« ZurückWeiter »
ranks highest amongst the poets; I mean with all those who are either of that house, or have any kindness for it. Earth-born critics may blaspheme;
But all the gods are ravish'd with delight
Of his celestial song and musick's wondrous might.” -Remarks on the Plan and Conduct of the Faerie Queene (in Todd's
edition of Spenser, vol. ii. p. 183).
“In reading Spenser,” says Warton, “if the critic is not satisfied, yet the reader is transported.”—(Id. p. 65.)
Spenser," observes Coleridge, “has the wit of the southern, with the deeper inwardness of the northern genius. Take especial note of the marvellous independence and true imaginative absence of all particular space or time in the Faerie Queene. It is in the domains neither of history nor geography: it is ignorant of all artificial boundary, all material obstacles; it is truly in land of Faerie, that is, of mental space. The poet has placed you in a dream, a charmed sleep : and you neither wish nor have the power to inquire, where you are, or how you got there.”—Literary Remains, vol. i. p. 94.
"In reading the Faerie Queene," says Hazlitt, “you see a little withered old man by a wood-side opening a wicket, a giant, and a dwarf lagging far behind, a damsel in a boat upon an enchanted lake, wood-nymphs and satyrs; and all of a sudden you are transported into a lofty palace, with tapers burning, amidst knights and ladies, with dance and revelry, and song, and mask and antique pageantry.'--But some people will say that all this may be very fine, but they cannot understand it on account of the allegory. They are afraid of the allegory, as if they thought it would bite them; they look at it as a child looks at a painted dragon, and think that it will strangle them in its shining folds. This is very idle. If they do not meddle with the allegory, the allegory will not meddle . with them. Without minding it at all, the whole is as plain as a pike-staff. It might as well be pretended, that we cannot see Poussin's pictures for the allegory, as that the allegory prevents us from understanding Spenser.”— Lectures on the English Poets (Templeman's edition, 12mo p. 67).
THE HOUSE OF MORPHEUS.
Archimago, a hypocritical magician, lures Una and the Red-cross
Knight into his abode ; and while they are asleep, sends to Morpheus, the god of sleep, for a false dream to produce discord between them.
A little lowly hermitage it was,
Thereby a crystal stream did gently play,
Arrived there, the little house they fill,
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will ;
With fair discourse the evening so they pass.
He told of saints and popes, and evermore
The drooping night thus creepeth on them fast;
His magic books, and arts of sundry kinds,
Then choosing out few words most horrible
Great Gorgon, © prince of darkness and dead night; At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight.
And forth he call'd out of deep darkness dread
The one of them he gave a message to,
He, making speedy way through spersèd air,
And low, where dawning day doth never peep,
In silver dew his ever-drooping head,
Whose double gates he findeth locked fast;
And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deep
And more to lull him in his slumber soft,
Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet lies
The messenger approaching to him spake;
Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weak,
The sprite then gan more boldly him to wake,
Half angry asked him, for what he came.
Hither,” quoth he, “me Archimago sent;
He bids thee to him send for his intent
The god obey'd; and calling forth straightway
And on his little wings the Dream he bore
() Wellèd forth alway. The modulation of this charming stanza is exquisite. Let us divide it into its pauses, and see what we have been
A little lowly hermitage it was, |
Thereby a crystal stream did gently play, |
Which from a sacred fountain wellèd forth alway'. Mark the variety of the pauses, of the accentuation of the syllables, and of the intonation of the vowels; all closing in that exquisite last line, as soft and continuous as the water it describes. The repetition of the words little and hnly add to the sacred snugness of the abode.