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Pulci and Boiardo above Tasso. It was easier to vindicate Ariosto from some of Pellegrino's censures, which are couched in the pedantic tone of insisting with the reader that he ought not to be pleased. He has followed Castelvetro in several criticisms. The rules of epic poetry so long observed, he maintains, ought to be reckoned fundamental principles, which no one can dispute without presumption. The academy answer this well on behalf of Ariosto. Their censures on the Jerusalem apply, in part to the characters and incidents, wherein they are sometimes right, in part to the language, many phrases, according to them, being bad Italian, as pietose for pie in the first line.
attack on Tasso.
29. Salviati, a verbose critic, who had written two quarto volumes on the style of Boccaccio, assailed Salviati's the new epic in two treatises, entitled L'Infarinato. Tasso's Apology followed very soon; but it has been sometimes thought that these criticisms, acting on his morbid intellect, though he repelled them vigorously, might have influenced him to that waste of labour, by which, in the last years of his life, he changed so much of his great poem for the worse. The obscurer insects whom envy stirred up against its glory are not worthy to be remembered. The chief praise of Salviati himself is that he laid the foundations of the first classical dictionary of any modern language, the Vocabulario della Crusca.
30. Bouterwek has made us acquainted with a treatise in Spanish on the art of poetry, which he regards Pinciano's as the earliest of its kind in modern literature. Poetry. It could not be so according to the date of its publication, which is in 1596; but the author, Alonzo Lopez Pinciano, was physician to Charles V., and it was therefore
In the second volume of the edition of Tasso at Venice, 1735, the Caraffa of Pellegrino, the Defence of Ariosto by the Academy, Tasso's Apology, and the Infarinato of Salviati, are cut into sentences, placed to answer each other like a dialogue. This produces an awkward and unnatural effect, as passages are torn from their context to place them in opposition.
The criticism on both sides becomes infinitely wearisome; yet not more so than much that we find in our modern
reviews, and with the advantage of being
d Corniani, vi. 204. The Italian literature would supply several more works on criticism, rhetoric, and grammar. Upon all these subjects it was much richer, at this time, than the French or English.
written, in all probability, many years before it appeared from the press. The title is rather quaint, Philosophia Antigua Poetica, and it is written in the form of letters. Pinciano is the first who discovered the Poetics of Aristotle, which he had diligently studied, to be a fragment of a larger work, as is now generally admitted. "Whenever Lopez Pinciano," says Bouterwek, "abandons Aristotle, his notions respecting the different poetic styles are as confused as those of his contemporaries; and only a few of his notions and distinctions can be deemed of importance at the present day. But his name is deserving of honourable remembrance, for he was the first writer of modern times who endeavoured to establish a philosophic art of poetry; and, with all his veneration for Aristotle, he was the first scholar who ventured to think for himself, and to go somewhat farther than his master."e The Art of Poetry, by Juan de la Cueva, is a poem of the didactic. class, containing some information as to the history of Spanish verse. The other critical treatises which appeared in Spain about this time seem to be of little importance; but we know by the writings of Cervantes, that the poets of the age of Philip were, as usual, followed by the animal for whose natural prey they are designed, the sharp-toothed and keen-scented critic.
French treatises of criticism.
31. France produced very few books of the same class. The Institutiones Oratoriæ of Omer Talon is an elementary and short treatise of rhetoric." Baillet and Goujet give some praise to the Art of Poetry by Pelletier, published in 1555. The treatise of Henry Stephens, on the Conformity of the French Language with the Greek, is said to contain very good observations. But it must be (for I do not recollect to have seen it) rather a book of grammar than of superior criticism. The Rhetorique Française of Fouquelin (1555) seems to be little else than a summary of rhetorical figures. That of Courcelles, in 1557, is not much better. All these relate
Hist. of Span. Lit. p. 323.
It is printed entire in the eighth volume of Parnaso Español.
Gibert, Maîtres de l'Eloquence, printed in Baillet, viii. 181.
h Baillet, iii. 351. Goujet, iii. 97.
rather to prose than to poetry. From the number of versifiers in France, and the popularity of Ronsard and his school, we might have expected a larger harvest of critics. Pasquier, in his valuable miscellany, Les Recherches de la France, has devoted a few pages to this subject, but not on an extensive or systematic plan; nor can the two Bibliothèques Françaises, by La Croix du Maine and Verdier, both published in 1584, though they contain a great deal of information as to the literature of France, with some critical estimates of books, be reckoned in the class to which we are now adverting.
32. Thomas Wilson, afterwards secretary of state, and much employed under Elizabeth, is the author of Wilson's Art an "Art of Rhetorique," dated in the preface rique. January, 1553. The rules in this treatise are chiefly from Aristotle, with the help of Cicero and Quintilian, but his examples and illustrations are modern. Warton says that it is the first system of criticism in our language." But in common use of the word it is no criticism at all, any more than the treatise of Cicero de Oratore; it is what it professes to be, a system of rhetoric in the ancient manner; and, in this sense, it had been preceded by the work of Leonard Cox, which has been mentioned in another place. Wilson was a man of considerable learning, and his Art of Rhetorique is by no means without merit. He deserves praise for censuring the pedantry of learned phrases, or, as he calls them, "strange inkhorn terms," advising men "to speak as is commonly received;" and he censures also what was not less pedantic, the introduction of a French or Italian idiom, which the travelled English affected in order to show their politeness, as the scholars did the former to prove their erudition. Wilson had before published an Art of Logic.
33. The first English criticism, properly speaking, that I find, is a short tract by Gascoyne, doubtless the poet of that name, published in 1575; "Certain Webbe. Notes of Instruction concerning the making of Verse or Rhyme in English." It consists only of ten pages, but the observations are judicious. Gascoyne recommends that the sentence should, as far as possible, be finished at
"Hist. of Engl. Poetry, iv. 157.
the close of two lines in the couplet measure. author of a "Discourse of English Poetry" (1586), is copious in comparison with Gascoyne, though he stretches but to seventy pages. His taste is better shown in his praise of Spenser for the Shepherd's Kalendar, than of Gabriel Harvey for his "reformation of our English verse;" that is, by forcing it into uncouth Latin measures, which Webbe has himself most unhappily attempted.
34. A supeior writer to Webbe was George Puttenham, whose "Art of English Poesie," published in Art of Poesie. 1589, is a small quarto of 258 pages in three books. It is in many parts very well written, in a measured prose, rather elaborate and diffuse. He quotes occasionally a little Greek. Among the contemporary English poets, Puttenham extols "for eclogue and pastoral poetry Sir Philip Sidney and Master Chaloner, and that other gentleman who wrote the late Shepherd's Kalendar. For ditty and amorous ode I find Sir Walter Rawleigh's vein most lofty, insolent [uncommon], and passionate; Master Edward Dyer for elegy most sweet, solemn, and of high conceit; Gascon [Gascoyne] for a good metre and for a plentiful vein; Phaer and Golding for a learned and wellconnected verse, specially in translation, clear, and very faithfully answering their author's intent. Others have also written with much facility, but more commendably perhaps, if they had not written so much nor so popularly. But last in recital and first in degree is the queen our sovereign lady, whose learned, delicate, noble muse easily surmounteth all the rest that have written before her time or since, for sense, sweetness, and subtilty, be it in ode, elegy, epigram, or any other kind of poem, heroic or lyric, wherein it shall please her majesty to employ her pen, even by so much odds as her own excellent estate and degree exceedeth all the rest of her most humble vassals."P On this it may be remarked, that the only specimen of Elizabeth's poetry which, as far as I know, remains is prodigiously bad. In some passages of Puttenham we find an approach to the higher province of philosophical criticism.
35. These treatises of Webbe and Puttenham may have been preceded in order of writing, though not of Sidney's publication, by the performance of a more illus- Poesy. trious author, Sir Philip Sidney. His Defence of Poesy was not published till 1595. The Defence of Poesy has already been reckoned among the polite writings of the Elizabethan age, to which class it rather belongs than to that of criticism; for Sidney rarely comes to any literary censure, and is still farther removed from any profound philosophy. His sense is good, but not ingenious, and the declamatory tone weakens its effect.
SECT. III.-ON WORKS OF FICTION.
Novels and Romances in Italy and Spain — Sidney's Arcadia.
36. THE novels of Bandello, three parts of which were published in 1554, and a fourth in 1573, are perhaps the best known and the most admired in Bandello; that species of composition after those of Boccaccio. They have been censured as licentious, but are far less so than any of preceding times, and the reflections are usually of a moral cast. These, however, as well as the speeches, are very tedious. There is not a little predilection in Bandello for sanguinary stories. Ginguéné praises these novels for just sentiments, adherence to probability, and choice of interesting subjects. In these respects we often find a superiority in the older novels above those of the nineteenth century, the golden age, as it is generally thought, of fictitious story. But, in the management of these subjects, the Italian and Spanish novelists show little skill; they are worse cooks of better meat; they exert no power over the emotions beyond what the intrinsic nature of the events related must produce; they sometimes describe well, but with no great imagination; they have no strong conception of character, no deep acquaintance with mankind, not often much humour, no vivacity and spirit of dialogue.