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[197] and make them move before you in music. They seem singing to you as the sirens to Guyon, and we linger like him:—

O, thou fair son of gentle Faery
That art in mighty arms most magnified
Above all knights that ever battle tried,
O, turn thy rudder hitherward awhile,
Here may thy storm-beat vessel safely ride,
This is the port of rest from troublous toil,
The world's sweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil.1

With that the rolling sea, resounding swift
In his big bass, them fitly answered,
And on the rock the waves, breaking aloft,
A solemn mean unto them measured,
The whiles sweet Zephyrus loud whisteled
His treble, a strange kind of harmony
Which Guyon's senses softly ticketed
That he the boatman bade row easily
And let him hear some part of their rare melody.

Despite Spenser's instinctive tendency to idealize, and his habit of distilling out of the actual an ethereal essence in which very little of the possible seems left, yet his mind, as is generally true of great poets, was founded on a solid basis of good-sense. I do not know where to look for a more cogent and at the same time picturesque confutation of Socialism than in the Second Canto of the Fifth Book. If I apprehend rightly his words and images, there is not only subtile but profound thinking here. The French Revolution is prefigured in the well-meaning but too theoretic giant, and Rousseau's

1 This song recalls that in Dante's Purgatorio (Xix. 19-24), in which the Italian tongue puts forth all its siren allurements. Browne's beautiful verses (‘Turn, hither turn your winged pines’) were suggested by these of Spenser. It might almost seem as if Spenser had here, in his usual way, expanded the sweet old verses:—

Merry sungen the monks binnen Ely
When Knut king rew thereby;
‘Roweth knights near the lond,
That I may hear these monks song.’

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Edmund Spenser (3)
Guyon (2)
Zephyrus (1)
Rousseau (1)
Ely (1)
Di Dante (1)
Thomas Browne (1)
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