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Your stubborne hart t’affect with fraile infirmity:
XXIX. “ To which when she your courage hath inclind
Through foolish pitty, then her guilefull bayt
ftrayt Held on his course with stayed stedfastneffe, Ne ever shroncke, ne ever fought to bayt His tyred armes for toylesome wearinefle; But with his oares did sweepe the watry wilders. neffe.
xxx. And now they nigh approched to the sted. Whereas those Mermayds dwelt: It was a
still And calmy bay, on th' one side sheltered With the brode shadow of an hoarie hill; On th’ other side an high rocke toured still, That twixt them both a pleafaunt port they .. made, And did like an halfe theatre fulfill :
XXIX. 7. - - ne ever fought to bayt
His tyred armes] To bayt here fignifies to rest, So Milton uses the word, Par. L. B. xii. 1. And Mr. Richardfon obferves, in a note on that passage, that a hawk is said to bate when be stoops in the midst of his flight. Bate, Fr. butre, s'abatre, to stoop. Church.. ; XXX. 7. And did like an halfe theatre fulfill :] That is,
There those five Sisters had continuall trade, And usd to bath themselves in that deceiptfull shade.
With th' Heliconian Maides for maystery;
And did fulfill, or compleat, the whole, like to an amphitheatie. This is taken from the famous bay of Naples, described by Virgil, Æn. i. 163. imitated by Taffo, C. xv. 42. Fulfill is not to be altered, but explained. Job xxxix. 2. “ Canst thou number the months that they fulfill ?” i. e. compleat. Upton. i XXXI: 1. They were faire Ladies, &c.] It is plain by this
and by what follows, that Spenser designed here to describe the Mermaids as Sirens. He has done it contrary to mythology: for the Sirens were not part women and part fishes, as Spenser and other moderns have imagined, but part women and part birds. They were the daughters of one of the Muses, as some relate. "We learn from the enıperor Julian that they contended with the Mutes, but that the Muses overcame them, took their wings away, and adorned themselves with them as with trophies, and in token of their victory, Epift. xli. JORTIN.
By the Sirens are imaged sensual pleasures; hence Spenser makes their number five : but the poets and mythologists as to their number vary. I refer the curious reader to the Schol. on Hom. Od té ver. 39; to Hyginus in Præfat. Ex Acheloo et Melpomene Sirenes, fc. and Fab. cxli; to Natalis Comes, Lib. vii. Cap. xiii; and to Barnes, Eurip. Helen. ver. 166. But should you ask, why did not Spenser follow rather the ancient poets and mythologists, than the moderns in making them Mermaids ? My answer is, Spenser has a mythology of his own : nor would he leave his brethren the romance-writers, where merely authority, is to be put against authority. Boccace has given a fanction to this description, Geneal. Deurum, Lib. vii. Cap. 20. Let me add our old poets, as Gower, Fol. x. 2, and Chaucer, Rom. of the Rose, ver. 680. Voffius has followed it too, “ Sirenes dicebantur tria marina monftra, quorum unumquodque, ut Horatii verbis utar, Definit in piscem mulier formofa superne.” See Voflius, Etymolog, in V. Sirenes.
Of their proud beautie, and th' one moyity: Transform’d to fish for their bold furquedry; But th’ upper halfe their hew retayned still, And their sweet skill in wonted melody;.
Which ever after they abufd to ill, Tallure weake traveillers, whom gotten they did kill.
XXXII. So now to Guyon, as he pafled by, Their pleasaunt tunes they sweetly thus ap
plyde ; “ O thou fayre fonne of gentle Faëry, That art in mightie armes most magnifyde Above all Knights that ever batteill tryde, O turne thy rudder betherward awhile : Here may thy storme-bett veffell fafely ryde; This is the Port of rest from troublous toyle,
their bold furquedry;] Pride. See the note on surquedry, F.Q. v. ii. 30. TODD. XXXI. 6. But th’ upper halfe their hew retayned still,
. And their sweet skill] That is, And they retained their sweet tkill : They is often omitted in Spenser: 'tis elliptically expressed. . See Ovid, Met. v. 563.
Virginei vultus et vox humana remanfit." Upton. XXXII. 3. O thou fayre funne &c.] This song of the Mermaids is copied from llomer, Od. r'. 184. where the Sirens say to Ulysses :
Asūp? ön iww.worúas odvosiū, péya xüdos Ayasão,
Où yao aw tos rñde x. 7. A. Jortin. XXXII. 8. This is the Port of rest &c.]. Perhaps he bor. rowed this from 'Tallo, C. xv. 63.
“ Questo è il porto del mondo, e qui il ristoro
· The worldes sweet In from paine and wearisome turmoyle.”
In his big base them fitly answered ; .
His treble, a straunge kinde of harmony; - Which Guyons fenses softly tickeled,
That he the Boteman bad row easily, And let him heare some part of their rare me-, lody
XXXIV. But him the Palmer from that vanity i : With temperate advice discounselled,
That they it.past, and shortly gan descry
The land to which their course they levelled; · When suddeinly a groffe fog over spred
- XXXIII. ]. With that &c.] This is very beautiful, and is Spenser's own invention, as far as I know. JORTIN.
A similar idea occurs in a fubfequent work, viz. Partheneia Sacra; printed in 1633. See p. 8. “ Those water-works, conduits, and aquaducts, which yet you might heare to make a gentle murmur throughout, affording an apt BASE for the birds to descant on. TODD.
XXXIV. 5. When suddeinly a grose fog orer Spred &c.] "Tis plain that during the whole voyage of this Knight, and his fober conductor, our poet had in view the voyage of Ulysses; especially the xiith book of Homer's Odulley, where the wife hero meets with the adventures of the Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis ; foon after follows his Mipwreck, and his arrival at the island of Calypso. Compare Virgil, Æn. 1892. Upton.
With his dull vapour all that defert has, · And heavens chearefull face enveloped,
That all things one, and one as nothing was, And this great universe seemd one confused mas.
How to direct theyr way in darkenes wide,
cride, * And with their wicked wings them ofte did
fmight, And fore annoyed, groping in that griefly night.
And fatall birds about them flocked were,
XXXV. 4. For tombling &c.] That is, Left they should tumble, or, that they might not tumble. See F. Q. 111. vi. 18, vi. x. 11. So, in Nöther Hubberds Tale, when the Ape goes to Heal the crown &c. from the Neeping Lion :
“ Upon his tiptoes nicely he upwent
“For making noyse—"
“ And ovir that an habergeon