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But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
103. The passage from this to the 120th line alludes to the frequent úse made by poets of the pictures in the moon; the last of them particularly noticing the enigmatical disguises practised by the poets, which will be observed upon at more length in the beginning of the next volume. But it may not be out of place to mention here, that Mr. Hughes, in his preface to bis edition of Spen. ser's Faiery Queen, makes the following remarks on this passage. "Milton has described what is meaned by allegory in his poem called Il Penseroso, where he alludes to the Squire's Tale in Chaucer, or call up him that left half told, &c.' And in another part of the same preface there is the following passage. :"An allegory is a fable or story, in which, under imaginary persons or things, is 'shadowed some real action or instructive moral, or, as I think it is somewhere very shortly 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 hieroglyphic, which by its apt resemblance conveys instruction to the mind by an analogy to the senses; and so amuses the fancy whilst it informs the understanding.
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing 105
Every allegory has therefore two senses, the literal and the mystical; the literal sense is like a dream or vision, of which the mystical sense is the true meaning or interpretation.” In the course of these able remarks, the preface bestows the highest commendations on Mr. Addison for his success in that mode of writing, instancing his visions in the Tatler and Spectator, namely, those of Justice, of Fame, of Love, Ambition, and Avarice; and particularly the fable of the two families of Pain and Pleasure. On all which, however, I think it may be fairly observed, that these remarks, however masterly, came somewhat short of the truth; for that, in so far at least as the method of the ancients is in question, they do not appear to have suffered their imaginations to run wild, by personifying unsubstantial things, such as the passions of love and ambition, or the feelings of pain and pleasure, but they seem to have seized upon the real likenesses to human beings, or otier animals or objects, wherever they found them,
Or call up him that left half told
whether in the heavens or on the earth, and personified the former and brought the others into action in regular methodical pieces which were framed with a view to physical rather than to moral instruction. And it will be found, on further inquiry, that those observations are not less applicable to Spenser's Faiery Queen, than they are to the various compositions noticed in the preceding volumes.
Thus night oft see me in thy pale career,
121. After what has been said in former notes, this line needs no comment.
125. On the east or left side of the moon (the north being uppermost) may be seen the likeness of a female figure, the outline of whose face and body is formed by the shadows of Montano's face (fig. 101). This figure I apprehend to be alluded to in this line; the streaks of pale shadows and spots of the same around it, forming the kerchief (125) and the leaves and drops of rain (130).
131. The south side of the moon being now
To arched walks of twilight groves, And shadows brown that Sylvan loves Of pine, or monumental oak, 135 Where the rude axe with heaved stroke i Was never heard the nymphs to daunt, Or fright them from their hallowed haunt... There in close covert by some brook, Where no profaned eye may look, 140 Hide me from day's garish eye, . . While the bee with honied thigh, That at her flow'ry work doth sing, And the waters murmuring , With such concert as they keep, 145 Entice the dewy-feather'd sleep;
uppermost, the explosion of light there is to be taken for the sun; the circumference of the moon above it for the arch (133), and the elm (of the note on line 57 of l'Allegro) is now be taken for the pine or oak of line 135 here. ' . · 139. The brook will be that over which Ophelia in Hamlet attempted to hang her garland on the willow-tree. · 146. The mention of sleep here and in 150