Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage

By R. M.Cummings | Go to book overview

147.

Alexander Gill

1621

See headnote to No. 68. Almost all Gill's examples, as he himself says (p. 97), are taken from Spenser's Faerie Queene. The two below are a little less specific than most.

(a) From Logonomia Anglica (1621), p. 99; repr. in edition of O.L. Jiriczek (Strasburg, 1903), pp. 104-5:

[Gill is talking about metaphor.] From this source, rise all allegories and similes (also most proverbs and enigmas). For allegory is nothing but a continued metaphor….

[quotes Faerie Queene III. iv. 8-91−3]

But all Spenser's poem is an allegory, by means of which he educates his readers morally with fables. Thus allegory, working like a metaphor, deals darkly with a whole world…. Proverb and enigma deal with it more obscurely yet. Simile operates more clearly, because the metaphor is first of all unfolded, and then set alongside its actual reference.

[quotes Faerie Queene I. ii. 161−7] 1

(b) Ibid., p. 142; repr. Jiriczek, p. 146:

In Spenser's Epic or Heroic Poem, every ninth verse, for the sake of its weight and a certain sureness of stance, is a hexameter. 2

1Ab hoc fonte Allegoriae omnes, & Comparationes,etiam pleraeque; et'. Allegoria nihil enim est, quam continuata Metaphora…. Sed & totum Spenseri poema allegoria est, qua ethicen fabulis edocet. Sic Allegoria rem totam per Metaphoram obscure tractât: Paroimia & Aenigma multo obscurius: Comparatio dilucidius, quia primo Metaforam explicat, postea cum re componit.

2Spenceri tamen Epicum, siue Heroicum, nonum quemque versum habet hexametrum; ad grauitatem, & quandam stationis firmitudinem.

-293-

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