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Te-he, cry'd Ladies; Clerke not spake:
Miss star'd; and gray Ducke crieth Quaake.
"O Moder, Moder, (quoth the daughter)
"Be thilke fame thing Maids longer a'ter?
"Bette is to pyne on coals and chalke,
"Then trust on Mon, whofe yerde can talke.”

25

NOTES.

VER. 25. Bette is to pyne] A grofs and dull caricature of the father of English poetry, and very unworthy of our author at any

age.

II.

SPENSER.

HE that was unacquainted with Spenfer, and was to form his ideas of the turn and manner of his genius from this piece, would undoubtedly suppose that he abounded in filthy images, and excelled in defcribing the lower scenes of life. But the characteristics of this sweet and allegorical poet are not only ftrong and circumstantial imagery, but tender and pathetic feeling, a moft melodious flow of verfification, and a certain pleafing melancholy in his fentiments, the conftant companion of an elegant tafte, that cafts a delicacy and grace over all his compofitions. To imitate Spenfer on a fubject that does not partake of the pathos, is not giving a true representation of him; for he seems to be more awake and alive to all the foftneffes of nature than almoft any writer I can recollect. There is an affemblage of difgufting and difagreeable founds in the following ftanza of Pope, which one is almoft tempted to think, if it were poffible, had been contrived as a contrast, or rather as a burlesque, of a moft exquifite ftanza in the Fairy Queen:

"The fnappifh cur (the paffengers annoy)
Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
The whimp'ring girl, and hoarser-screaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble fhrilling cries;
The fcolding Quean to louder notes doth rife,
And her full pipes those fhrilling cries confound;
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
And curs, girls, boys, in the deep base are drown'd."

The very turn of these numbers bears the clofeft resemblance with the following, which are of themselves a complete concert of the moft delicious mufic:

"The joyous birds fhrouded in cheerful fhade,

Their notes unto the voice attempred fweet;

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Th' angelical, foft trembling voices made
To th' inftruments divine refpondance meet;
The filver-founding inftruments did meet
With the base murmure of the water's fall;
The waters fall with difference difcreet,
Now foft, now loud unto the wind did call,
The gentle warbling wind low answered to all."
Book ii. cant. 12. f. 71.

These images, one would have thought, were peculiarly calculated to have ftruck the fancy of our young imitator with so much admiration, as not to have fuffered him to make a kind of travesty of them.

The next stanza of Fope reprefents fome allegorical figures, of which his original was fo fond:

"Hard by a fty, beneath a roof of thatch,
Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days

Baskets of fish at Billingfgate did watch,

Cod, whiting, oyfter, mackrel, fprat, or plaice;

There learn'd she speech from tongues that never cease,

Slander befide her, like a Magpie, chatters,

With Envy, (fpitting Cat) dread foe to peace;

Like a curs'd Cur, Malice before her clatters

And vexing ev'ry wight, tears cloaths and all to tatters."

But these perfonages of Obloquy, Slander, Envy, and Malice, are not marked with any distinct attributes; they are not those living figures, whose attitudes and behaviour Spencer 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 banquetting-house. For, in truth, the pencil of Spenfer is as powerful as that of Rubens, his brother allegorift; which two artists resembled each other in many respects; but Spenfer had more grace, and was as warm a colourist.

II.

SPENSER.

THE ALLEY.

I.

IN ev'ry Town, where Thamis rolls his Tyde,
A narrow Pass there is, with Houses low;
Where ever and anon, the Stream is ey'd,
And many a Boat foft fliding to and fro.

There oft are heard the notes of Infant Woe,

5

The fhort thick Sob, loud Scream, and fhriller Squall:

How can ye, Mothers, vex your Children fo?
Some play, fome eat, fome cack against the wall,

And as they crouchen low, for bread and butter call.

II.

And on the broken pavement, here and there,
Doth many a ftinking sprat and herring lie;

A brandy and tobacco fhop is near,

And hens, and dogs, and hogs are feeding by;
And here a failor's jacket hangs to dry.

At ev'ry door are fun-burnt matrons seen,

Mending old nets to catch the fcaly fry;

10

15

Now finging fhrill, and fcolding eft between;
Scolds answer foul-mouth'd fcolds; bad neighbour-

hood I ween.

T 4

The

III.

20

The fnappifh cur (the paffengers annoy)
Close at my heel with yelping treble flies;
The whimp'ring girl, and hoarser-screaming boy,
Join to the yelping treble fhrilling cries;
The fcolding Quean to louder notes doth rise,
And her full pipes thofe fhrilling cries confound;
To her full pipes the grunting hog replies;
The grunting hogs alarm the neighbours round,
And curs, girls, boys, and fcolds, in the deep base
are drown'd.

25

IV.

Hard by a Sty, beneath a roof of thatch,
Dwelt Obloquy, who in her early days

Baskets of fish at Billingfgate did watch,

30

Cod, whiting, oyster, mackrel, sprat, or plaice:
There learn'd fhe fpeech from tongues that never cease.
Slander befide her, like a Magpie, chatters,
With Envy, (fpitting Cat) dread foe to peace;
Like a curs'd Cur, Malice before her clatters,
And vexing ev'ry wight, tears clothes and all to tatters.

V.

Her dugs were mark'd by ev'ry Collier's hand,

Her mouth was black as bull-dogs at the ftall:

35

NOTES.

She

VER. 30. Bafkets of fifb] How different from thofe enchanting imitations of Spenfer, The Caftle of Indolence and the Minstrel!

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