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The snappish cur (the passengers annoy)
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
And curs, girls, boys, and scolds, in the deep base are drown'd.
The very turn of these numbers bears the closest resemblance with the following, which are of themselves a complete concert of the most delicious music.
The joyous birds, shrouded in chearful shade,
These images, one would have thought, were peculiarly calculated to have struck the fancy of our young imitator with so much admiration, as
* Book II. Canto 12. Stanza 71.
not to have suffered him to make a kind of travesty of them.
The next stanza of POPE represents some allegorical figures, of which his original was so fond.
Hard by a sty, beneath a roof of thatch,
With ENVY (spitting cat) dread foe to peace;
Like a curs'd cur, MALICE before her clatters,
And vexing every wight, tears cloaths and all to tatters.
But these personages of Obloquy, Slander, Envy, and Malice, are not marked with any distinct attributes; they are not those living figures,* whose
* Mr. Hume is of opinion, that the perusal of Spenser becomes tedious to almost all his readers. "This effect, (says he, History of England, page 738.) of which every one is conscious, is usually ascribed to the change of manners; but manners have more changed since Homer's age, and yet that poet remains still the favourite of every reader of taste and judgment. Homer copied true natural manners, which, however rough and uncultivated, will always form an agree
whose attitudes and behaviour Spenser has minutely drawn with so much clearness and truth, that we behold them with our eyes, as plainly as we do on the cieling of the banqueting-house. For, in truth, the pencil of Spenser is as powerful as that of Rubens, his brother allegorist; which two artists resembled each other in many respects; but Spenser had more grace, and was as warm a colourist. Among a multitude of objects delineated with the utmost force,* which
able and pleasing picture; but the pencil of the English poet was employed in drawing the affectations, and conceits, and fopperies, of chivalry, which appear ridiculous as soon as they lose the recommendation of the mode." But they had not ceased to be the mode in Spenser's time.
* Whence it came to pass that Spenser did not give his poem the due simplicity, coherence, and unity, of a legiti mate Epopea, the reader may find in Mr. Hurd's entertaining letter to Mr. Mason, on the Marks of imitation, pag. 19, and in Observations on the Faery Queen, pag. 2, 3, 4. "How happened it (says Mr. Hurd) that Sir Philip Sydney, in his Arcadia, and afterwards Spenser, in his Faery Queen, observed so unnatural a conduct in those works; in which the story proceeds, as it were, by snatches, and with continual interruptions? How was the good sense of those writers, so conversant besides in the best models of antiquity, seduced into this preposterous method? The answer, no doubt, is, that they were copying the design, or disorder rather, of Ariosto,
we might select on this occasion, let us stop a moment, and take one attentive look at the allegorical figures that rise to our view in the following lines:
By that way's side there sat infernal Pain,
And both did gnash their teeth, and both did threaten life.*
But gnawing Jealousie, out of their sight
Sitting alone, his bitter lips did bite;
the favourite poet of that time." We must not try the charming sallies of Ariosto by the rigid rules of Aristotle.
There is a remarkable letter of Bernardo Tasso, the father of Torquato, in which is this passage: "Ne sò io s'Aristotele nascesse a questa età, et vedesse il vaghissimo poema dell' Ariosto, conoscendo la forza de l'uso, et vedendo che tanto diletta, come l'esperienza ci dimonstra, mutasse opinione, et consentisse che si potesse far poema heroico di piu attione : Con la sua mirabil dottrina, et giudicio, dandogli nova norma, et prescrivuendogli novi leggi."
Lettere di XIII. Huomini Illustri da Tomaso Porcacchi.
In Venetia, 1584. Libro XVII.
* Book II. c. 7. 21.
And trembling Feare still to and fro did flie,
And found no place where safe he shroud him might.
And Shame his ugly face did hide from living eye.
To shew the richness of his fancy, he has given us another picture of Jealousy, conceived with equal strength, in a succeeding book.*
Into that cave he creepes, and thenceforth there
In dreary darknesse, and continual feare
Ne ever rests he in tranquillity,
The roaring billows beat his bowre so boisterously.f
Here all is in life and motion; here we behold the true Poet or MAKER; this is creation; it is here, "might we cry out to Spenser," it is here that you display to us, that you make us feel the
* Lord Somers was passionately fond of the Faery Queen; it was his favourite work; in the last picture which he sat for to Sir Godfrey Kneller, he desired to be painted with a Spenser in his hand.
Book iii. c. M.