by degrees gave place to a * species of com­position in which the perplex'd subtilities of metaphy­sical disquisition strongly prevail'd; and which per­haps took it's rise from the taste and influence of that pacific prince, and profound scholastic James I.

Then Una fair 'gan drop her princely mien.

Allegory notwithstanding abruptly discover'd itself once more with somewhat of it native splendor in the * PURPLE ISLAND of Fletcher, with whom it al­most as soon disappear'd; when a poetry succeeded in [Page 237] which imagination gave way to correctness; sublimity of description to delicacy of sentiment, and striking imagery to conceit and epigram. Poets began now to be more attentive to words, than things and objects; and a manner of expressing a thought prettily, was more regarded than that of conceiving one nobly. The Muses* were debauch'd at court, and life and man­ners became their themes; insomuch that the simpli­city and true Sublime of the PARADISE LOST, was by these triflers either totally disregarded, or else mistaken for insipidity, and bombast.

[Page 238]Without conducting the reader any farther thro' the succeeding stages and revolutions of the poetical re­public in this kingdom, I shall beg his pardon for having proceeded thus far in an enquiry that may seem a deviation from the subject of this section, which I shall conclude with the sentiments of the Abbe Du Bos on allegorical action, which tho' applied by him to dramatic poets, are equally appli­cable to the action of the FAERIE QUEENE. ‘"It is impossible for a piece, whose subject is an allegorical action, to interest us very much. Those which writers of approved wit and talents have hazarded in this kind, have not succeeded so well as others, where they have been dispos'd to be less ingenious, and to treat historically their subject.—Our heart requires truth even in fiction itself; and when it is presented with an allegorical action, it cannot deter­mine itself, (if I may be allowed the expression) to enter into the sentiments of those chimerical person­ages. It considers them as enigmas and symbols, that envelop some precepts of morality, or satyrical strokes, which properly belong to the jurisdiction of the mind. Now a theatrical piece, were it to speak only to the mind, would never be capable of engag­ing [Page 239] our attention thro' the whole performance. We may therefore apply the words of Lactantius upon this occasion.* Poetic licence has its bounds, be­yond which you are not permitted to carry your fiction. A poet's art consists in making a good re­presentation of things that might have really hap­pened, and embellishing them with elegant images. TOTUM AUTEM, QUOD REFERAS, FINGERE, ID EST INEPTUM ESSE ET MENDACEM, POTIUS QUAM POETAM."’

SECT. XI. Containing Miscellaneous Remarks.

IN reading the FAERIE QUEENE some observations necessarily occured which could not be conveniently referr'd to the general heads of the foregoing sections, which, in this, are thrown together without connection, as they occasionally and successively offered themselves.

B.i. Introduct. S.i.
Fierce warres, and faithfull loves shall MORALIZE my song.

By the word moralize, Spenser declares his design of writing an allegorical poem; tho' my subject, says he, consists of fierce wars and faithfull loves, yet under these shall be couch'd moral doctrine, and the pre­cepts of virtue. Our author, in another place, styles his FAERIE QUEENE A MORALL LAY, where the shepherd addresses Colin Clout, who represents Spenser,

[Page 240]
Whether it were some Hymne, or MORALL LAY,
Or caroll made to please thy loved laste.

And bishop Hall, in his prologue to his satires where he alludes to this poem, hints at the preceptive na­ture of it in these words; speaking of the swords of Elfish Knights,

—Or sheath them new
In misty MORAL types.—

And Drayton calls our author, with reference to the morality contained in the FAERIE QUEENE,

—Grave, MORALL Spenser.*

B. i. C. i. S. vii. Of a grove.

Not perceable with power of any star.

It was an antient superstition that stars had a malign influence on trees. Hence Milton, in Arcades,

Under the shady roof
Of branching elm, STAR-PROOF.

And in the same poem.

And heal the harmes of thwarting thunder blue;
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smiles.

Where dire-looking is drawn from the astrological term, malign aspect. B. i. C. i. S. xv.Speaking of the young ones of error.

[Page 241]
Into her mouth they crept, and suddaine all were gone.

This circumstance is not the poet's invention; it is reported of adders by many naturalists.

B. i. C. i. S. xlv.
—Made a lady of that other spright
And fram'd of liquid ayre her tender parts.

Thus a false Florimel is made of snow, animated with a spright, 3. 8. 5. Mr. Pope thinks that our author drew the idea of his false Florimel from that passage in Homer where Apollo raises a phantom in the shape of Aeneas, B. 5. Iliad. and from the fictitious Turnus of Virgil; Aen. 10. 637. But he probably borrow'd it more immediately from romance, where magicians are often feigned to dress up some wicked spirit with a counterfeit likeness, in order to carry on their pur­poses of deception.

B. i. C. ii. S. xi.
In mighty arms he was yclad anon,
And silver shield; upon his coward brest
A bloudie cross.—

Thus Archimago disguises himself in the accoutre­ments of the Red-Cross Knight, who, as we were be­fore told, was

Yclad in mightie armes, and silver shield,
i. i i.


—On his brest a bloudie crosse he bore,
S. 2.

B. i. C. v. S. ii.
At last the golden oriental gate
Of greatest heaven gan to open faire,
And phoebus, fresh as bridegroome to his mate,
Came dauncing forth, shaking his dewy hair.

[Page 242] Spenser, as Mr. Jortin observes, plainly alluded to this text in the Psalms,* ‘"In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun; which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoyceth as a giant to run his course."’ But our author has strangely inverted the circumstances. The psalmist alludes to the Jewish custom of the bridegroom being conducted from his chamber at midnight, with great pomp, and preceded by a great number of torches. This is the illustration of the admirable Dr. Jackson, and without it the comparison is of no force or pro­priety. The idea which our author would convey is, that, Phoebus came forth fresh and vigorous as a bridegroom, when he goes to his bride. The cir­cumstance of Phoebus ‘"came dauncing forth"’ seems to have been copied by Milton in his elegant song on May morning.

Now the bright morning-star, dayes harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east.—

But probably Milton drew it from an old poem, cal­led, the CUCKOW, by R. Niccols, 1607, who speak­ing of the east, says,

From whence the daies bright king came dancing out.

especially as Milton has two thoughts in that song, which are likewise in the CUCKOW. Milton calls the morning star

—Day's harbinger.

Niccols calls the cock

—Daies harbinger.

[Page 243] Milton says of May,

—Who from her green lap throwes
The yellow cowslip, &c.

Niccols of May,

And from her fruitfull lap eche day she threw
The choicest flowres—

Milton, I suppose, had been reading this poem of the CUCKOW just before he wrote his song, and so im­perceptibly adopted some of its thoughts and expres­sions. And here it may be observ'd, that in critici­sing upon Milton, Johnson, Spenser, and some other of our elder poets, not only a competent knowledge of all antient classical learning is requisite, but also an acquaintance with those books, which, though now forgotten and lost, were yet in repute about the time in which each author respectively wrote, and which it is most likely he had red.

B. i. C. iii. S. v.
A ramping Lion, &c.

A Lion here fawns upon Una. It is the doctrine of romance, that a Lion will do no injury to a true virgin.

B. i. C. iv. S. xiv.
Some frounce their curled haire in courtly guise,
Some pranke their ruffes—

According to the fashion of dress which prevail'd in the poet's age.

B. i. C. v. S. x.
At last the Paynim chaunct to cast his eye,
His suddaine eye, flaming with wrathfull fire,
[Page 244]Upon his brothers shield which hung thereby;
Therewith redoubled was his raging ire,
And said, ah wretched sonne of wofull sire,
Dost thou sit wayling by blacke Stygian lake,
While here thy shield is hang'd for victors hire?

In this beautiful circumstance, he, probably, received a distant hint from Virgil.

Infelix humero cum apparuit ingens
Baltheus, & notis fulserunt cingula bullis
Pallantis, &c.
Ille oculis postquam saevi monumenta doloris
Exuviasque hausit, furiis accensus, & ira
Terribilis, Tune hinc, &c.*

B. i. C. vii. S. i.
—What earthly wit so WARE.

‘"So prudent."’ This word puts me in mind of a correction, which Mr. Upton has made in Chaucer.

Full fetise was her cloke, as I was WARE.

Mr. Upton cannot make sense of this; and therefore proposes to read,

Full fetise was her cloke as was iware.

That is, ‘"As handsom as was worn by any woman."’

But the expression, I was ware, occurs again in Chaucer.

[Page 245]
Betwixt an Hulfere, and a wode bende
As I was ware, I sawe where laie a man.*

And, I presume, signifies, in both placet, as, I was AWARE, as, I perceiv'd; and we meet with, was I ware, after this manner,

Tho was I ware of pleasance anon right.

very frequently; which is the same as, I WAS WARE.

B. i. C. vii. S. xxiv.
The which these reliques sad present unto mine eye.

That is, her knight's armor; which the Dwarf brings to her. St. 19.

B. i. C. ix. S. xix.
—A box of diamond sure
EMBOWD with gold, and gorgeous ornament.

EMBOW'D, i. e. ‘"arched, arcuatus, bent like a BOW."’ A box having a vaulted cover of gold. Spenser, in the Visions of the world's vanity, expresses the curve of the Moon by this word.

EMBOWED like the moon.

Harrington, in his Orlando Furioso, makes use of EMBOWD, to denote the concave appearance of the clouds in the sky.

Ev'n as we see the sunne obscurd sometime
By sudden rising of a mistie cloud,
[Page 246]Engendred by the vapor-breeding slime,
And in the middle region there EMBOWD.*

Gascoigne in Jocasta, a tragedy, applies EMBOWD to a roof.

The gilted roofes EMBOWD with curious worke.

That is, vaulted with curious work: and Milton,

—The high, EMBOWED roof
With antique pillars massy-proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light,
There let the pealing organ blow
To the full-voiced quire below,(†)

Impressions made in earliest youth, are ever after­wards most strongly felt; and I am inclin'd to think, that Milton was first affected with, and often in­dulg'd the pensive pleasure, which the awful solemnity of a Gothic church conveys to the mind, and which is here so feelingly describ'd, while he was a school­boy at St. Paul's. The church was then in its origi­nal Gothic state, and one of the noblest patterns of that kind of architecture.

B. i. C. x. S. lxiv.
Sith to thee is unknowne the cradle of thy brood.

Thus again,

Even from the cradle of his infancy.
5. 1. 5.

[Page 247] Thus also G. Gascoigne to Lady Bridges.

Lo thus was Bridges hurt
In cradel of her kynd.

And in the Hymne in honour of Love,

The wondrous cradle of thine infancy.

B. i. C. xi. S. liv. Of the Dragon's death.

So downe he fell, and forth his life did breath
That vanisht into smoake, and clowdes swift.

We meet with the same circumstance in Hawes's Pastime of Pleasure. But it is usual in Romance.

B. i. C. xii. S. xxxviii.
To drive away the dull melancholy.

The same verse occurrs, and upon the same occasion.

1. 5. 3.

B. ii. C. i. S. vi.
And knighthood tooke of good Sir HUON's hand.

There was an old romance, entitled, Sir HUON OF BOURDEAUX; mention'd among other old histories of that kind, in the letter concerning Q. Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenelworth, above quoted.*

B. ii. C. i. S. liii.
The woods the nymphes, the bowres my mid­wives were,
Hard help at need.—

[Page 248]Heroines in Romance are often deliver'd in solitary forrests, without assistance; and the child, thus born, generally proves a knight of most extraordinary puis­sance.

B. ii. C. ii. S. iv.
To shewe how sore BLOUD-GUILTINESSE he hat'th.

We meet with BLOUD-GUILTINESSE again below.

S. 30.

—With BLOUD-GUILTINSESE to heap offence.


Or that BLOUD-GUILTINESSE or guile them blot.
2. 7. 19.

This is a word which would have been rank'd among Spenser's obsolete terms, had it not been accidently preserv'd to us, in the translation of the Psalms us'd in our Liturgy, ‘"Deliver me from BLOUD-GUILTI­NESSE, O God." The same may be said of BLOUD-THIRSTIE,

And high advancing his BLOUD-THIRSTIE BLADE.

B. i. C. viii. S. xvi.
—As doth a hidden moth
The inner garment fret, not th' utter touch.

He seems to have had his eye on that verse in the Psalms, ‘"Like as it were a moth fretting a garment."*

B. ii. C. iii. S. xxix.
Her dainty paps which like young fruit in May
Now little gan to swell, and being tide,
Through their thin weed their places only signifide.

[Page 249]Dryden, who had a particular fondness for our au­thor, has copied this passage, in Cymon and Iphigenia.

Her bosom to the view was only bare;
Where two beginning paps were scarcely spy'd,
For yet their places were but signify'd.

B. ii. C. iii. S. xxxiii.
O Goddesse (for such I thee take to bee)
For neither doth thy face terrestrial shew,
Nor voice sound mortall, &c.—

Drawn from Aeneas's address to his mother, and in the same manner again,

Angell, or Goddesse, do I call thee right.
3. 5. 35.

Milton has finely applied this manner of address (originally drawn from Ulysses's address to Nausicaa, Odyss. 6.) in Comus.

—Hail foreign wonder!
Whom certain these rough shades did never breed,
Unless the goddess that in rural shrine
Dwellst here with Pan and Sylvan; by blest song
Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood.

This is highly agreeable to the character of the flat­tering and deceitful Comus; and the supposition that she was the goddess or genius of the wood, resulting from the situation of the persons, is new as well as pro­per. [Page 250] There is another passage in Comus, whose sub­ject is not much unlike that of the verses just pro­duc'd, which, probably, Milton copied from Euripides.

Their port was more than human, as they stood;
I took it for a faery vision
Of some gay creatures of the element,
That in the colors of the rain-bow live,
And play i' th' plighted clouds: I was awe-strook,
And, as I past, I worship'd.—

Comus thus describes to the Lady her brothers. And thus a shepherd, in Iphigenia in Tauris, describes Py­lades and Orestes to Iphigenia.

[...], &c.
[...], &c.

Hic geminos vidit juvenes quidam
Pastor nostrum, & recessit retro
Summis [pedum] relegens vestigium,
Et dixit, non videtis? Daemones quidam
[Page 251] Sedent isti [hic]: quidam verò de nobis religiosior
Sustulit manus, & adoravit, intuens,
O marinae Leucotheae fili, &c.
O Domine Palaemon, &c.
Sive in littore vos sedetis Gemini.

I shall take this opportunity of pointing out one or two more of Milton's imitations; by which it will farther appear, how well he knew to make a bor­row'd thought or description his own, by the pro­priety of the application. Michael thus speaks of what would happen to Paradise in the universal De­luge.

—then shall this mount
Of Paradise, by might of waves be mov'd
Out of his place, push'd by the horned flood,
With all his verdure spoil'd, and trees adrift,
Down the great river to the opening gulf;
And there take root, an iland salt and bare,
The haunt of seals, and orcs, and seaw-mews clang.

Delos (in Homer's hymn to Apollo) tells Latona, that he is unwilling that Apollo should be born in his island,

[Page 252] [...],

Ne cùm primum videat, lumen solis
Insulam dedecoret, (quoniam asperum solum sum)
Pedibus conculcans, & impellet in maris Pelagus.
Ubi me quidem magna unda, magnâ vi abunde semper
Inundabit; ille autem ad aliam terram veniet, ubi placuerit ipsi,
Constructurus templum, lucosque arboribus densos.
Polypodes autem in me thalamos, Phocaeque nigrae
Domicilia facient, neglecta multitudine hominum.

In the same book, some of the circumstances in Mi­chael's account of the Flood, seem to be drawn from an Ode of Casimir, entitled, Noe Vaticinium.

—Sea cover'd sea,
Sea without shore; and in their palaces,
Where Luxury late reign'd, sea-monsters whelp'd
And stabled.—*

Noah is introduc'd by Casimir, thus describing the effects of the Flood.

Aut ubi turrigerae potentum
Arces Gigantum? queis modo liberi
[Page 253] Festo choreas agmine plausimus,
Delphines insultant plateis,
Et vacuas spaciosa cete
Ludunt per aulas, ac thalamus pigrae
Pressere Phocae.

B. ii. C. v. S. vi.
—The upper marge
Of his seven-folded shield.—

This seems to be Virgil's,

Clypei extremos septemplicis orbes. *

B. ii. C. v. S. xxxiii.
The SUGRED liquor thro' his melting lips.

SUGRED, to express excessive sweetness, was a fre­quent epithet with the poets of this age, and with those of the ages before it. It answer'd to the Mel­litus of the Romans.

B. ii. C. vi. S. viii.
But to weake wench did yeeld his martial might.

Some late editors of Shakespere have endeavour'd to prove, that wench did not antiently carry with it the idea of meanness or infamy. But in this place it plainly signifies a loose woman; and in the following passages of Chaucer. January having suspected his wife May's conjugal fidelity, May answers,

I am a gentlewoman, and no WENCH.

[Page 254] And in the House of Fame, wench is coupled with groom,

Lord, and Ladie, grome, and WENCH.*

B. ii. C. vi. S. viii.
—One sweet drop of sensuall delight.

Lucretius has given us this metaphor.

Dulcedinis in cor
Stillavit Gutta.—

B. ii. C. vi. S. xxviii.
Thou RECREANT knight.—

RECREANT knight, is a term of romance. Thus in MORTE ARTHUR. ‘"Than said the knight to the king, thou art in my daunger whether me lyst to save thee or to sley thee; and but thou yeeld thee as overcome and RECREANT, thou shalt dye. As for death said king Arthur, welcome be it when it cometh; but as to yeeld me to thee as RECREANT, &c."(†)

B. ii. C. vii. S. iii.
In smith's fire-spetting forge.—

SPETT seems anciently to have more simply signify'd DISPERSE, without the low idea which we at present affix to it. Thus Milton in Comus,

—When the dragon woom
Of stygian darkness SPETTS her thickest gloom.

[Page 255] And Drayton, in the barons wars, of an exhalation

—SPETTETH his lightening forth,

B. ii. C. viii. S. v. A description of an angel.

Beside his head there sate a faire young man
Of wondrous beauty, and of freshest yeares,
Whose tender bud to blossom new began,
And flourish faire above his equall peares;
His snowy front, curled with golden haires,
Like Phoebus face adorn'd with sunny rayes,
Divinely shone; and two sharp-winged sheares
Decked with diverse plumes like painted jayes,
Were fixed at his backe, to cut his ayerie wayes.

Milton* in his description of Satan under the form of a stripling-cherub, has highly improv'd upon Spen­ser's angel, and Tasso's Gabriel, both which he seems to have had in his eye. And in his Raphael.** Many authors, before Milton, have describ'd angels, in which they have insisted only upon the graces of youth and beauty. But it must be granted, that our great countryman was the first that ever attempted to give, or who, at the same time, gave with becoming majesty, the idea of an ARMED ANGEL. He, pro­bably, receiv'd some hints, in this respect, from painting, swhich he had seen in Italy; particularly from one by Raphael, where Michael, clad in celestial panoply, triumphs over Satan chain'd. [Page 256] B. ii. C. x. S. vii. Speaking of Albion,

But farre in land a salvage nation dwelt
Of hideous giants.—

This puts me in mind of Geoffry of Monmouth's ac­count of the original state of Albion. ‘"Erat tunc nomen insulae Albion, quae a nemine nisi a PAUCIS GI­GANTIBUS inhabitabatur."’ A few giants in that hi­storian's opinion were but of little consideration.

B. ii. C. xi. S. xviii.
—Let fly
Their fluttring arrows thick as flakes of snow.

So Virgil,

Fundunt simul undique tela
Crebra, nivis ritu. *

Thus again,

—Arrowes haild so thick.—
5. 4. 38.

And in the same stanza,

—A sharpe showre of arrowes—

And above,

For on his shield as thick as stormy show'r
Their stroakes did raine.—
2. 8. 35.

Which two last instances are more like Virgil's ferreus imber.

[Page 257]
B. ii. C. xi. S. xxxv.
—Thereby there lay
An huge great stone which stood upon one end,
And had not had been removed many a day.
* * * * * * * * *
The same he snatcht, and with exceeding sway
Threw at his foe.—

Among other instances of the extraordinary strength of heroes in lifting a huge stone, describ'd by the antient poets, I think the following in Apollonius has never been alledged. Jason crushes the growing warriors with a vast stone.


Arripit e campo magnum & rotundum saxum,
Mirum Martis Gradivi discum; non ipsum viri
Juvenes quatuor ne paulum quidem terra elevassent,
Id sumptum in manibus valde procul in medios abjecit

But Jason was assisted in this miraculous effort by the enchantments of Medea.

[Page 258]
B. ii. C. xii. S. lx.
And in the midst of all a fountaine stood.

Hardly any thing is describ'd with greater pomp and magnificence than artificial fountains in Romance. See a glorious one in Ariosto. 42. 91.

B. ii. C. xii. S. lxxxi.
But one above the rest in speciall
That had an hog been late, hight Grill by name,
Repined greatly, and did him miscall,
That had from human shape him brought to naturall.

Mr. Jortin * observes, that this is taken from a Dia­logue in Plutarch, inscrib'd, [...];’ where Gryllus, one of the compa­nions of Ulysses, transform'd into a hog by Circe, holds a discourse with Ulysses, and refuses to be re­stor'd to his human shape.

Not many years before the FAERIE QUEENE was written, viz. 1548, Gelli published his Circe, which is declar'd in the Preface to be founded upon the Dia­logue of Plutarch, mention'd by Mr. Jortin. Circe soon became a very popular book, and was translated into English (as likewise into other languages) in the Year 1557, by one Henry Iden; so that, probably, Spenser had red it; and might be induc'd to consult that Dialogue, from its mention in the preface.

[Page 259]
B. iii. C. i. S. xiv.
Save Beares, Lyons, and Buls which romed them around.

This verse would be improv'd in its harmony, by reading,

Save Lyons, Beares, and Buls, &c.

As would the following also,

Yet was admired much of fooles, women, and boyes.
5. 2. 30.

If we were to read,

Yet was admired much of women, fooles, and boyes.

But these corrections are made by the critic, upon a supposition that his author must infallibly have writ­ten what was best. It may be laid down as a general rule, that an Alexandrine cannot be harmonious with­out a full pause after the third foot. Thus,

That spear enchanted was—which laid thee on the green.

Consequently the sixth syllable must necessarily be a monosyllable, or the last syllable of a word; for we cannot make a full pause in the middle of a word, upon which account such Alexandrines as these are necessarily inharmonious.

So in his angry cour—age fairly pacify'd.
That bore a Lyon pass—ant in a golden field.
But that he must do batt—el with the sea-nymph's son.
And to her watry cham—ber swiftly carry him.

[Page 260] And because a full pause must be made on the last syllable of the third foot, the third foot should never consist of a Trochee, for then we should be oblig'd to lay the greater stress upon the short syllable; as if the third foot was to be Beāuty̆, Coūrăge, grēedy̆, flōwry̆, or the like.

And it may be further remark'd, that an Iambus, for the third foot, will make the verse more musical, as the pause will be more strong after a short syllable. Thus,

Fit to adorn thĕ dēad,—and deck the dreary tomb.
That art thus foully̆ flēd—from famous enemy.

For the same reason an Iambic foot at the end of any English verse has a good effect.

An Alexandrine entirely consisting of Iambic feet, answers precisely to a pure Iambic verse of the antients. Thus,

Thĕ gēntlĕ Evē ăwākes rĕfrēshfŭll āirs ăroūnd.

Equēs sŏnāntĕ vērbĕrābĭt ūngŭlā.

In reading this kind of measure, the antients did not, probably, huddle the syllables together, as we do: but it would be difficult to point out the places at which they made their pauses. Why should the fol­lowing pure Iambic of Sophocles,*


Be red like mere prose, without any certain pause, or division? and this verse of Anacreon,

Be red with these rests,


May we not suppose, that the Iambic of Sophocles was red with some such divisions as these,


Which are not very unlike those which we make use of in reading the above English Alexandrine (or Iambic) verse,

The gen-tle Eve-awakes-refresh-full airs-around.

It may be observ'd, that a Latin Hexameter is essen­tially distinguish'd from a prose sentence, only by being ended with a Dactyle preceding a Spondee; upon which account our manner of reading the end­ings of such Hexameters as these, procumbit Humi Bos, Oceano Nox, amica Luto Sus, &c. is probably wrong. According to our present manner of reading them, the whole verse doth not differ in sound from an Ora­tio prosaica; contrary therefore to our present prac­tice, we should take care to express the Dactyle and Spondee thus—Ocean—o Nox; and so of the rest. And that this was the practice of the antients, may be farther infer'd from these words of Quintilian, on reading verses, ‘"SIT LECTIO VIRILIS, ET CUM SEVERITATE QUADAM GRAVIS; ET NON QUIDEM PROSAE SIMILIS QUIA CARMEN EST."*

[Page 262]
B. iii. C. i. S. xvi.
All as a blazing starre doth farre outcast
His hairie beames, and flaming lockes disspred.

Hairie seems to be an odd epithet for Beames. I once thought that Spenser might have wrote, airie beames, i. e. beams streaming through the air. But hairie is undoubtedly the genuine reading, as the ad­jective and substantive, hairie and beames, are alternate­ly inverted and oppos'd to flaming and locks.

B. iii. C. i. S. lvi.
And every knight, and every gentle squire
Gan chuse his dame with bascio mani gay.

With bascio mani, Ital. with kissing her hands: a phrase, perhaps, common in our author's age, when Italian manners were universally affected.

B. iii. C. i. S. lxii.
—Out of her FILED bed.

‘"Out of her DEFILED bed."’

B. iii. C. ii. S. xxv.
He bore a crowned little Ermilin,
That deckt the azure field with her faire POULDRED skin.

That is, with her skin spotted, or variegated; in its primary sense, besprinkled: this is the genuine spelling of powder'd, according to the etymology to which Skin­ner conjectures it to belong, viz. a pulvere, conspergo [Page 263] pulvere. We find the substantive POWDER generally spelt thus in old authors.

Thus B. Johnson,

And of the POULDER-plot they will talk yet.*

Spenser again uses the verb in its sense, besprinkle,

—A crowne
POWDRED with pearle and stone.—
5. 10. 31.

Thus Sir Ph. Sydney, in Astrophell and Stella,††

Some one his song in Jove, and Jove's strange tales attires,
Border'd with buls and swans, POWDRED with golden raine.

Thus Harrington,

—A horse of dainty hew
* * * * * *
His collour py'd, POWDRED with many a spot.

Again, where it may be interpreted, embroider,

She dreamt the bases of her loved knight,
Which she embrodred blacke the other day,
With spots of red were POWDRED all in sight.(*)

Thus also Chaucer,

Full gay was all the ground, and queint,
And POWDRED as men had it peint.(†)
[Page 264]The grounde was grene, YPOUDRED with daisye.*

And, in the following instance, it seems to be lite­rally used for embroidering.

Aftir a sorte the collir and the vente
Lyke as armine is made in purfilinge,
With grete perlis ful fine and orient,
They were couchid all aftir one worching,
With diamondes instede of POUDIRING.

I had not collected all these instances, but with a de­sign of placing an expression of Milton in a proper light.

—The Galaxy, that milky way,
Which nightly as a circling zone thou seest
POWDRED with stars.(*)

That is, ‘"The milky way, which every night ap­pears to you, like a circling zone besprinkled or em­broider'd with stars."’ To the majority of readers, I dare say, powdred with stars has ever appear'd a very mean, or rather ridiculous, metaphor. It oc­currs in Sackville's Induction to the MIRROR OF MAGISTRATES.

Then looking upwards to the heaven's leames,
With night's bright STARRES thick POWDRED every where.

That is, thick-besprinkled, or variegated. Sandys, in his notes to the CHRISTUS PATIENS of Grotius, speaking of the Veil in Solomon's Temple, ‘"says, that it was POWDRED with Cherubims."(†)

[Page 265]
B. iii. C. ii. S. xlviii.
For the faire damsell from the holy HERSE
Her love-sicke heart to other thoughts did steale.

From the holy herse, is, I suppose, the same as if he had said, from the holy HERSAL, which is us'd after­wards.

—sad HERSAL of his heavy strife.
3. 11. 18.

So that holy herse is here, the rehearsal of the prayers in the church-service, at which Britomart is now de­scrib'd as present. HERSE occurs, in the Pastoral of November, as the burden of Colin's song, "O heavie HERSE," and, "O happie HERSE" where E. K. interprets HERSE, The solemne Obsequie in Funerals.

B. iii. C. iii. S. xxvi.
But sooth he is the sonne of Gorlois.

This is the Gorlois of whom Milton speaks,*

Tum gravidam Arturo, fatali fraude, Iogernen,
Mendaces vultus, assumptaque Gorlois arma,
Merlini dolus.

Geoffrey of Monmouth informs us, that Uther Pendragon fell in love with Igerne, or Iogerne, the wife of Gorlois prince of Cornwall. In the absence of Gorlois, Merlin, by his magic, transform'd Uther into the likeness of Gorlois, and one Ulfin into the likeness of Jordan, a familiar friend of Gorlois, him­self assuming the figure of one Bricel; by means of [Page 266] which artifice, Uther enjoy'd Iogerne, and begot king Arthur. Spenser, in his Epistle to Sir W. Raleigh, calls Iogerne, or Igerne, the Lady IGRAYNE.

B. iii. C. iii. S. liii.
Bardes tell of many women valorous
Which have full many feates adventurous
Perform'd in paragone of proudest men:
The bold Bonduca, whose victorious
Exploits made Rome to quake, stout Guendolen,
Renowned Martia, and redoubted Emmelen.

Glauce, with the greatest propriety, is here made to allude to the bards, whose * business it was to sing to the harp the warlike atchievements of their countrymen, and who flourished in high perfection, at the time in which our author has suppos'd the events of the FAERIE QUEENE to have fallen out. They are in­troduc'd, with no less consistency, playing upon their harps in the hall of the House of PRIDE.

—Many bards that to the trembling chord
Can tune their timely voices cunningly.
1. 5. 3.

The bards were usually employ'd upon such public occasions, in bower or hall, as Milton terms it.

B. iii. C. v. S. xxxii.
There whether it divine Tobacco were,
Or Panacea, or Polygony.

[Page 267]Tobacco was, at this time, but newly discover'd to the English, and not an ordinary herb, as it is at pre­sent. Probably Tobacco is here mention'd, with so much honour, by way of paying a compliment to Sir Walter Raleigh, our author's friend and patron, who first introduc'd and us'd Tobacco in England.

B. iii. C. vii. S. vi.
There in a gloomy hollowe glen she found
A little cottage built of stickes and reedes,
In homely wise, and wall'd with sods around,
In which a witch did dwell, in loathely weedes,
And wilfull want, all carelesse of her needes.

Witches were thought really to exist in the age of Queen Elizabeth, and our author had, probably, been struck with seeing such a cottage as this, in which a witch was suppos'd to live. Those who have perus'd Mr. Blackwall's Enquiry into the life and writings of Homer, will be best qualified to judge how much better enabled that poet is to describe, who copies from living objects, than he who describes, in a later age, from tradition.

B. iii. C. vii. S. ix.
Wiping the tears from her SUFFUSED eyes.

So Virgil,

Tristior, atque oculos lacrymis SUFFUSA nitentes. *

B. iii. C. vii. S. lii.
Her well beseemes that QUEST.—

[Page 268]QUEST is a term properly belonging to Romance, importing the expedition in which the knight is en­gag'd, and which he is oblig'd to perform. It is a very common word with Spenser.

B. iii. C. viii. S. xxxix.
Sometimes he boasted, that a God he hight
But she a mortal creature loved best;
Then he would make himself a mortal wight,
But then she said she lov'd none but a Faerie knight.
Then like a Faerie knight himself he drest.

The use which the poet here makes of Proteus's power of changing his shape, is artful enough.

B. iii. C. x. S. viii.
—Ballads, * VIRELAYES, and verses vaine.

[Page 269]Virelayes are often mention'd by Chaucer, and our old poets. G. Gascoigne, in his Defence of rhyme, gives [Page 270] this account of Virelayes. ‘"There is an old kinde of rhyme called VERLAYES, deriv'd, as I have redde, of the worde verde which betokeneth greene, and laye which betokeneth a song, as if you would say GREENE SONGES. But I must tell you by the way, that I never redde any verse which I saw by autho­ritie called VERLAY, but one; and that was a long discourse in verses of tenne sillabeles, whereof the four first did rhyme across; and the fyfth did an­swere to the fyrst and thyrde, breaking off there, and so going on to another termination. Of this I could shew example of imitation, in myne owne verses written to the right honourable the Lorde Grey of Wilton."’ E. G.

[Page 271]
A strange conceit, a vaine of new delight
Twixt weale and woe, 'twixt weale and bitter griefe,
Hath pricked foorth my hastie pen to write
This worthlesse verse, in hazard of reproofe,
And to mine alder-lievest Lord I must indice.

B. iii. C. x. S. xii.
As Hellene when she sawe aloft appeare
The Trojane flames, and reach to heavens hight,
Did clap her hands, and joyed at that dolefull sight.

Virgil tells us, that Helen, while Troy was burning, hid herself for fear.

Illa sibi infestos eversa ob Pergama Teucros,
Et paenas Danaum, & deserti conjugis iras
Permetuens, Trojae & patriae communis erynnis,
Abdiderat sese, atque aris invisa sedebat. *

Spenser's lines put me in mind of a thought in one of Daniel's sonnets, which seems to be copied by Waller.

Who whilst I burne she sings at my soules wracke
Looking aloft from turret of her pride;
There my soules tyrant joyes her in the sacke
Of her owne seat.—

Daniel here alludes to a circumstance related of Nero; and Waller seems to have imitated Daniel's applica­tion of it.

[Page 272]
Thus Nero with his harp in hand survey'd
His burning Rome, and as it burnt he play'd.*

B. iii. C. x. S. xxxv.
For having filcht her bells, her up he cast
To the wide world, and let her fly alone.

Here is a metaphor taken from hawking; a diver­sion highly fashionable in our author's age, to which he frequently alludes, and from whence he has drawn a very great number of comparisons. The hawk's bells are mention'd afterwards,

Like as an hawke, that feeling herself freed
From bells and jesses, which did let her flight.
6. 4. 19.

B. iii. C. xii. S. xli.
He bound that piteous lady prisoner now releast.

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

But whilst his stony heart was toucht with tender truth.
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.

[Page 273]
But I God's counsel have not kept, his holy secret
Presumptuously have publish'd, &c.*

The preceding line is,

The mark of fool set 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.

B. iv. C. ii. S. ii.
Such musick is wise words with time CONCENTED.

CONCENTED, from the substantive concent, which we meet 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,

But the small birds in their wide boughs embowring
Chaunted their sundry tunes with sweet CONCENT.

Probably in the Epithalamion, where Spenser is speaking of many birds singing together,

So goodly all agree with sweet consent,

Instead of consent, we should read CONCENT. Milton uses the word in his poem, at a solemn music,

That undisturbed song of pure CONCENT
Aye sung before the sapphire-colourd throne.

[Page 274] As it has been restor'd instead of content, upon the best authority, by Dr. Newton, in his late very use­ful edition of Milton's poetical works. B. iv. C. iii. S. i.Speaking of mankind,

That every howre they knocke at deathes gate.

This recalls to my memory a beautiful image of Sackvill, in his INDUCTION to THE MIRROR OF MA­GISTRATES concerning the figure of OLD AGE.

His witherd fist still knocking at death's dore.

which perhaps is not more expressive than Chaucer's representation of ELDE, or old age. After telling us that Distress, Sickness, &c. always abide in her court, and are her senators, he adds,

The day and night her to torment
With cruell death they her present;
And tellen her erlich and late,
That deth stondeth armed at her gate.

Death's door was a common phrase, and occurs in our translation of the psalms. ‘"They were even hard at death's door."

B. iv. C. iii. S. iii.
These warlike champions all in armour-SHINE.

SHINE is likewise us'd as a substantive in Harring­ton's Ariosto,

—The SHINE of armour bright.*

[Page 275] And in our translation of the psalms, ‘"His lighten­ings gave SHINE unto the world."

B. iv. C. iv. S. xii.
Against the turneiment which is not long.

The same mode of speaking occurrs in the verse which is the burden of the song in the Prothalamion.

Against the bridale day which is not long.

i. e. ‘"Approaching, near at hand."’

B. iv. C. viii. S. xxix.
More hard for hungry steed t' abstaine from pleasant lare.

LARE is a Saxon word for bed. It is us'd by Milton.

—Out of the ground uprose
As from his LAIR the wild beast where he wons
In forest wild, in thicket, &c.*

Yet it here seems to be us'd for pasture or grass; in which however a bed may be made. So again be­low, S. 51.

This giant's sonne that lies there on the laire
An headlesse heap.—

i. e. (I suppose) lies there on the grass,

B. iv. C. ix. Arg.
Paeana takes to wife.

[Page 276] The squire of lo degree, is the title of an old ro­mance, mention'd together with Sir Huon of Bor­deaux; which, as we remark'd before, is spoken of among a catalogue of antient books, in the letter concerning Q. Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenel­worth.

B. vi. C. ix. S. viii.
—Him compeld
To open unto him the prison dore,
And forth to bring those thrals that there he held;
Thence forth to him were brought about a score,
Of knights and squires, &c.
All which he did from bitter bondage free.

The releasing of the prisoners is a ceremony con­stantly practised in romance, after the knight has kill'd the giant, and taken possession of his castle.

B. iv. C. x. Arg.
Scudamore doth his conquest tell
Of vertuous Amoret.

Scudamore is a name deriv'd from Scudo, a shield, and Amore, Love, Ital. because in this Canto, S. 10. he wins the SHIELD OF LOVE.

B. iv. C. x. S. xxxv.
Else would the waters overflow the lands
And fire devoure the ayre, and hell them quight.

I suppose he means ‘"Else the waters would overflow the lands, and fire devoure the air, and hell would [Page 277] entirely devoure both waters and lands."’ But this is a most confused construction.

B. iv. C. x. S. xxi.
—All that nature, by her mother-wit
Could frame, &c.

Dryden has adopted the expression MOTHER-WIT from our author, in his Ode on Caecilia's day,

With nature's MOTHER-WIT, and arts unknown before.

I think it occurrs likewise in Donne.

B. iv. C. x. S. l.
And next to her sate goodly SHAMEFASTNESS.

Shamefastness, if I remember right, is introduc'd as a person in Lidgate's story of Thebes.

B. vi C. xi. S. xxxviii.
And after them the fatal Welland went,
That if old sawes prove true (which God forbid)
Shall drowne all Holland with his excrement,
And shall see Stamford, tho' now homely hid,
Then shine in learning, more than ever did
Cambridge or Oxford, England's goodly beames.

Holland (says Selden, in his notes on Drayton's Polyolb. S. 8.) is the maritime part of Lincolnshire, where the river Welland flows. By the old Sawes the poet hints at a prophesy of Merlin,

[Page 278]
Doctrinae studium quod nunc viget ad VADA BOUM,
Ante finem saecli, celebrabitur ad VADA SAXI.

VADA BOUM, i. e. Oxenford or Oxford; VADA SAXI, i. e. Staneford, or Stamford.

B. iv. C. x. S. xxxii.
And Mole that like a nousling mole doth make
His way—

So, in Colin Clouts come home again,

In which like Moldwarps, nousling still they lurk.

B. iv. C. xii. S. xvii.
In this sad plight he walked here and there,
And romed round about the rocke in vaine,
As he had lost himself, he wist not where;
Oft listening if he mote her hear againe,
And still bemoaning his unworthy paine;
Like as an hynde whose calfe is falne unawares
Into some pit, where she him heares complaine,
An hundred times about the pit-side fares
Right sorrowfully mourning her beareaved cares.

This comparison has great propriety. There is one not much unlike it in Lucretius.

At mater virides saltus orbata peragrans,
Linquit humi pedibus vestigia pressa bisulcis,
Omnia convisens late loca; si queat unquam
Conspicere amissum faetum: completque querelis
[Page 279] Frondiferum nemus adsistens, & crebra revisit
Ad stabulum, desiderio perfixa juvenci. *

The circumstance of the calf fallen into the pit, from whence the mother can only hear him complain, finely heightens this parental distress, and that of her walking round the pit so often, I think exceeds the crebra revisit ad stabulum; and it may be observ'd, upon the whole, that the tenderness of Spenser's tem­per remarkably betrays itself on this occasion.

B. v. C. i. S. ix.

Chrysaor is the name of Sir Arthegall's sword. Swords are often nam'd in Romance; and in Arios­to's Orlando Furioso; as, Orlando's Durindana, Renaldo's Fusberta, Rogero's Balisarda, &c.

B. v. C. i. S. xv.
That I mote drinke the cup whereof she dranke.

That is, ‘"That I might suffer what she did."’ These words seem to be a very improper imitation of a pas­sage in the New Testament, which every serious reader cannot but remember with the greatest reverence.

B. v. C. ii. S. xxvii.
The which her sire had scrapt by HOOKE AND CROOKE.

So again,

In hopes her to attaine BY HOOKE OR CROOKE.
3. 1. 17.

[Page 280]The proverb of getting any thing by hooke or by crooke is said to have arisen in the time of Charles I. when there were two learned Judges, nam'd HOOKE and CROOKE; and a difficult cause was to be gotten ei­ther by HOOKE or by CROOKE. But here is a proof that this proverb is much older than that time.

B. v. C. iii. S. xxiv, xxv.

When the false Florimel is plac'd by the side of the true Florimel, the former vanishes into nothing; and as suddenly, says the poet, as all the glorious colours of the rain-bow fade and perish. With regard to the circumstance of the sudden evanescence in each, the comparison is just and elegant: but if we consider, that a rainbow exists by the presence of the sun, the similitude by no means is made out: however, it is the former of these circumstances only which the poet insists upon, so that a partial correspondence only is expected. B. v. C. iii. S. xxxiv.Of Brigadore,

—And louted low on knee.

This is related of Alexander's horse Bucephalus. B. v. C. iv. S. xlii.Of an Eagle,

To weather his broad sayles—

Sails are often us'd by our author for wings, and af­ter him by Milton. And by Fletcher,

So up he rose upon his stretched sailes.*

[Page 281] Again, by our author,

His flaggy wings when forth he did display,
Were like two sailes.—
1. 11. 10.

Thus Bayardo, in Ariosto, fights with a monstrous bird, whose wings are like two fails.

L'Ale havea grandé che parean DUO VELE.

Her wings so huge, they seemed like a saile.

B. v. C. v. S. iii.
And on her shoulder hung her shield bedeckt,
Upon the bosse, with stones that shined wide,
As the faire moon in her most full aspect.

Satan's shield is compar'd to the moon.* But to the moon as seen through a telescope.

B. v. C. v. S. xi.
—Her sunshiny helmet soone unlaced,
Thinking, at once, both head and helmet to have raced.
But when as he discovered had her face,
He saw his senses strange astonishment, &c.

This is such a picture as Propertius gives us,

Ausa ferox ab equo quondam oppugnare sagittis
Maeotis Danaum Penthesilea rates;
[Page 282] Aurea cui postquam nudavit cassida frontem,
Vicit victorem candida forma virum.

B. v. C. viii. S. xxxvii.
At last from his victorious shield he drew
The veile, &c.—
And coming full before his horse's view,
As they upon him prest, it plain to them did shew.
So did the sight thereof their sense dismay,
That backe againe upon themselves they turned.

The Aegis is represented with the same effect on horses, in Val. Flaccus.

Aegida tum primùm virgo, spiramque Medusae
Tercentum saevis squallentem sustulit hydris;
Quam soli vidistis EQUI; pavor occupat ingens,
Excussis in terga viris.*

B. v. C. viii. S. xliii.
Like as the cursed son of Theseus,
That * * * * * * *
Of his owne steeds was all to pieces torne.

Why does he call Hippolitus cursed? Neither was Hippolitus torn in pieces by his own horses, but by a monster sent by Neptune, as Euripides relates, Hipp. Cor. 1220. and other authors. In this account of the [Page 283] death of Hippolitus, he greatly varies from himself, 1. 5. 37, & seq.

B. v. C. ix. S. xxiii.
The marshall of the hall to them did come,
His name hight ORDER.—

Here Spenser paints from the manners of his own age. In his age the custom of a

Serv'd up in hall with sewrs and seneshalls

was not entirely dropt. one of the officers at these solemnities was styl'd the marshall of the hall: An office which Chaucer tells us, his host at the tabard was very well qualified for.

A semely man our hoste was withal

As the guests at these pompous and public festivals were very numerous, and of various conditions, I suppose the business of this office, was to place every one according to his rank, and to keep peace and order.

B. v. C. ix. S. xxix.
Whilst KINGS and KESARS at her feet did them prostrate.

Spenser frequently uses the expression Kings and Kesars.

[Page 284]
—The captive hearts
4. 7. 1.

This is the state of KESARS and of KINGS.
6. 3. 5.

Mighty KINGS and KESARS into thraldom brought.
3. 11. 29.

Ne KESAR spared he awhit nor KINGS.
6. 12. 28.

It is a very antient form of speaking, and is found in the Visions of Pierce Plowman.

Death came driving after, and all to dust pashed
KYNGES and KAYSERS, knights and popes.

It was not unfamiliar in B. Johnson's time; thus,

Tu. I charge you in the queen's name keep the peace.
Hil. Tell me o' no QUEENE or KEYSAR.**

It occurrs likewise in Harrington's Ariosto.

For myters, states, nor crownes may not exclude
Popes, mightie KYNGS, nor KEYSARS from the same,††

B. v. C. ix. S. xxxv. The horses of the sun,

Towards the western BRIM begin to draw.

BRIM is often us'd for margin or bank of a stream by [Page 285] our author, and the old poets. Also by Milton in Comus,

By dimpled brook, and fountain-BRIM.*

FOUNTAIN-brim seems to have been a common pression. It is us'd by Drayton,

—Sporting with Hebe by a fountain-BRIM.

And in Warner's Albion's England,

As this same fond selfe-pleasing youth stood at a FOUNTAYNE-BRIM.**

We have ocean-BRIM in the Paradise-lost,

With wheels yet hovering o'er the OCEAN-BRIM.††

B. v. C. x. S. xxix.
And for more horror, and more crueltie,
Under that cursed idols altar-stone,
An hideous monster doth in darkness lie,
Whose dreadfull shape was never seen of none
That lives on earth.—

We are apt to conceive something very wonderful of those mysterious things which are thus said to be unknown to us, and to be out of the reach and com­pass of man's knowledge and apprehension. Thus a cave is said to be,

A dreadfull depth, how deepe no man can tell,
5. 9. 6.

If the poet had limited the depth of this cave to a very great, but to a certain number of fathom, the imagi­nation [Page 286] could still have suppos'd and added more; but now as no determinate measure of its depth is assign'd, our imagination is left at liberty to exert its utmost arbitrary stretch, to add fathom to fathom, and depth to depth, till it is lost in it's own attempt to grasp the idea of that which is unbounded or infinite.

B. v. C. x. S. xxxiii.
—His corse,
Which tumbling downe upon the SENSELESSE ground.

It should rather be ‘"tumbling SENSELESSE downe."’ We have the same metathetical form again,

But as he lay upon the humbled grass.
6. 7. 26.

Where humbled should be made to agree with he ra­ther than with grass.

B. v. C. xi. S. v.
The whilst at him so dreadfully did drive
That seem'd a marble rocke asunder could have rive.

Spenser undoubtedly wrote,

The whilst at him so dreadfully he did drive.

The y in dreadfully being slur'd, or cut off. So.

Saint George of merry' England the signe of victory.
1. 10. 61.

There are many other instances of the Caesura of this letter, in our author, as likewise in Milton. In the following verse e in idle is sunk.

[Page 287]
What idle' errand hast thou earth's mansions to for­sake?
6. 6. 25.

In this verse,

That seem'd a marble rock asunder could have RIVE.

there is an ellipsis of IT before seem'd, and of HE be­fore could; and rive should have been RIV'D, unless he wrote it rive for RIVEN.

B. vi. Introduct. S. iv.
—To please the eye of them that pass
Which see not perfect things, but in a glass.

St. Paul to the Corinthians,* ‘"For now we see through a glass; darkly."’

B. vi. C. ii. S. iv.
—Ah sory boy
Is this the hope that to my hoary heare
Thou bringst? aye me is this the timely joy
Which I expected long? now turn'd to sad annoy!

Aladine is brought home dead upon a bier to his father Aldus, who bursts out into these exclamations over his son's body; In like manner Evander mourns over his son Pallas,

Feretro Pallanta repostum.

But these exclamations are somewhat similar to those which Aeneas in the same book utters over Pallas,

Hi nostri reditus, expectatique triumphi,
Haec mea magna fides, &c.**

[Page 288]
B. vi. C. iii. S. xxviii.
—With carefull hands
Did her sustaine, softing foot her beside.

Softing-foot is a typographical blunder which, I think, runs through all the editions for SOFT-FOOTING; William Ponsonby's edition in quarto, 1596, not excepted.

B. vi. C. vi. S. iv.
For whylome he had been a doughty knight.

That is the hermit had been, &c. Many of the her­mits in romance are represented to have been very valorous knights in their youth. Hence it is that Don Quixote is introduced gravely debating with Sancho, whether he shall turn saint or archbishop.

B. vi. C. vii. S. i.
—A vile dunghill mind.


The dearest to his dunghill mind.
3. 10. 15.

So in an hymne of love,

His dunghill thoughts which do themselves enure
To durtie drosse.—

And Chaucer,

Now fie churle (quoth the gentle Tercelet)
Out of the dung-hill came that word aright.*

B. vi. C. viii. S. xxi.
And sitting carelesse on the Scorner's stoole.

[Page 289] We meet with something like this in our old metrical version of the first psalm.

Nor sate in Scorners chair.

B. vi. C. x. S. vi.
And in their tops the soaring hawke did towre,
Sitting like king of fowles in majestie and powre.

This is said in honour of hawking, which (as I be­fore hinted) was a very fashionable and courtly diver­sion in Spenser's time. And for the same reason, and somewhat after the same manner, he particularizes the falcon, in the speech of the Genius of Verulam.

Where my high steeples whilome used to stand,
On which the lordly falcon wont to towre.

B. vi. C. xii. S. xvii.
A little maid the which ye CHILDED tho.

CHILDING is us'd in Chaucer for conceiving, viz.

Unknowing hym, CHYLDING by miracle.

B. vi. C. xii. S. xxiii. &c.

His description of the Blatant Beast (under which is shadow'd scandal or calumny) attacking all ranks of life, and making havock in courts, monasteries, and cottages, is exactly like this passage in the Lin­gua of Erasmus, ‘"Circumferat quisque oculos suos, per domos privatas, per collegia, per monasteria, per aulas principum, per civitates, per regna; & com­pendio [Page 290] discet, quantam ubique pestem ingerat LINGUA CALUMNIATRIX."*

B. vii. C. vii. S. x.
That richer seems than any TAPESTRY
That princes bowres adorne with painted imagery.

In the age of the poet, tapestry was the most fashionable furniture of halls and state-rooms; as it was when Milton wrote his Comus, who mentions tapestry as a circumstance of grandeur.

Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds,
With smoaky rafters, than in TAP'STRY HALLS
And courts of princes.—

As the general fashion of furnishing halls, &c. is at present entirely different from this, the reader passes over the expression, TAPESTRY-HALLS, without feel­ing any idea convey'd to him by it, because the ob­ject from whence it is drawn, does not at present exist: and we may observe, from this passage, how much of their force and propriety both expressions and descriptions must necessarily lose, when the ob­jects, or customs, or manners, to which they allude, are out of use, and forgotten. There is another re­ference to tapestry in Milton, which is equally un­meaning to a modern reader,

Auditurque chelys SUSPENSA TAPETIA circum,
Virgineos tremulâ quae regat arte pedes.

[Page 291]
B. vii. C. vii. S. xxxv.
Like that ungracious crew which faines demurest grace.

He seems here to have intended a satirical stroke against the Puritans, who were a prevailing party in the age of Queen Elizabeth; and, indeed, our au­thor, from his profession, had some reason to declare himself their enemy, as poetry was what they parti­cularly stigmatiz'd, and bitterly inveigh'd against. In the year 1579, one Stephen Gosson wrote a pamphlet, with this title, ‘"The Schoole of Abuse, containing a pleasaunt invective against poets, pipers, plaiers, jesters, and such-like caterpillers of a common­wealth."’ This was soon follow'd by many others of the same kind.

But the most ridiculous treatise of this sort was that written many years afterwards by W. Prynne; as a specimen of which, I shall beg leave to entertain the reader with its title-page. ‘"HISTRIOMASTIX, the Players Scourge, or Actors Tragedie, divided into two parts; wherein it is largely evidenced by divers arguments, by the concurring authorities, and resolutions of sundry texts of Scripture; of the whole primitive Church, both under the law and gospel; of fifty-five Synods and Councils, of seventy-one Fathers, and Christian writers, before the year of our Lord 1200; of above one hundred and fifty foraigne and domestic protestant and po­pish authors since; of forty heathen philosophers, historians, poets; of many heathen, many christian [Page 292] nations, republicks, emperors, princes, magistrates; of sundry apostolical, canonical, imperial constitu­tions, and of our own English statutes, magistrates, universities, writers, preachers.—That popular stage-playes (the very pompes of the devil, which we renounce in baptisme, if we believe the Fathers) are sinfull, heathenish, lewd, ungodly spectacles, and most pernicious corruptions; condemned in all ages as intolerable mischiefes, to churches, to re­publicks, the manners, mindes, and soules of men: and that the profession of play-poets, of stage-play­ers, together with the penning, acting, and fre­quenting of stage-playes, are unlawfull, infamous, and misbeseeming christians: all pretences to the contrary are here likewise fully answer'd; and the unlawfullness of acting, of beholding academical enterludes briefly discussed; besides sundry other particulars concerning dancing, dicing, health-drinking, &c. London, 1633.’

This extravagant and absurd spirit of puritanical enthusiasm, proved at last, in its effects, as perni­cious to polite learning, and the fine arts, as to the liberties and constitution of our country: while every species of elegance was represented, by these austere and melancholy zealots, as damnable luxury, and every degree of decent adoration, as popish idolatry. In short, it is not sufficiently consider'd, what a rapid and national progress we were, at that time, making in knowledge, and how sudden a stop was put to it, by the inundation of presbyterianism and ignorance; which circumstance alone, exclusive of its other at­tendant [Page 293] evils, gives us ample cause to detest the pro­moters of that malignant (I wish I could add, un­provok'd) rebellion, which no good man can remem­ber without horror.

It may not, perhaps, be impertinent to remark here, that Milton, who was inclin'd to puritanism, had good reason to think, that the publication of his Samson Agonistes, would be very offensive to his brethren, who held poetry, and particularly that of the dramatic kind, in such abhorrence. And, upon this account, it is probable, that, in order to excuse him­self for having engag'd in this proscrib'd and forbid­den species of writing, he thought it expedient to pre­fix to his play a formal DEFENCE OF TRAGEDY, in which he endeavours to prove, that some of the gravest writers did not scruple to illustrate their dis­courses from the works of tragic poets, and that many of the wisest philosophers, and of the primitive fathers, were not asham'd to write Tragedies.

The subsequent remarks are thrown together with­out order, which the reader is desir'd to look upon as a SUPPLEMENT to this concluding SECTION.

B. i. C. vi. S. xvi.
Farre off he wonders what them makes so glad,
Of Bacchus merry fruits they did INVENT,
Or Cybel's frantic rights have made them mad.

Hughes reads, IF Bacchus', &c. but even then there is an obscurity. The meaning of the passage is this. ‘"He wonders what makes them so glad; he [Page 294] doubts with himself, whether or no their mirth was not occasion'd by wine which they had disco­ver'd, or whether or no they might not be driven to madness by Cybel's rites."’ INVENT is here one of Spenser's latinisms for discover; as it is also in this verse,

Ay me, that ever guile in women was invented.
5. 11. 50.

That is, found out.

B. v. C. ix. S. xiii.
Like as the fowler on his guilefull pipe,
CHARMES to the birds full many a pleasant lay.

Charm is thus us'd again, as Mr. Jortin observes, in Colin Clouts come home again.

The shepheard's boy—
Sate as his custom was—
CHARMING his oaten pipe unto his peres.

It seems to be us'd somewhat in the same sense, St. 39. below.

That well could CHARME his tongue, and time his speach.


Here we our slender pipes may safely CHARME.

B. v. C. vii. S. xxxiv.
The wicked shaft guided thro' th' ayrie WIDE.

Ayrie WIDE seems to be us'd for ayrie VOID. [Page 295] B. vii. C. vi. S. lv.Speaking of Diana's departure from Ireland.

—parting from the place
Thereon a heavy haplesse curse did lay,
To weet, that wolves, where she was wont to space
Should harbour'd be, and all those woods deface,
And thieves should rob, and spoil that coast around;
Since which those woods, and all that goodly chase,
Doth to this day with wolves and thieves abound.

In Colin Clouts come home again, where he is praising England, he does it by an enumeration of some of the miseries of Ireland.

No wayling there, nor wretchednesse is heard,
No bloudie issues, nor no leprosies;
No griesly famine, nor no raging sweard:
No nightly bodrags, nor no hues and cries,
The shepherds there abroad may safely lie
On hills and downes, withouten dread or danger:
No ravenous wolves the good mans hope destroy,
Nor outlawes fell affray the forrest ranger.

Space is a latinism, spatiari.

B. ii. C. xii. Arg.
Doth overthrow the bowre of bliss.

Sir Guyon's temptation is, in great measure, made to consist in the gratifications of sense afforded by a delicious garden. This circumstance puts me in mind [Page 296] of an instance related by Olaus Magnus,* concerning the severity of manners among the antient Visigoths. This author informs us, that on the top of the moun­tain Kindaberg, near the castle of the same name, there was a beautiful garden, the most delicious spot of ground in all the Northern climate. Into this gar­den none but old men were permitted to enter. The admission of young men to a survey of so delightfull a scene, it was fear'd, might prove too great a relaxa­tion from their unintermitted daily discipline, and make such impressions on their susceptible disposi­tions, as might be the beginnings of an effeminate and luxurious life.

B. vi. C. vi. S. xx.
To whom the prince, HIM faining to embase.

HIM for HIMSELF is the language of poetry at pre­sent. The elder poets took greater liberties in this point, so that sometimes it is difficult to determine whether HIM is us'd for se or illum. Of this the verse before us is an instance.

Thus again,

Scudamore coming to CARE's house
Doth sleep from HIM expell.
4. 5. Arg.

That is, ‘"expells sleep from HIMSELF."’ Thus in Sydney's VISION upon the conceit of the FAERIE QUEENE, the most elegant of his works.

[Page 297]
At whose approache the soule of Petrarcke wept,
And from thenceforth those graces were not seen,
For they this queene attended; in whose stead
OBLIVION laid HIM down on Lauras' herse.

We are apt, at first, to refer HIM down, &c. to Petarcke, ‘"OBLIVION laid PETRARKE down,"’ While the meaning is, ‘"OBLIVION LAID HIMSELF DOWNE, &c."’

The initial line of this sonnet seems to have been thought of by Milton, viz.

Methought I sawe the grave where Laura lay,

Thus Milton on his Deceased wife.*

Methought I saw my late-espoused saint.

And he probably took the hint of writing a visionary sonnet on that occasion, from this of Sydney.

B. vi. C. iv. S. xix.
His target allwaies over her pretended.

PRETENDED, ‘"stretch'd or held over her."’ This latinism is to be found in Milton, but in a sense some­what different.

—Lest that too heavenly form PRETENDED
To hellish falshood, snare them.—

[Page 298]
B. iii. C. ii. S. xxxii.
The time that mortall men their weary cares
Do lay away, and all wilde beasts do rest,
And every river eke his course forbeares,
Then doth this wicked evill thee infest.

These verses which, at first sight, seem to be drawn rom Dido's * night in the fourth Aeneid, are translated from the Ceiris attributed to Virgil, as it has been be­fore in general hinted, Sect. 3.

Tempore quo fessas mortalia pectora curas,
Quo rapidos etiam requiescunt flumina cursus.

[Page 299]
B. iv C. vi. S. xliv.
With that the wicked Carle, the master smith,
A paire of red-hot iron tongs did take,
Out of the burning cinders, and therewith
Under the side him nipt.—

[Page 300]In these verses the allegory is work'd up to an amazing height. What he says of Erinnys in the RUINS of ROME, is somewhat in this strain,

[Page 301]
What fell Erinnys with hot-burning tongs,
Did gripe your hearts?—
St. 24.

From the same stanza Milton probably drew the expression BLIND FURY, in Lycidas; as it was not taken from the authority of antient mythology.

Comes the BLIND FURY, with th' abhorred shears
And slits the thin-spun life.—

[Page 302] Spenser,

If the BLIND Furie, which warres breedeth oft,
Wonts not, &c.

B. v. C. vii. S. 21.
Magnificke virgin, that in QUEINT DISGUISE
Of British armes.—

That is, ‘"in strange disguise."’ In this sense the word QUEINT is us'd in COMUS.

—Lest the place,
And this QUEINT habit breed astonishment.

Somewhat in this signification it is likewise applied by the shepherd Cuddy, in our author's OCTOBER.

With QUEINT Bellona.—

Where E. K. in explaining it, has discover'd more learning than penetration. Skinner seems to have wrongly interpreted QUAINT, elegans. If it ever signifies elegant or beautifull, it implies a fantastic kind of beauty arising from an odd variety. Thus Milton in LYCIDAS, of flowers.

Throw hither all your QUEINT enamel'd eyes.

And in ARCADES; where it expresses an elegance re­sulting from affectation rather than nature.

—And CURL the grove
In ringlets QUAINT.—

Where Milton copies Johnson, in a MASKE at Wel­beck, 1633.

[Page 303]
When was old Sherwoods head more QUEINTLY CURLD?

The same poet has likewise drawn one or two more strokes in the ARCADES, from a mask of Johnson. In song 1. he thus breaks forth,

This, this is she
To whom our vows, and wishes, &c.

So Johnson in an Entertainment at Althrope, 1603.

This is shee,
This is shee.

Milton in Song 3. pays this compliment to the countess of Derby,

Tho' Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.

Thus Johnson in the same Entertainment.

And the dame has Syrinx' grace.

These little traits of likeness just lead us to con­clude, that Milton before he sate down to write his ARCADES, had recourse to Johnson (who was the most eminent masque-writer then extant) for the form and manner proper to this species of composition, and that in the course of writing it, he naturally fell upon some of Johnson's expressions.

B. vi. C. ix. S. xxix.
In vaine, said then old Melibee, doe men
The heavens of their fortunes fault accuse,
Sith they know best, what is the best for them;
For they to each such fortune doe diffuse,
[Page 304]As they do know each can most aptly use.
For not that which men covet most is best,
Nor that thing worst which men do most refuse:
But fittest is, that all-contended rest
With that they hold: each has his fortune in his breast.
It is the mind that maketh good or ill.

In these lines he plainly seems to have had his eye on those exalted * Socratic sentiments, which Juvenal has given us in the close of his tenth satire. The last-cited lines, in particular, point out to us the sense in which Spenser understood the two last controverted verses of that satire.

Nullum numen [abest] habes, si sit prudentia; sed TE
NOS FACIMUS FORTUNA DEAM, caeloque locamus.

B. iv. C. viii. S. xxxvii.
With easy steps so soft as foot could STRIDE.

Probably we should read slide for STRIDE; though STRIDE occurs in the old quarto.

B. ii. C. iii. S. iv.
—his BRAND.

Concerning the word BRAND for sword, take the following explication of Hickes. ‘"In the second [Page 305] part of the EDDA Islandica, among other appella­tions, a sword is denominated BRAND; and glad or glod, that is, titio, torris, pruna ignita; and the hall of the Odin is said to be illuminated by drawn swords only. A writer of no less learning than penetration, N. Salanus Westmannus, in his Disser­tation, entitled, GLADIUS SCYTHICUS, pag. 6, 7. observes, that the antients formed their swords in imitation of a flaming fire; and thus, from BRAND a sword, came our English phrase, to brandish a sword, gladium strictum vibrando coruscare facere."* B. i. C. ii. S. iv.He is speaking of the witch Duessa.

Till on a day, (that day is every prime,
When witches wont do penance for their crime)
I chaunct to see her in her proper hew,
Bathing herself in origane and thyme,
A filthy foule old woman, &c.

The penance here mention'd, I suppose, our author drew from tradition, or romance. From one of these sources, Milton seems to have deriv'd, and applied his annual penance of the devils.

—Thus were they plagu'd,
And worn with famin, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their lost shape, permitted, they resum'd;
Yearly injoyn'd, they say, to undergo
This ANNUAL HUMBLING certain number'd days.

[Page 306]
B. iii. C. i. S. xxxv.
To crowne his golden locks with honor dew.

Honor dew, frequently occurs in Spenser, from whom Milton, perhaps, adopted it in L'Allegro.

If I give thee HONOUR DUE.

It has been conjectur'd, that Milton took the hint, in some measure, for writing on MIRTH and ME­LANCHOLY, from the Ode prefix'd to Burton's ME­LANCHOLY. In support of this supposition I shall add, that Milton had certainly been consulting that treatise before he wrote his two poems, as this line in L'Allegro,

Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,

occurs almost literally in Burton,*

With becks, and nods, and smiles again.

Before I close this series of Observations, I will hope for the reader's pardon once more, while I lengthen out this digression, in order to illustrate another passage in Milton.

* * * *
Him haply slumbring on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff,
Deeming some iland, oft, as sea-men tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors in his side, under the lee, &c.

[Page 307] On the words, as Sea-men tell, says Hume, ‘"Words well added to obviate the incredibility of casting anchor in this manner."’

It is likely that Milton never heard this improba­ble circumstance, of mistaking the Whale for an Iland, from the sea-men, but that he drew it from that pas­sage in his favorite Ariosto, where Astolpho, Dudon, and Renaldo are said to have seen so large a Whale in the sea, near Aclyna's castle, that they took it for an island.

Veggiamo una Balena: la maggiore,
Che mai per tutto il mar veduta fosse:
Undeci passi, e piu dimostra fuore
Di l' onde salse le spallaccie grosse.
Caschiamo tutti insieme in uno errore:
Parch'era ferma, e che mai non si scosse:
Cosi distante ha l' un à l' altro estremo. *

Among the rest that were too long to count,
We saw the fish that men Balaena call;
Twelve yards above the water did amount
His mighty backe, the monster is so tall:
And (for it stood so still) we made account
It had been land, but were deceived all,
We were deceiv'd, well I may rew the while,
It was so huge, we thought it was an ile.

[Page 308]Afterwards Astolpho, persisting in his mistake, ventures upon the back of the Whale, with Alcyna, and is carried out many miles into the sea.

Milton's imagination, possest with these extravagan­cies (for he was a great reader of Ariosto) was easily dispos'd to give us this romantic fiction of his Levia­than, the absurdity of which he has prudently enough tranferr'd to sea-men, who deal in idle reports.

He has given us somewhat of a similar idea in ano­ther place.

—there Leviathan,
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep
Stretch'd like a promontory, sleeps, or swims
And seems a moving land.—*

B. vii. C. vii. S. xvii.
I do possesse the worlds most REGIMENT.

Spenser very frequently makes use of REGIMENT for Rule, GOVERNMENT, DISTRICT, &c.

Gainst tortious powre, and lawlesse REGIMENT.
5. 8. 30.

So when he had resign'd his REGIMENT.
2. 10. 30.

When the full time, prefixt by destinie,
Shall be expir'd of Britons REGIMENT.
3. 3. 39.

Then loyall love had royall REGIMENT.
4. 8. 30.

[Page 309]With saturnes sonne for heavens REGIMENT.
7. 6. 2.

In the following instance it is us'd for KINGDOM,

An auncient booke.—
That of his lands first conquest did devise,
And old division into REGIMENTS.
2. 9. 59.

B. iv. C. vi. S. xiv.
Like as the lightning brond from riven skie,
Thrown out by angry Jove in his vengeance,
With dreadfull force falles on some steeple hie,
Which battring, downe it on the church doth glaunce,
And teareth all with terrible mischaunce.

Not many years before the FAERIE QUEENE was written, viz. 1561, the steeple of St. Paul's church was struck with lightening, by which means not only the steeple itself, but the entire roof of the church was consumed.* The description in this simile was probably suggested to our author's imagination by this remarkable accident.


IN the close of this work, it may not be perhaps im­proper to subjoin an apology for the manner in which I have conducted it.

And first it may be objected in general, that these observations would have been rendered more useful and [Page 310] convenient had they been printed together with Spenser's text, arrang'd in their respective places; at least it may be urged that such a plan would have prevented much unnecessary transcription. But I was dissuaded from such a procedure by two reasons; the first is, The observations, (the last section excepted) as they now stand, reduced to general heads, appear to be so many distinct essays on Spenser; and thus methodized, are intended to form a kind of systematical critcism on the FAERIE QUEENE. The second is, that a formal edition of this poem with notes, would have been impertinent, as such a work is at present expected from the hands of two learned and ingenious critics.

As to particular ejections, too many, I am sensi­ble, must occur; one of which will probably be, that I have been more diligent in pointing out the faults than the beauties of this author. That I have been deficient in encomiums on particular passages, did not proceed from a want of perceiving or acknowledging beauties, but from a persuasion, that nothing is more absurd or useless than the panegyrical comments of those, who criticise from the imagination, rather than from the judgement, who exert their admiration instead of their reason, and discover more of enthusiasm than discernment. And this must necessarily, (it will however most commonly) be the case of those, who undertake to point out beauties; which, as they will naturally approve themselves to the reader by their own force, so no reason can often be given why they please. The same cannot always be said of faults, which I have [Page 311] frequently displayed without palliation;* it being my chief aim, together with that of particular illustration, to give an impartial estimate of the merit of this origi­nal genius.

I cannot take my final leave of the reader without acknowledging that this task has been peculiarly de­lightful to me; tho' the business of criticism is gene­rally laborious and dry, yet it has here more frequently amused than fatigu'd my attention, in it's exercises upon an author who makes such perpetual and power­ful appeals to the fancy. The pleasure which Spenser received in composing the FAERIE QUEENE must necessarily be shared by it's commentator; and the critic, on this occasion, may venture to exclaim with the poet,

The waies thro' which my weary steppes I guide
Are so exceeding spacious and wide,
And sprinkled with such sweet varietie
Of all that pleasant is to ear or eye,
That I nigh ravisht with rare thoughts delight,
My tedious travel do forgett thereby,
And when I gin to feel decay of might,
It strength to me supplies, and cheares my dulled spright.
7. 6. 1.


[N.B. The Numbers relate to the Pages.]

  • ABBE DU BOS, his censure upon Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, 12. con­demns those painters who introduce their own allegories into di­vine subjects, 223, 224.
  • Academicians, della Crusca, prefer Ariosto to Tasso, 3.
  • Action, allegorical, why faulty, 238, 239.
  • ADONIS, his gardens, Spenser founds his fiction concerning them on an­tient mythology, 65.
  • AGAVE her story, 73.
  • Alexandrine verses, rules concerning them, 259, 260, 261.
  • Allegories, Spenser's manner of forming them accounted for, 218, 219, 220, 221, 222. publicly shewn in Q. Elizabeth's time, 218. capi­tal fault in Spenser's, 222, 223, 224, 225. some of them examin'd, 222, 223. Spenser's manner of allegorizing different from Ariosto's, and why, 219, 220.
  • Alliteration, practis'd by the Saxon poets, 89, 90.
  • Ambiguous expression, instances of, in Spenser, 177, 178, 179, in Milton, 179.
  • Anachronism, instances of, in Spenser, 173, 174, 175, 176.
  • APOLLONIUS, Rhodius, illustrated, 77, 78. copied by Milton, 76, 79, 80. excells Theocritus in the story of Hylas, 68. illustrated, 257. his Night-piece of Medea vindicated, 298.
  • ARCHIMAGO, instance of, his hypocrisy, copied from Ariosto, 143. of his illusion, 143.
  • ARIOSTO, imitates Boyardo, 2. account of the plan of his poem, 10, 11, 12. his genius comic, 157, 158.
  • Ardenne, water of, Ariosto's mention of it alluded to by Spenser, 151, 152.
  • Arte of English poesie, author of, condemns Spenser's obsolete style in his Pastorals, 88. commends his Pastorals, 88. his account of singing to the harp in Q. Elizabeth's time, 36. censures Skelton, 36.
  • ARTHUR, Prince, cannot properly be called the hero of the FAERIE QUEENE, 5.
  • [Page 313]ARTHUR, King, romantic tradition concerning him, 43.
  • ASTRAEUS, a sea-god, account of him, 73.
  • AVARICE, Ariosto's, how she came to be so represented, 155.
  • Bards, introduc'd with propriety by Spenser, 266.
  • BASCIO MANI, 262.
  • BELLONA, Spenser misrepresents her birth, 81.
  • BENI, his false taste, in comparing Ariosto with Homer, 2.
  • BEVIS, Sir, of Southampton, a poem so entitled, imitated by Spenser, 34, 35.
  • BITE, 124, 125.
  • BLANDAMOUR, a name, drawn from Chaucer, or from a Romance so called, 135, 136.
  • BLATANT BEAST, the hint of it taken from Morte Arthur, a Romance, 17. partly occasioned by Ariosto's description of Jealousy and Ava­rice, 155.
  • BRAND, 304.
  • Bridge, remarkable one, copied from Ariosto, or from Morte Arthur, 153.
  • BRIGADORE, name of a horse, drawn from Ariosto, 154.
  • BRITOMART, how properly styl'd the patronesse of Chastity, 60. her history, 61. her discovery copied from Ariosto, 151. she is a copy of Ariosto's Marsifa, and Bradamante, 151.
  • BUCEPHALUS, Spenser copies a tradition concerning him, 280.
  • BURMANNUS, ridicul'd, 208.
  • BY HOOKE OR BY CROOKE, 279, 280.
  • CHARLES II. the taste for poetry in his age, censur'd, 237.
  • CHAUCER, his style copied by Spenser, 88, 141. and many of his senti­ments, 100. encomium upon him, 141, 142. corrected, 198. why styl'd one of the first English poets, 228.
  • Ceiris, of Virgil, where copied by Spenser, 63.
  • CERBERUS, suppos'd to be the proper reading in Milton's second verse of L'Allegro, and why, 51.
  • CHARM, 294.
  • CHEKLATON, 130.
  • CHILDED, 289.
  • CHIRON, beautiful description of his astonishment, after hearing the music of Orpheus, 80.
  • [Page 314]Chivalry, practis'd in Q. Elizabeth's age, 14. Books of, descriptions in them ridicul'd by Chaucer, 104.
  • Climate, description of a fine, copied from Chaucer, 106.
  • COCYTUS, Spenser misrepresents Mythology concerning it, 56.
  • Commentators, their difference of opinion accounted for, 205, 206.
  • Construction, confus'd, instances of, in Spenser, 166, 167, 176.
  • CONCENT, 273, 274.
  • CONTECK, 128, 129.
  • CRUDOR, his insolence and cruelty, copied from Morte Arthur, a Ro­mance, 19.
  • CUPID and PSYCHE, Spenser misrepresents Apuleius's account of them, 64.
  • CUPID, a representation of him copied from Chaucer, 118. a false one, 118. how represented by Catullus and Sappho, 119. a description of him copied from Ariosto, or from N. Archias, 156, 157.
  • Dance of Death, account of prints so call'd, 230, 231, 232. alluded to by Spenser, 232.
  • DANGER, personify'd from Chaucer, 135.
  • DARRAINE, 121, 122.
  • DEATH'S DOOR, 274.
  • Despair, why Spenser excell'd in painting it, 193, 194.
  • DOEN TO DIE, 124.
  • DOUZEPERE, 134.
  • Dragon-encounters, exactly copied by Spenser from Romance, 37.
  • DRAYTON, a romantic story borrow'd by him from Geoffrey of Mon­mouth, 20.
  • DRYDEN, censur'd, for affirming that Prince Arthur appears in every part of the FAERIE QUEENE, 6. and for his manner of praising the Paradise Lost, 237. and for misrepresenting Milton's reason for chusing blank verse, 237, 238. imitates Spenser, 249.
  • DUESSA, her discovery, copied from Ariosto, 146.
  • E. K. the commentator on Spenser's Aeglogues, his reason why Spen­ser chose to write in an obsolete style, 92.
  • Elfes and Goblins, whence deriv'd, 39.
  • Elficleos, king Henry vii. 39.
  • Enchanted cup, story of, drawn by Ariosto, from Morte Arthur, a Romance, 30.
  • [Page 315]Elleipsis, instances of, in Spenser, 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165. in Milton, 165.
  • EMBOWD, 246.
  • ENGLISH LANGUAGE, its corruptions about Q. Elizabeth's age, 93, 94, 95. Spenser's disapprobation of these corruptions, proved from his own words, 96. notwithstanding he himself contributed to add to these corruptions, and why, 97, 98.
  • ENDLONG, 134.
  • ENVY, Spenser's indelicacy in describing her, 47. and excellence, 48.
  • EUPHEMUS, a sea-god, account of him, 74.
  • Faeries, sometimes us'd for any ideal people, 42. whence the fiction of them was deriv'd, 43.
  • FAERIE Nation, Spenser's original and genealogy of it partly explain'd, 38, 39, 40.
  • —QUEENE, a popular tradition, 40. suppos'd to exist in K. Ar­thur's time, 41. Spenser's poem, so call'd, occasion'd many imita­tions, on its publication, in which fairies were actors, 41.
  • FATALL, 201, 202.
  • FEAR, Spenser excells in painting it, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195.
  • FFRRAUGH (Sir) a name drawn from Ariosto, 151.
  • FILE, 120.
  • FILED, 263.
  • FLORIMEL, false, simile concerning her examined, 280. fiction of her, whence drawn, 240, 241.
  • French, more fond of manners than fiction, 237.
  • FURIES, the antients afraid to name them, 45.
  • GASCOIGNE, George, account of him, 268, 269, 270.
  • GELLI, his Circe, afforded a hint to Spenser, 258.
  • GENEURA, tale of, in Ariosto, copied by Spenser, 147.
  • GENIUS, a particular one, drawn by Spenser from N. Comes, 58. and a circumstance concerning him from Horace, 59. another drawn from the picture of Cebes, 60.
  • GIAMBEUX, 139.
  • GLITTERAND, 123, 124.
  • GLOCESTER, Robert of, 227.
  • GLORIANA, Q. Elizabeth, 40. the attainment of her the End of the FAERIE QUEENE, 4. Prince Arthur improperly conducted to this End, 4, 5,
  • [Page 316]GLODE, 136.
  • GORLOIS, story of, alluded to by Milton, 265, 266.
  • GOWER, why styl'd one of the first English poets, 228.
  • GRACES, Milton misrepresents their birth, and improperly, 75.
  • GRAYLE, Holy, a tradition concerning it borrow'd from Morte Arthur, a Romance, 26.
  • GRIDE, 180, 199.
  • GUILE, a circumstance belonging to, borrow'd from Ariosto, 154.
  • Hair, long, description of, copied from Chaucer, 132. yellow, why Spenser always attributes it to his Ladies, 187, 188.
  • Hall, Marshall of, his Office, 283.
  • HARDYKNUTE, a Scottish poem, commended, 114.
  • HARDING, John, his character, 232.
  • HARRINGTON, his versification censur'd in the translation of Orlando, 87.
  • HARROW, 127, 128.
  • HAWKING, often, alluded to by Spenser, and why, 272, 289.
  • HAWKS, Stephen, his character, 233.
  • HECATE, Spenser misrepresents Mythology concerning her, 46, 81.
  • HENRY viii. improvement of taste and learning in his age, 234.
  • HERNE, Thomas, Specimen of his Preface to Robert of Glocester, 227, 228.
  • Hero, unity of, necessary in the heroic poem, 4, 5. not preserv'd in the FAERIE QUEENE, 5, 6, 7, 8. his business in the heroic poem, 6.
  • HERSE and HERSALL, 265.
  • HIM, for himself, 296, 297.
  • HIPPOLITUS, his story misrepresented, 282.
  • HISTORY, antient, often falsify'd by Spencer, and why, 44.
  • Historical Regularity, how Spenser varies from it, in the plan of the FAERIE QUEENE, 9.
  • HOLBEIN, Hans, prints call'd the Dance of Death, falsly attributed to him, 230, 231, 232.
  • HOLLAND, in Lincolnshire, what, 277.
  • Horn, a miraculous one, copied from Ariosto, 145.
  • HORROR, a picture of him, copied by Milton from Spenser, 54.
  • HUGHES, the editor of Spenser, censur'd, for commending the first book of the FAERIE QUEENE, as a regular contrivance, 6. for reducing the text of Spenser to modern orthography, 87. a reading of him re­jected, 293, 294.
  • [Page 317]HUON, Sir, a Romance so call'd, 247.
  • HYLAS, a new solution concerning his fable, 67. custom concerning him, how it arose, 67.
  • JAMES I. Allegory began to decline in his age, 236.
  • JANE, 131.
  • JEALOUSY, Ariosto's, how she came to be so represented, 156.
  • JEW, character of a cruel and covetous one, represented on the stage with applause, before Shakespere's Shylock, 98.
  • Imitations, hard to be ascertain'd, 181. Spenser's of himself, 181, 182, 183, 184, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195.
  • JORTIN (Mr.) suppos'd to have mistaken a passage, 49. conjecture of, supported, 197.
  • Inconsistency, instances of, in Spenser, 170, 171, 172.
  • Indelicacy, instances of Spenser's, 47, 48.
  • Inaccuracies, Spenser guilty of many, and why, 159.
  • INN, 201.
  • INO, Spenser's confus'd account of her story, 72.
  • Introduction, form of, copied from Chaucer, 129, 130, 131. and from Bevis of Southampton, 131.
  • INVENT, 293.
  • JOHNSON, Ben, his opinion of Spenser's language, censur'd, 98, 99. his sentiments on old words, commended, 99.
  • IS NOT LONG, 275.
  • Italian language, deals largely in identical cadences, 82. much affected in Q. Elizabeth's time, 93, 94.
  • Italian books, many of them translated into English in Q. Elizabeth's time, 94.
  • Judgement, Spenser's, how far over-rul'd by his imagination, 102.
  • JUVENAL, copied by Spenser, 304.
  • KINGS and KESARS, 285.
  • LAD, 139, 140.
  • LADY OF THE LAKE, the fiction of her, whence borrow'd by Spenser, 21, 22. introduc'd to make part of Q. Elizabeth's entertainment at Kenel­worth, 22. alluded to by B. Johnson, 24.
  • LAIR, 275.
  • LANE, John, account of him, 114.
  • LONGLANDE, the author of Pierce Plowman's Visions, 89.
  • [Page 318]LUCRETIUS, where exceeded by Spenser, 278, 279.
  • LYDGATE, commended, and censur'd, 229, 230, 231, 232.
  • MAKE and MARR, 212, 213, 214.
  • MALBECCO, his escape, copied from Ariosto, 150.
  • MALEGER, his death, copied from Ariosto, 147.
  • MANY, 139.
  • MARSTON, John, his satyres commended, 41. inferior to Hall's, 42. Specimen of them, 42.
  • MARTE, 120.
  • MATERASTA, name of her castle, drawn from Morte Arthur, a Ro­mance, 31.
  • MASQUES, Milton indebted to one for a thought, 218, 219. Spenser's imitation of them, 220, 221.
  • Merchant of Venice, story of, drawn from an old ballad, 94, 95, 96, 97. 98.
  • MERLIN, a story concerning him, borrow'd by Spenser from Morte Arthur, a Romance, 25. and by Ariosto, 28, 29. his enter­view with Britomart copied from Ariosto, 149. a prophesy made by him, 278.
  • MILTON, his poem in Q. Novemb. a prelusion to his Paradise Lost, 55. instances of his self-imitation, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178. corrected, 272, 273. explain'd, 240. reasons for his defence of tragedy, 293. imitates W. Niccols, 242, 243. illustrated, 246. imitates Euripides, Homer, and Casimir, 251, 252, 253. illustrated, 255, 297. explain'd, 265. corrected, 273. imitates Johnson, 303. illustrated, 301, 305, 306, 307, 308.
  • Mirror, Britomart's, borrow'd from Chaucer, 108, 109. Mirror of magistrates, criticism upon, and account of, 235.
  • MIS, often prefix'd to a word by Spenser, 197.
  • MORTE ARTHUR, an old Romance, printed by Caxton, much red and imitated by Spenser, 15. a fashionable book in Q. Elizabeth's time, 21, 24. alluded to by B. Johnson, 24, 27. and by Camden, 27. and by Milton, 27. imitated by Ariosto, 28. and alluded to by him, 30.
  • MOLE, noussing, 278.
  • MORALIZE, 239.
  • MORE, Sir Thomas, specimen of a pageant compos'd by him, 184, 185.
  • MOST and LEAST, 137.
  • MORE and LESSE, 137.
  • [Page 319]MUCH and LITE, 138.
  • MOTHER-WIT, copied by Dryden from Spenser, 277.
  • MURTHER, Milton's description of him, equall'd by Fletcher's, 54.
  • MUSAEUS, copied by Spenser, 185, 186, 187.
  • Mythology, antient, falsify'd by Spenser, and why, 44.
  • NATALIS COMES, Spenser copies the Deities present at the marriage of Thames and Medway, from him, 73, 74.
  • NATURE, description of her, copied from Chaucer, 116, 117, 118.
  • Negatives, two for an affirmative, us'd by Chaucer, after the Saxon practice, 140.
  • NEREUS, represented according to Mythology, by Spenser, 75.
  • NIGHT, justly represented by Spenser, 50, 51, 52, 53. Milton suppos'd to have taken a hint from Spenser's representation of her, 53.
  • NOVEMBER, &c. copied from Chaucer, 119, 120.
  • OBERON, King Henry viii, 39.
  • OLAUS, MAGNUS, his account of a Swedish enchanter.
  • OLD AGE, figures of, 274.
  • OLLYPHANT, a name, borrow'd from Chaucer, 130.
  • OPHION, said to be of the serpent race, by Apollonius, as well as by Mil­ton, 75.
  • Ordeal, a word apply'd from Chaucer, 137.
  • ORLANDO FURIOSO, its plan more irregular than that of the FAERIE QUEENE, 10. the faults in its plan, 11. hint of its hero's madness, drawn from Morte Arthur, a Romance, 31.
  • ORPHEUS, author of the Argonautics, falsely so call'd, 72.
  • ORPHEUS, his song in Onomacritus and Apollonius, alluded to by Milton, 79. his song in Apollonius, often alluded to by Spenser, 76.
  • Orthography, often violated by Spenser, and other antient poets, for the Rhyme-sake, 84, 85, 86.
  • ORTHRUS, 73.
  • Pageants, Spenser's, specimen of the nature of them, 184, 185.
  • PASTORELL, her distress, copied from Ariosto, 155.
  • PLAN, of the FAERIE QUEENE, what, 4. its faults, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. its excellency, 9.
  • POPE, imitates Johnson, 166.
  • [Page 320]POWDER, to, 263, in what sense applied by Milton, 264.
  • Poetry, use and nature of it in the early ages, 76.
  • PREST, 202, 203, 204.
  • PRICK, to, 139.
  • PROSERPINE, her garden, Spenser falsifies Mythology concerning it, 56, 57.
  • Provencal poets, their false taste, 1.
  • PRETENDED, 297.
  • Proverbs, copied from Chaucer, 127, 133.
  • PRYNNE, W. specimen of his Histriomastix, 291.
  • Puritans, censur'd by Spenser, 291.
  • Purple Island, of Fletcher, account of, 236.
  • PYNED, 129.
  • QUEINT, 302.
  • QUEST, 267, 268.
  • Questyn beast, mention'd in Morte Arthur, a Romance, the origin of Spenser's Blatant beast, 17, 18.
  • RADEGUNDE, and her city, copied from Ariosto, 157.
  • Rebellion, grand, its consequences, 292.
  • RECREANT, 254.
  • REGIMENT, 308.
  • Revelations, book of, Spenser copied from it, 224, 225, 226, 227. con­demn'd for it, 224, 227.
  • Rhyme, the advantages found by Spenser in the frequent repetition of it, 83, 84. he seldom makes the same word rhyme to itself, 87.
  • Romances, the FAERIE QUEENE (and particularly its first book) form'd upon them, 13, 14. fashionable in Q. Elizabeth's age, ibid. particu­lar ceremony in them, copied by Spenser, 276.
  • ROMEO and JULIET, much esteem'd when first acted, 42.
  • ROWLAND, W. his satires, 42.
  • RUSTIE, 197, 198.
  • Sails, for wings, 280, 281.
  • SANDEART, mistaken concerning Hans Holbein, 231.
  • SCALIGEB, censur'd for preferring the song of Orpheus in Apollonius to that in Val. Flaccus, 76. prefers a comparison in Apollonius to one in Val. Flaccus, 68.
  • [Page 321]Scripture, improperly imitated by Spenser, 279.
  • SCUDAMORE, whence deriv'd, 276.
  • SED, for said, 86.
  • SENT, 207.
  • Seven Champions of Christendom, Romance of, a circumstance in it, imitated by Spenser, 14.
  • Shepherd's Kalender, title of a book printed by Wynkin à Worde, 91. thence adopted by Spenser, 91, 92.
  • Shew, dumb, in Tragedy, Spenser alludes to it, 221. account of it, 221.
  • Shield, a miraculous one, copied from Ariosto, 144, 145.
  • SHINE, 274, 275.
  • Squier's Tale, Spenser's use of it, 110. not unfinish'd, 110. Milton's al­lusion to it explain'd, 112. a complete copy of it probably seen by Lyd­gate, 113. completed by John Lane, 113.
  • Squire of Dames, Tale of, copied from Ariosto, 150. Squire of lo de­degree, title of an old Romance, 275, 276.
  • SILIUS ITALICUS, copies from Onomacritus, 79.
  • SKELTON, his character, 234.
  • SKINNER, his censure of Chaucer's language, 96.
  • SORT, 204, 205.
  • Spear, a miraculous one, copied from Ariosto, 147, 148.
  • SPEGHT, editor of Chaucer, vindicated, 140.
  • SPETT, 254.
  • Stanza, Spenser's, why chosen by him, 81. disagreeable to the nature of the English tongue, 81, 82. productive of many absurdities, 82, 83. and of some advantages, 83.
  • STIE, 200, 201.
  • STREMONA, a name of a place no where found, 50.
  • SUGRED, 253.
  • Surprise, a fine one, copied from Chaucer, 104, 105.
  • Swords, nam'd, 279.
  • SYLVANUS, misrepresented, 49.
  • TALUS, drawn from Talus, or Talos, an antient guardian of Crete, 69, 70, 71, 72.
  • TANAQUIL, Queen Elizabeth, 39.
  • TANTALUS, Spenser misrepresents Mythology concerning him, 56.
  • [Page 322]TASSO, how far faulty, 2. why Spenser chose rather to imitate Ariosto than him, 3. Spenser copies a comparison from him, 65, 66.
  • Tautology, instances of it in Spenser, 168, 169, 170.
  • Time, sentiments concerning it, copied from Chaucer, 115.
  • TITYRUS, Chaucer so call'd by Milton, from Spenser, 88.
  • THOPAS, Sir, a poem of Chaucer, sung to the Harp in Q. Elizabeth's age, 36.
  • Tobacco, why prais'd by Spenser, 266, 267.
  • Trees, description of, copied by Spenser from Chaucer, 100, 101. Chau­cer's ridicule of such a description in Statius, 102, 103. Spenser has avoided the faults of Statius, and others, in his description, 101, 102.
  • TRISSINO, vindicated, 2.
  • TRISTRAM, Sir, his birth and education, drawn from a Romance call'd Morte Arthur, 15.
  • VALERIUS FLACCUS, finely describes the distress of Hercules, and rape of Hylas, 67.
  • VENUS, of both sexes, 68.
  • Virelayes, account of, 269, 270.
  • VIRGIL, copied by Spenser, 244, 253, 256, 267, 287.
  • Visions of Pierce Plowman, account of them, 89, 90, 91. style of them imitated by Spenser, 89.
  • Unity, of action, wanted in the FAERIE QUEENE, 4.
  • UPTON, Mr. suppos'd to have mistaken a passage in Spenser, 73. in Chau­cer, 132, 133, 245.
  • WALLER, imitates Daniel, 271, 272.
  • WENCH, 253.
  • Witches, why well describ'd by Spenser, 267.
  • Whole, necessary to the heroic poem, 7. how violated by Spenser, 8.
  • Winchester, Marchioness of, her death celebrated by Milton and John­son, 165, 166.
  • Woman, praise of, copied from Ariosto, 148, 149.
  • Wound, copied from Chaucer, 109, 110.

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