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rise to the Mirrout for Magistrates. In the year 142 MR. WARTON'S REMARK: ON wants invention, grace, and dignity; in the other, wit and good mappers *.
I should be guilty of injustice to a nation, which, amid a variety of disadvantages, bas kept a constant pace with England in the progress of literature, if I neglected to mention, in this ger neral review, two Scottish poets who flourished about this period, Sir David Lyndesay, and Sir William Dunbar; the former of which in his Dream, and other pieces, and the latter in his Golden Terge, appear to bave been animated with the noblest spirit of allegorick fiction.
Soon afterwards appeared a series of poems, entitled, the Mirrour for Magistrates, formed upon a dramatick + plan, and capable of admite
* Wood informs us, that Skelton, for his satirical abuses of the Dominican monks, incurred the severe censure of Richard Nykke, bishop of Norwich; and that he was, moreover, 'guilty of certain crimes, as most poets are.' Ubi supr. vol. I. pag. 23.
T. WARTON. + Every person is introduced speaking. Richard 11. is thus introduced in a particular situation: Suppose you see the corpse of this prince, all to be mangled with blewe wounds, lying pale and wan, all naked, upon the stones, in St. Paules Church, the people standing round about him, and making his complaynt, in manner following, &c.' 1550, R. Baldwine was requested to continue Lydgate's serics of the great unfortunate;
but he chose rather to confine him. self entirely to our English story, and began with Robert Tre. silian, 1388, and ended with Lord Hastings, 1483. In this work he was assisted by others; and particularly by Thomas Sackville who wrote
the life of 'the Duke of Buckingham, tak gether with the Induction in tending, at the same time to quest to Tresilian, with whom Baldwine originally begun, and to have printed his additional part, together with all that Bald.
ting some of the most affecting patbetical strokes. But these pieces, however honoured with the commendation of Sidney, seem to be little better than a biographical detail*. There is one poem indeed among the rest, which exhibits a groupe of imaginary personages, so beautifully drawn, that, in all probability, they contributed to direct, at least to stimulate, Spenser's imagination in the construction of the like representations. Thus much may be truly said, that Sackville's Induction approaches nearer to the Faerie Queene, in the richness of allegorick description, than any previous or succeeding poem.
wine, and his friends, had already performed, in one yolume, and to have prefixed the Induction as a general prerace to the whole. But this was never executed. Afterwards another collection appeared under the same title, by W. Higgins, 1987. The last edition of the whole, with additions, was published by Richard Nichols, 1610. Drayton's Legends are written on this plan; and are therefore added in Niccols's edition.
Mr. Walpole, in his entertaining account of Royal and Noble Authors, remarks, that this set of poems gave rise to the fa. shion of historical plays, partişularly to Shakspeare's, vol. i. pag. 166, ed. 2. But the custom of acting Histories seems to have been very old on our stage. Stowe seems to make them a distinct species of drama; but perhaps improperly. Oflate days, instead of those stage playes, (at Skinner's Well, 1391,
and 1409.) have been used comedies, tragedies, enterludes, and HISTORIES, both true and fained. Survey of London, Edit, 1618. quarto, pag. 141. T. WARTON. * Bishop Hall ridicules
the Mirrour for Magistrates, in the following passage of his Satires, B. i. S. s.
• Another whose more hcavic-hearted saint
After the Faerie Queene, allegory began to decline, and by degrees gave place to a species of poetry*, whose images were of the metaphysical and abstracted kind. This fashion evident. ly took its rise from the predominant studies of the times, in which the disquisition of school divinity, and the perplexed subtilities of philosophick disputation, became the principal pursuits of the learned.
• Then Una fair. gan drop her princely mien.'
James I. is contemptuously called a pedantick monarch. But, surely, nothing could be more serviceable to the interests of learning, at its in. faney, than this supposed foible. « To stick the doctor's chair into the throne,' was to patronise the literature of the times. In a more enlight. ened age, the same attention to letters, and love of scholars, might have produced proportionable
* Mason's Museus. But the Spirit of chivalry, of which prince Henry was remarkably fond, together with shows and pageantries, still continued, yet in a less degree. Hence G, Wither introduces Britannia this lamenting the death of prince Henry, Prince Henries Obseq. El. 31. p. 368, Lond. 1617.
Alas, who now shall grace mv Turnaments,
Or honour me with deeds of Chivalrie?
wil ne puniscencies of the heart, who attades the passions and
effects on sciences of real utility. This cast of mind in the king, however indulged in some cases to an ostentatious affectation, was ao least innocent.
Allegory, notwithstanding, unexpectedly rekindled some faint sparks of its native splendour in the Purple Tiland of Phineas Fletcher, with .whom it almost as soon disappeared : when a poetry succeeded, in which imagination gave way to correctness, sublimity of description to delicacy of sentiment, and majestick imagery to conceit and epigram: Poets began now to be more at
tentive to words, than to things and objects. The nicer beauties of happy expression were preferred to the daring strokes of great conception.
Satire, that bape of the sublime, was imported from France. The Muses were debauched at court; and polite life, and familiar manners, be.
* Printed in the year 1633. The principal fault of this poem is, that the author has discovered too much of the anatomist. The Purple Island, is the Isle of man, whose parts and
construction the poet has described in an allegorical manner, viz. the bones are the foundation of it, the veins its brooks, &c. Afterwards the intellectual faculties are represented as persons;
shines where he of the heart alike personified, which, under the conduct of their Ieader Intellect, rout the former. In this poem there is also somewhat of a metaphysical turn. As the whole is supposed to be sung by two shepherds, the poet has found an opportunity of adorning the beginnings and endings of his cantos with
pem hear some resemblance to the Psychomachia of Prudentius. some
came their only.themes*. The simple dignity of Milton + was either entirely neglected, or mistaken for bombast, and insipidity, by the refined readers of a dissolute age, whose taste and morals were equally vitiated.
From this detail it will appear, that allegorical poetry, through many gradations, at last received its ultimate consummation in the Faerie Queene. Under this consideration therefore, I hope what I have here collected on this subject, will not seem too great a deviation from the main subject of the present remarks ; which I.conclude with the just and pertinent sentiments of the Abbé du Bos, on allegorical action, Reflexions, tom. i. c. 25.
Thus when Voltaire read his Henriade to Malezieuz, that learned man assured him, his work would not be tasted; for, says he, Les Francois n'ont pas le tete epique' In other words, The French have no idea of solemn and sublime poetry; of fiction and fable : the Satires of Boileau will be preferred to the best Epick poem... T. WARTON.
+ Even Dryden, blinded by the beauties of versification only, seems not to have had a just idea of Milton's greatness. It is odd, that in praising Milion, he should insist on these cir. cumstances. No man has so copiously translated Homer's
Grecisms, and the Latin elegancies of Virgil. By what fol. lows it appears, that he had no notion of Milton's simplicity. * He runs into a fat thought sometimes for a hundred lines to
gether, bui'us when he is got into a track of scripture.'. He afterwards strangely misrepresents Milton's reason for writing in blank verse. Neither will I just. fit Milion for his writing in blank verse; for, whatever causes he alleges for the abol. lishing of rhime, (which I have not now the leisure to exa. mine,) his own particular reason is plainly this, that Rhine was not his talent.' Whether rhyme was Milton's talent or not, I shall not inquire, but shall infer, from this reason, assigned by Dryden, that had Dryden composed the Paradise Lost he would have written it in rhyme, and that consequently with Burnet, he judged the want of it an imperfection in Mil. ton's poem. see dedication to Dryden's Juvenal.