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Though Spenfer's affection to his mafter Chaucer led him in many things to copy after him, yet thofe who have read both will easily obferve that these two geniuses were of a very different kind. Chaucer excelled in his characters, Spenfer in his defcriptions. The firft ftudied humour, was an excellent fatirift, and a lively but rough painter of the manners of that rude age in which he lived: the latter was of the ferious turn, had an exalted and elegant mind, a warm and boundless fancy, and was an admirable imager of virtues and vices, which was his particular talent. The embellishments of description are rich and lavish in him beyond comparifon; and as this is the most striking part of poetry, especially to young readers, I take it to be the reafon that he has been the father of more poets among us than any other of our writers; poetry being firft kindled in the imagination, which Spenfer writes to more than any one, and the feafon of youth being the most fufceptible of the impreffion. It will not seem strange, therefore, that Cowley, as himself tells us, firft caught his flame by reading Spenfer; that our great Milton owned him for his original, as Mr. Dryden affures us; and that Dryden ftudied him, and has beftowed more frequent commendations on him than on any other English poet.

The most known and celebrated of his Works, though I will not fay the moft perfect, is the Faerie Queene: it is conceived, wrought up, and coloured with a stronger fancy, and difcovers more the particular genius of Spenfer than any of his other writings. The Author, in a Letter to Sir Walter Raleigh, having called this poem a continued allegory, or dark conceit, it may not be improper to offer fome Remarks on Allegorical Poetry in general, by which the beauties of this Work may more easily be difcovered by ordinary readers. I muft, at the

fame time, beg the indulgence of thofe, who are converfant with critical difcourfes, to what I shall here propofe; this being a fubject fomething out of the way, and not exprefsly treated upon by those who have laid down rules for the art of poetry.

An Allegory is a fable or story in which, under imaginary perfons or things, is fhadowed fome real action or inftructive moral; or, as I think it is fomewhere very fhortly defined by Plutarch, it is that "in which one thing is related, and another thing is understood." It is a kind of poetical picture, or hieroglyphick, which, by its apt refemblance, conveys inftruction to the mind by an analogy to the fenfes, and fo amufes the fancy, whilft it informs the understanding. Every allegory has, therefore, two fenfes, the literal and the myftical: the literal fenfe is like a dream or vifion, of which the mystical fenfe is the true meaning or interpretation.

This will be more clearly apprehended by con fidering, that as a fimile is but a more extended metaphor, fo an allegory is a kind of continued fimile, or an affemblage of fimilitudes drawn out at full length. Thus, when it is faid that Death is the offspring of Sin, this is a metaphor, to fignify that the former is produced by the latter, as a child is brought into the world by its parent. Again, to compare Death to a meagre and ghaftly apparition, ftarting out of the ground, moving towards the fpectator with a menacing air, and thaking in his hand a bloody dart, is a representation of the terrours which attend that great enemy to human nature. But let the reader obferve, in Milton's Paradife Loft, with what exquifite fancy and fkill this common metaphor and fimile, and the moral contained in them, are extended and wrought up into one of the most beautiful allegories in our language.

The resemblance which has been fo often obferved in general between poetry and painting is yet more particular in allegory, which, as I faid before, is a kind of picture in poetry. Horace has, in one of his Odes, pathetically defcribed the ruinous condition of his country after the Civil wars, and the hazard of its being involved in new diffentions, by the emblem of a ship shattered with ftorms, and driven into port with broken masts, torn fails, and difabled rigging, and in danger of being forced, by new storms, out to fea again. There is nothing faid in the whole Ode but what is literally applicable to a fhip; but it is generally agreed that the thing fignified is the Roman State. Thus Rubens, who had a good allegorical genius in painting, has, in his famous work of the Luxemburg gallery, figured the government of France, on Lewis XIII.'s arriving at age, by a galley. The King ftands at the helm, Mary of Medicis, the Queen-mother and Regent, puts the rudder in his hand; Juftice, Fortitude, Religion, and Public Faith, are feated at the oars; and other Virtues have their proper employments in managing the fails and tackle.

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By this general defcription of Allegory, it may eafily be conceived, that in works of this kind there is a large field open to invention, which among the Ancients was univerfally looked upon to be the principal part of poetry. The power of raifing images or refemblances of things, giving them life and action, and prefenting them as it were before the eyes, was thought to have fomething in it like creation; and it was probably for this fabling part that the first authors of fuch works were called Poets or Makers, as the word fignifies, and as it is literally tranflated and ufed by Spenfer; though the learned Gerard Voffius is of opinion that it was rather

a De Arte Poetica, cap. 3. §. 16. HUGHES.

for the framing their verfes. However, by this art of fiction or allegory, more than by the ftructure of their numbers, or what we now call Verfification, the poets were diftinguifhed from hiftorians and philofophers, though the latter fometimes invaded the province of the poet, and delivered their doctrines likewife in allegories or parables: and this, when they did not purpofely make them obfcure in order to conceal them from the common people, was a plain indication that they thought there was an advantage in fuch methods of conveying inftruction to the mind; and that they ferved for the more effectual engaging the attention of the hearers, and for leaving deeper impreffions on their memories.

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Plutarch, in one of his difcourfes, gives a very good reafon for the ufe of fiction in poetry, because "Truth of itself is rigid and auftere, and cannot be moulded into fuch agreeable forms as fiction can. For neither the numbers," fays he, "nor the ranging of the words, nor the elevation and elegance of the style, have fo many graces as the artful contrivance and difpofition of the fable.” For this reason, as he relates it after Plato, when the wife Socrates himself was prompted by a par ticular impulfe to the writing of verfes, being by his conftant employment in the ftudy of truth a ftranger to the art of invention, he chofe for his fubject the Fables of Efop, "not thinking," fays Plutarch, that any thing could be poetry. which was void of fiction." The fame author makes use of a comparison, in another place, which I think may be most properly applied to allegorical poetry in particular; that" as grapes on a vine are covered by the leaves which grow about them, fo under the pleafant narrations and fictions of the poets there are couched many ufeful morals and doctrines."

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It is for this reason, that is to fay, in regard to the moral fenfe, that allegory has a liberty indulged to it beyond any other fort of writing whatsoever; that it often affembles things of the moft contrary kinds in nature, and fuppofes even impoffibilities; as that a golden bough fhould grow among the common branches of a tree, as Virgil has defcribed it in the Sixth Book of his Eneis. Allegory is indeed the Fairy Land of poetry, peopled by imagination; its inhabitants are fo many apparitions; its woods, caves, wild beafts, rivers, mountains, and palaces, are produced by a kind of magical power, and are all vifionary and typical; and it abounds in fuch licences as would be fhocking and monftrous, if the mind did not attend to the mystick fenfe contained under them. Thus, in the Fables of Efop, which are fome of the most ancient allegories extant, the author gives reafon and speech to beasts, infects, and plants; and by that means covertly inftructs mankind in the most important incidents and concerns of their lives.

I am not infenfible that the word Allegory has been fometimes ufed in a larger fenfe than that to which I may feem here to have reftrained it, and has been applied indifferently to any poem which contains a covered moral, though the ftory or fable carries nothing in it that appears vifionary or romantick. It It may be neceffary, therefore, to dif tinguish Allegory into the two following kinds :

The firft is that in which the story is framed of real or hiftorical perfons, and probable or poffible actions; by which, however, fome other perfons and actions are typified or reprefented. In this fense the whole Aneis of Virgil may be faid to be an Allegory, if we confider Æneas as reprefenting Auguftus Cæfar, and his conducting the remains of his countrymen from the ruins of Troy to a new

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