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signs : just as Herodotus, but with less affectation and incon. sistency, marked the nine books or divisions of his history with the names of the nine Muses. Yet so strange and pedantic a title is not totally without a conceit, as the author was born at Stellada, or Stellata, a province of Ferrara, and from whence he calls himself Marcellus Palingenius Stellatus . This
poem is a general satire on life, yet without peevishness or malevolence; and with more of the folemnity of the censor, than the petulance of the satirist. Much of the morality is couched under allegorical personages and adventures. The Latinity is tolerably pure, but there is a mediocrity in the versification. Palingenius's transitions often discover more quickness of imagination, and fertility of reflection, than solidity of judge ment. Having started a topic, he pursues it through all its possible affinities, and deviates into the most distant and unnecessary digressions. Yet there is a facility in his manner, which is not always unpleasing: nor is the general conduct of the work void of art and method. He moralises with a boldness and a liberality of sentiment, which were then unusual; and his maxims and strictures are sometimes tinctured with a fpirit of libertinism, which, without exposing the opinions, must have offended the gravity, of the more orthodox ecclesiastics. He fancies that a confident philosopher, who rafhly, presumes to scrutinise the remote mysteries of nature, is thewn in heaven like an ape, for the public diversion of the gods. · A thought evidently borrowed by Popes. Although he submits his performance to the sentence of the church, he treats the authority of the popes, and the voluptuous lives of the monks, with the severest acrimony. It was the last circumstance that chiefly contributed to give this poem almost the rank of a classic in the reformed countries, and probably produced an early English tranflation. After his death, he was pronounced an heretic ; and his body was taken up, and committed to the flames. A measure
f It should have been STELLATENSIS.
& See Essay On POPE, p. 94.
which only contributed to spread his book, and disseminate his doctrines.
Googe seems chiefly to have excelled in rendering the descriptive and flowery passages of this moral ZODIAC. He thus describes the Spring.
The earth againe doth florifhe greene,
The trees repaire their springe ;
Beginneth new to sing.
The Fairies dance in fielde :
The Drids and Satirs yielde.
His dartes of gold yframed, &ch.
There is some poetic imagination in SAGITTARIUS, or the ninth book, where a divine mystagogue opens to the poet's eyes an unknown region of infernal kings and inhabitants. But this is an imitation of Dante. As a specimen of the translation, and of the author's fancy, I will transcribe some of this imagery.
"Now open wyde your springs, and playne
Your caues abrode displaye,
Beset about with baye !
A hundred tongues in verse
And people may rehearse.
Aurora fayre doth ryse,
And chaseth hence the hellish night
With blushing beauty fayre,
Placde hie in lofty chayre :
in fiendish wife;
And fyry-flaming eyes.
And nostrils wide in fight;
To euery euyll spright,
Yet white his teeth did fhowe;
Large winges on him did growe,
His fete of largest sise,
Or goose that creaking cries :
All naked fate he there,
Wyth lothsome shagged haire,
A number great about him stoode, &c'. After viewing the wonders of heaven, his guide Timalphes, the son of Jupiter and Arete, shews him the moon, whose gates are half of gold and half of filver. They enter a city of the moon.
The loftie walles of diamonde strong
Were raysed high and framde;
That all as fyer yflamde.
And wondred at the number great
That through the city fo,
In hand the lillies white
Then follows a mixture of claffical and christian history and mythology. This poem has many symptoms of the wildness and wanderings of Italian fiction.
It must be confessed, that there is a perfpicuity and a freedom in Googe's versification. But this metre of Sternhold and Hopkins impoverished three parts of the poetry of
queen Elisabeth's reign. A hermit is thus described, who afterwards proves fir EPICURE, in a part of the poem which has been copied by fir David Lyndesey.
His hoary beard with filuer heares
His middle fully rought';
Of diuers colours wrought,
About his femely hcare, &c.
The seventh book, in which the poet looks down upon the world, with its various occupations, follies, and vices, is opened with these nervous and elegant stanzas.
My Muse aloft ! raise vp thyself,
And vse a better flite :
Of bafe affayres to write.
** Ibid. Signat. G G iiij.
m Lib. iii. E j.
More great renoune, and glory more,
In hautye matter lyes:
Aboue the starrye skies :
doth neuer quayle ;
Where light doth neuer fayle.
No boystrous Boreas blowes;
: Where sweet ambrosia growes.
Of gates" aloft go flye.
That couets farre to fee,
Is nedefull nowe for thee.
Of crystall-colour'd skie,
With viewe of perfit eye '.
One cannot but remark, that the conduct and machinery of the old visionary poems is commonly the same. A rural scene, generally a wilderness, is supposed. An imaginary being of consummate wisdom, a hermit, a goddess, or an angel, appears ; and having purged the poet's eye with a few drops of some celestial elixir, conducts him to the top of an inaccessible mountain, which commands an unbounded plain filled with all nations. A cavern opens, and displays the torments of the damned: he next is introduced into heaven, by way of the moon, the