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Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Hail bounteous May, that dost inspire
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
Spenser's “ Lord! how all creatures laugh’d” is an instance of joyous and impulsive expression not common with English poets, out of the pale of comedy. They have geniality in abundance, but not animal spirits.
AN ANGEL, WITH A PILGRIM AND A FAINTING KNIGHT.
Character, Active Superhuman Beauty, with the finest colouring
and contrast; Painter, Titian.
During the while that Guyon did abide
“ Come hither, hither, O come hastily!"
The palmer leant his ear unto the noise,
at bade him come in haste. He by-and-bye
There the good Guyon he found slumbering fast
Beside his head there sat a fair young man,
Decked with diverse plumes, like painted jays,
34 “Beside his head,” &c.—The superhuman beauty of this angel should be Raphael's, yet the picture, as a whole, demands Titian; and the painter of Bacchus was not incapable of the most imaginative exaltation of countenance. As to the angel's body, no one could have painted it like him,-nor the beautiful jay's wings; not to mention the contrast between the pilgrim's weeds and the knight's armour. See a picture of Venus blinding Cupid, beautifully engraved by Sir Robert Strange, in which the Cupid has variegated wings.
AURORA AND TITHONUS.
Character, Young and Genial Beauty, contrasted with Age,-the
accessories full of the mixed warmth and chillness of morning ; Painter,
The joyous day 'gan early to appear,
From heaven high to chace the cheerless dark :
THE BRIDE AT THE ALTAR.
Character, Flushed yet Lady-like Beauty, with ecstatic Angels
regarding her ; Painter, the same.
Behold, while she before the altar stands,
Like crimson dyed in grain !
But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
35 “ Oft peeping in her face,” &c.—I cannot think the words peeping and stare, the best which the poet could have used; but he is aggravating the beauties of his bride in a long epithalamium, and sacrificing everything to her superiority. The third line is felicitous.
A NYMPH BATHING.
Character, Ecstasy of Conscious and Luxurious Beauty; Painter,
Her fair locks which formerly were bound
So hid in locks and waves from looker's theft,
Withal she laughed, and she blush'd withal,36
36 “ Withal she laughed," &c.—Perhaps this is the loveliest thing of the kind, mixing the sensual with the graceful, that ever was painted. The couplet So hid in locks and waves, &c. would be an excessive instance of the sweets of alliteration, could we bear to miss a particle of it.
THE CAVE OF DESPAIR.
Character, Savage and Forlorn Scenery, occupied by Squalid Misery;
Painter, Salvator Rosa.
Ere long they come where that same wicked wight
Far from that haunt all other cheerful fowl,
And all about old stocks and stubs of trees,
Would fain have fled, nor durst approachen near,