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The author of these paltry verses has not only borrowed the thought which he has so ill expressed in the last distich, but that which is in the lines before it; for I remember to have seen somewhere this Epitaph on Sannazarius, made by Bembus :
Da sacro cineri flores: hic ille Maroni
Sincerus Mufa proximus, ut tumulo.
Communicated by a FRIEND of the EDITOR.
If the few following Strictures on Spenser meet with approbation, they are at your service, and may form no unwelcome Appendix to your Father's ReMARKS upon this his favourite and much-favoured author. I find them, in manuscript, on the blank leaves of a printed copy of those Remarks. They were many years since drawn up by a late writer ; they appear to be equally elegant and judicious; and have never yet been published.
I am, Sir, your's
SPENSER'S FAIRY QUEEN.
ST A NZ.
'Tis plain Spenser here imitates those four lines, which are sometimes prefixt, to the Æneid, though I can by no means believe them Virgil's.
Ille ego, qui quondam gracili modulatus avená
In the second stanza, and the fourth, there is a thought, which Milton has borrowed in the begin. ning of his poem :
What in me is dark,
Horace's request to Venus is of the same fort with this of Spenser :
Fervidus tecum Puer, et folutis
Mercuriusque. L. I. Od. 30.
Afflicted style.” Quære, whether it should not be affected ? Spenser, in his letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, calls his poem “ a continued allegory, or dark conceit.”
The light thrown into the dark cave by the armour of the knight, is not unlike what we read in Milton :
A dungeon, horrible on all sides round,
Par, Loft, 1. 61.
'Tis well known all rivers are represented by old men.
See Grævius on Callim. H. to Delos, v. 71.
The poet has a simile, B. 11. C. ix. 16. from gnats, with an expression or two similar to this.
High on a hill is a circumstance beautifully imagined. Homer, Il. A. 275. says,
Ως δ' τ' απο σκοπιής ειδεν νέφος αιπόλος ανήρ.
See the beginning of Theocritus' first Idyll.
Αδύ τι το ψιθύρισμα και.α σίτυς, αιπίλε, τήνα, “A σολί ταϊς σαγάισι, μελίσδείαι. The humming of bees is very frequently mentioned in Theocritus, whose word is the most beautiful for it that can be conceived :--V. 107.
Ωδε καλόν βομβευνι σόι σμάνεσσι μέλισσαι. See Homer Il. B. 87, and Æneid. I. 433. VI: 709.
Strepit omnis murmure campus.
All this business of the dream is plainly borrow ed from Homer. Spenser says the dream,
Upon his hardy head him plac'd;"
Il. B. ad Init.
The immediate place whence Spenser took his description of the trees, in Stanza 8. I suppose is Stanza 75. and 76. of Taffo's Jerusalem, Book III. See Fairfax's translation,