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"Where More Is Meant Than Meets The Ear"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In speaking of great poets, Milton mentions Chaucer. He refers to the Squire's Tale, which tells how a strange knight mounted on a horse of brass, rides into a festival given by the Tartar Khan Cambuscan, where he presents to Cambuscan's daughter, Canace, a magic mirror and ring. Chaucer tells one of Canace's adventures with the ring and then mentions what he will tell about Canace's brothers, Cambalo and Algarsife, and Canace's wedding, and at this point breaks off the tale. Milton wishes to know what else great poets can tell him, especially about enchantments that have a deeper significance than the words at first hearing convey. He writes:

Or call up him that left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That owned the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung
Of tourneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.