« EelmineJätka »
by will, she being also called Glorian, or GLORIANA.
In the story of Enfinel, who overcame the Gobbelines, Spenser either alludes to the fiction of the Guelfes and Gibbelines in italy ; or to another race of fairies, called Goblins, and commonly joined with Elfes. His friend and commentator, E. K., remarks*, that our Elfes and Goblins were derived from the two parties Guelfes and Gibbelines. This etymology I by no means approve.
The mention of it however may serve to illustrate Spenser's meaning in this passage Elfinan perhaps is king Lud, who founded London, or Cleopolis: In which the fairest FAERIE queene doth well,' F, Q. i. x. 58. Elfant built her palace Panthea, probably Windsor-castle. The bridge of glass may mean London-bridge. But these images of the golden wall, the crystal tower, &c, seem to be all adopted from romance At least, they all flow from a mind strongly tinctured with romantick ideas. In the latter part of this genealogy, he has manifestly adumbrated some of our English princes. Elficleos is king Henry VII., whose eldest son, prince Arthur, died at sixteen years of age, in Ludlow-castle ; and whose youngest son Oberon, that is Henry VIII., succeeded to the crown, marrying his brother Arthur's widow, the princess Katherinea
Eclogue June. T, WARTON,
This Spenser particularly specifies in these verses, F. Q. ü. x. 75.
• Whose emptie place, the mightie Oberon Doubly supplide, in SPOUSALL and DOMINION.'
And that the fame of this king was very recent in our author's age, is obvious. It is remarkable that Spenser says nothing of Edward VI. and queen Mary, who reigned between Henry VIII. and queen Elizabeth; but that he passes imme. diately from Oberon to Tanaquil, or GLURIANA, i. e. Elizabeth, who was excluded from her succession by those two intermediate reigas. There is much address and art in the poet's manner of making this omission.
• He dying left the fairest Tanaquill,
As to the Fairy QUEEN, considered apart from the race of fairies, the notion of such an imaginary personage was very common. Chaucer, in his Rine of Sir Thopea, mentions her, together with a fairy land: and Sbakspeare, the poet o
of popular superstition, has introduced her in the Midsummer-Night's Dream. She was supposed to have held her court in the highest magnificence, in the reign of king Artbur; a circumstance, by
which the transcendent happiness of that golden age was originally represented in its legendary chronicles. Thus Chaucer, Wife of Bathes T. y. 857. edit. Urr.
• In the old dayis of the king Arthure,
Hence too we find, that Spenser followed the established tradition, in supposing his Fairy Queen* to exist in the age of Arthur.
In Chaucer's Rime of Sir Thopas, mentioned above, the knight, like Spenser's Arthur, goes in search of a Fairy Queen :
• An Elf-QUENE well I love, I wis,
• It appears from John Marston's satires, entitled the SCOURGE OF VILLANIE, tbree books of satyres, and printed in the year 1598, that our Author's PAERIE QUEENÉ occa. sioned 'many publicacions, 11 WHICH fatties were the priticipal actors, viz. TX Lectores.
Go buy some ballad of the PAERY KING.”
- At length some wonted sleepe doth crowne
And tells him wonders of some dowrie vale
Awakes, straite rubs his eyes, and prints his tale.' And I have seen a romance, which seems to have been written soon after Spenser's poem, cotitled, THE EÐ OSE KNIGHT; where the knight, after the example of prince Arthur, gore in scarch of the Fairy push. T. WARTON.
• Worthy to be my
By dale and eke by doune.
• An ELF-Quene to espie,
• The countre of FAIRIE.'
He then meets a terrible giant, who threatens him with destruction, for entering that country, and tells him ;
• Here wonnith the Quene or Fairie,
* Within this place and boure;
• Whan I have mine armoure.'
In Chaucer it appears that Fairy-Land, and Fairies, were sometimes used for hell, and its ideal inhabitants. Thus in the Marchant's Tale, V. 221.
• Pluto that is king of FAYRIE.' Again,
Proserpine and all her Fayrie.'
In the same :
• And I, quoth the Quene, [Proser. pine] am of FAYRIE.' In the Knight's Tale, when the břasen horse was brought into Cambus
can's hall, . It was of FAYRIE, as the people deem'd.' That is, the people thought this • wonderful horse was the work of the devil, and 6 made in hell.' And in the romance of the Seven Champions, Proserpine is called the Fairy Queen, and said to sit crowned amongst ber FAYRIES.' P. 1. ch. 16. In Harsenet's Declaration of Popish Imposture, &c. 1002, pag. 57, ch. 12, Mercury is called • Prince of the FAIRIES.'
This fiction of the Fairies, is supposed to have been brought, with other fantastick extravagancies of the like nature, from the Eastern nations, while the European Christians were engaged in the holy war; those expeditions being the first subjects of the elder romance. These are the words of one [Warburton) who has shown his masterly shill and penetration in every part of literature. • Nor were the monstrous embellisho ments of enchantments, &c. the invention of the tomancers; but formed upon Eastem tales, brought thence by travellers from their crusades and pilgrimages, which indeed have a cast peculiar to the wild imagination of the easteru people.' That the Fairies, in particuiar, came from the East, the testimony of M. Herbelot will more fully confirm; who tells us, that the Persians call the Fairies Peri; and the Arabs, Ginn ; that they féign, there is a certain country inhabited by them, called Ginistian, which answers to our Fairy-larid; and that the ancient romances of