Imatges de pàgina
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CUPID USURPING THE THRONE OF JUPITER.

Character, Potency in Weakness ; Painter, Raphael.

In Satyr's shape, Antiope he snatch'd
And like a fire, when he Ægine essay'd;
A shepherd, when Mnemosyne he catch'd;
And like a serpent to the Thracian maid.
While thus on earth great Jove these pageants play'd,
The wingèd boy did thrust into his throne;
And scoffing, thus unto his mother said :

“Lo! now the heavens obey to me alone,
And take me for their Jove, whilst Jove to earth is gone."

MARRIAGE PROCESSION OF THE THAMES AND MEDWAY.

Character, Genial Strength, Grace, and Luxury; Painter,

Raphael.

First came great Neptune with his three-fork'd mace,
That rules the seas and makes them rise or fall;
His dewy locks did drop with brine apace,
Under his diadem imperial :
And by his side his queen, with coronal,
Fair Amphitrite, most divinely fair,
Whose ivory shoulders weren covered all,

As with a robe, with her own silver hair,
And deck'd with pearls which the Indian seas for her prepare.

These marched far afore the other crew,
And all the way before them as they went
Triton his trumpet shrill before him blew,
For goodly triumph and great jolliment,
That made the rocks to roar as they were rent.

Or take another part of the procession, with dolphins and sea-nymphs listening as they went, to

ARION.

Then was there heard a most celestial sound
Of dainty music, which did next ensue
Before the spouse.

That was Arion, crown'd;
Who playing on his harp, unto him drew
The ears and hearts of all that goodly crew;
That even yet the dolphin which him bore
Through the Ægean seas from pirates' view

Stood still by him, astonish'd at his lore,
And all the raging seas for joy forgot to roar.

So went he playing on the watery plain.26

26 « So went he,” &c.—This sweet, placid, and gently progressing line is one of Spenser's happy samples of alliteration. And how emphatic is the information

That was Arion, crown'd.

SIR GUYON BINDING FUROR.

Character, Superhuman Energy and Rage; Painter, Michael

Angelo.

In his strong arms he stiffly him embrac’d,
Who, him gain-striving, nought at all prevail'd ;
Then him to ground he cast and rudely haled,

And both his hands fast bound behind his back,
And both his feet in fetters to an iron rack.

With hundred iron chains he did him bind,
And hundred knots that him did sore constrain ;
Yet his great iron teeth he still did grind
And grimly gnash, threat'ning revenge in vain.
His burning eyes, whom bloody streaks did stain,
Starèd full wide, and threw forth sparks of fire ;
And more for rank despite, than for great pain,

Shak'd his long locks, colour'd like copper wire,27
And bit his tawny beard, to show his raging ire.

27 « Colour'd like copper wire.”—A felicity suggested perhaps by the rhyme. It has all the look, however, of a copy from some painting; perhaps one of Julio Romano's.

UNA (OR FAITH IN DISTRESS).

Character, Loving and Sorrowful Purity glorified. (May I say, that I think it would take Raphael and Correggio united to paint this, on account of the exquisite chiaro-scuro ? Or might not the painter of the Magdalen have it all to himself ?)

Yet she, most faithful lady, all this while,28
Forsaken, woeful, solitary maid,
Far from all people's press, as in exile,
In wilderness and wasteful deserts stray'd
To seek her knight, who subtily betray'd
Through that late vision which the enchanter wrought,
Had her abandon'd. She, of nought afraid,

Through woods and wasteness wide him daily sought,
Yet wished tidings none of him unto her brought.

One day nigh weary of the irksome way,
From her unhasty beast she did alight,
And on the grass her dainty limbs did lay
In secret shadow far from all men's sight:
From her fair head her fillet she undight
And laid her stole aside : her angel's face
As the great eye of heaven shinèd bright,

And made a sunshine in the shady place ;
Did never mortal eye behold such heavenly grace.

It fortunèd, out of the thickest wood
A ramping lion rushèd suddenly,
Hunting full greedy after savage blood :
Soon as the royal virgin he did spy,
With gaping mouth at her ran greedily,
To have at once devour'd her tender corse;
But to the prey when as he drew more nigh,

His bloody rage assuagèd with remorse,
And with the sight amazd, forgot his furious force.

Instead thereof he kiss'd her weary feet,
And lick'd her lily hand with fawning tongue;
As he her wrongèd innocence did weet.
O how can beauty master the most strong,
And simple truth subdue avenging wrong !
Whose yielded pride and proud submission,
Still dreading death when she had markèd long,

Her heart 'gan melt in great compassion :
And drizzling tears did shed for pure affection.

The lion, lord of every beast in field,
Quoth she, “ his princely puissance doth abate,
And mighty proud to humble weak does yield,
Forgetful of the hungry rage, which late
Him prick'd with pity of my sad estate:-

But he my lion, and my noble lord,
How does he find in cruel heart to hate

Her, that him lov’d, and ever most ador'd
As the god of my life? Why hath he me abhorr'd ?" 29

28 “ Yet she,&c.—Coleridge quotes this stanza as “a good instance of what he means" in the following remarks in his Lectures :-“As characteristic of Spenser, I would call your particular attention in the first place to the indescribable sweetness and fluent projections of his verse, very clearly distintinguishable from the deeper and more inwoven harmonies of Shakspeare and Milton.” Good, however, as the stanza is, and beautiful the second line, it does not appear to me so happy an instance of what Coleridge speaks of as many which he might have selected.

The verses marked in the second stanza are one of the most favourite quotations from the Faerie Queene.

20 “ As the god of my làfe?&c.—Pray let not the reader consent to read this first half of the line in any manner less marked and peremptory. It is a striking instance of the beauty of that “ acceleration and retardation of true verse" which Coleridge speaks of. There is to be a hurry on the words as the, and a passionate emphasis and passing stop on the word god; and so of the next three words.

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