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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).




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,
Down in a dale, hard by a forest's side,
Far from resort of people that did pass
In travel to and fro: a little wide
There was a holy chapel edifyde,
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say
His holy things each morn and eventide :

Thereby a crystal stream did gently play,
Which from a sacred fountain wellèd forth alway.

Arrived there, the little house they fill,
Nor look for entertainment where none was; (*)

Rest is their feast, and all things at their will ;
| The noblest mind the best contentment has. 1)

With fair discourse the evening so they pass.
For that old man of pleasing words had store,
And well could file his tongue as smooth as glass :

He told of saints and popes, and evermore
He strow'd an Ave-Mary after and before.

The drooping night thus creepeth on them fast;
And the sad humour, loading their eye-lids,
As messenger of Morpheus, on them cast
Sweet slumbering dew; the which to sleep them bids.
Unto their lodgings then his guests he rids ;
Where, when all drown'd in deadly sleep he finds,
He to his study goes ; and there amids

His magic books, and arts of sundry kinds,
He seeks out mighty charms to trouble sleepy minds.

Then choosing out few words most horrible
(Let none them read !) ☺ thereof did verses frame;
With which, and other spells like terrible,
He bade awake black Pluto's grisly dame;
And cursed Heaven; and spake reproachful shame
Of highest God, the Lord of life and light:
A bold bad man ! that dar'd to call by name

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
Legions of sprites, the which, like little flies, o
Fluttering about his ever-damned head,
Await whereto their service he applies ;
To aid his friends, or fray his enemies;
Of those he chose out two, the falsest two,
And fittest for to forge true-seeming lies ;

The one of them he gave a message to,
The other by himself stay'd other work to do.

He, making speedy way through spersèd air,
And through the world of waters wide and deep, (®)
To Morpheus' house doth hastily repair. )
Amid the bowels of the earth full steep

And low, where dawning day doth never peep,
His dwelling is; there Tethys his wet bed
Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steep

In silver dew his ever-drooping head,
While sad Night over him her mantle black doth spread.

Whose double gates he findeth locked fast;
The one fair fram'd of burnish'd ivory,
The other all with silver overcast;
And wakeful dogs before them far do lie,
Watching to banish Care their enemy,
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle Sleep.
By them the sprite doth pass in quietly,

And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deep
In drowsy fit he finds : of nothing he takes keep.

And more to lull him in his slumber soft,
A trickling stream from high rock tumbling down
And ever-drizzling rain upon the loft,
Mix'd with a murmuring wind, much like the soun
Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swoun :
No other noise, nor people's troublous cries,
As still are wont to annoy the wallèd town,

Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet lies
Wrapt in eternal silence, far from enemies. (10)

The messenger approaching to him spake;
But his waste words return'd to him in vain :
So sound he slept, that nought might him awake.
Then rudely he him thrust, and push'd with pain,
Whereat he gan to stretch : but he again
Shook him so hard, that forced him to speak.
As one then in a dream, whose drier brain

Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weak,
He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence break.

The sprite then gan more boldly him to wake,
And threaten'd unto him the dreaded name
Of Hecaté : whereat he gan to quake,
And lifting up his lumpish head, with blame

Half angry asked him, for what he came.

Hither,” quoth he, “me Archimago sent;
He that the stubborn sprites can wisely tame;

He bids thee to him send for his intent
A fit false dream, that can delude the sleeper's sent." (")

The god obey'd; and calling forth straightway
A diverse Dream (13) out of his prison dark,
Deliver'd it to him, and down did lay
His heavy head, devoid of careful cark;
Whose senses all were straight benumb’d and stark.
He, back returning by the ivory door,
Remounted up as light as cheerful lark ;

And on his little wings the Dream he bore
In haste unto his lord, where he him left afore.

() 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, |
Down in a dale, | hard by a forest's side, |
Far from resort of people that did pass
In travel to and fro: | a little wide |
There was a holy chapel edifyde, I
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say
His holy things each morn and eventide: 1

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.

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