« AnteriorContinua »
And ye that on the fands with printlefs foot (41)
The charm diffolves apace; And as the morning fteals upon the night Melting the darknefs, fo their rifing fenfes
(41) With printless foot, &c.] So Milton in his Masque, Whilft from off the waters fleet, Thus I fet my printless feet.
(42) Weak mafters tho' ye be.] The meaning of this paffage may be "Though you are but inferior mafters of thefe fupernatural powers-though you poffefs them but in a low degree." Spenfer ufes the fame kind of expreffion, B. 3. Cant. 8. St. 4.
Where the [the witch] was wont her sprights to en
The mafters of her art. There was the fain
Begin to chase the ign'rant fumes, that mantle
Where the bee fucks, there lurk I;
Alon. Irreparable is the lofs; and patience Says, it is past her cure.
Prof. I rather think
You have not fought her help; of whofe foft grace,
(43) Sun-fet.] The whole of this beautiful fong fhews this to be the true reading; Ariel is fpeaking of the pleafures which he enjoys from his liberty, the place of his repofe for the day, from the heat and fatigue of the fun,when he refts among the bloffoms-and at the time, when fairies and aerial fprits are and ever have been supposed to enjoy their revels after funfet he gaily travels about on the back of the bat.
Though the Tempeft has much of the novel in it, no one has yet been able to meet with any fuch novel as can
be fuppofed to have furnished S. with materials for writing this play the fable of which must therefore pass entirely for his own production, till the contrary can be made appear by any future difcovery. One of the poet's editors, after obferving that the perfons of the drama are all Italians, and the unities all regularly obferved in it (a custom likewise of the Italians,) concludes his note with the mention of two of their plays-Il Negromante di L. ARIOSTO, and Il Negromante Palliato di Gio. Angelo PETRUCCI; one or other of which, he seems to think, may have given rife to the Tempest but he is mistaken in both of them, and the last must needs be out of the question, . being later than S's time. Capell..
It is obferved of the Tempeft, fays 7., that its plan is re- gular; and that S. has made it inftrumental to the production of many characters, diverfified with boundless invention, and preferved with profound skill in nature, ex-tenfive knowledge of opinions, and accurate obfervation of life. In a fingle drama are here exhibited princes, courtiers, and failors, all speaking in their real characters. There is the agency of airy fpirits, and of an earthly gob-lin the operations of magic, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a defart ifland, the native effufion of un-taught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final hap-pinefs of the pair for whom our paffions and reafon are equally interefted. W. obferves that the two plays the Tempeft and the Midfummer Night's Dream, are the nobleft efforts of that fublime and amazing imagination of S.which foars above the bounds of nature without forfaking fenfe, or more properly, carries nature along with him beyond her established limits. Fletcher feems particularly to have admired these two plays, and hath wrote two in imi- tation of them, The Sea Voyage and The Faithful Shepherdess; but when he prefumes to break a lance with S. and write in emulation of him, as he does in The Falfe One, which is the rival of Anthony and Cleopatra, he is not fo fuccefsful. After him, Sir John Suckling and Milton catched the brighteft fire of their imagination from thefe two plays; which fhines fantastically in The Goblins, but much more nobly and ferenely in The Mafque at Ludlows Cafle.
The reader will find in the Adventurer, No. 93 and 97, an ingenious criticism on The Tempeft. "A play," fays Mrs. Montague," which alone will prove our author to have had a fertile, a fublime, and original genius." See the Spectator, Vol. VI. No. 419.
Twelfth Night, or What
Mufic and Love.
F mufic be the food of love, play on;
(1) Give me, &c.] i. e. " Mufic being the food of love, let me have excefs of it, that furfeiting therewith, the appetites which called for that food, may ficken and entirely ceafe." The reader will do well to observe the exact and beautiful propriety of the fimile in the last lines, Milton, as Bp. Newton justly obferves, undoubtedly took the following fine paffage from this of S.
Now gentle gales
Fanning their odoriferous wings, difpenfe
Native perfumes, and whisper whence they stole Thofe balmy fpoils. Par. Loft, B. 4. v. 156. Though, he tells us, Thyer is of opinion, that Milton rather alluded to the following lines of Ariofto's defcription of paradife, where fpeaking of the dolce aura, he fays,
E quella à i fiori, à i pomi, e à la verzura, Gli odor diverfi depredando giva, E di tutti facera una mistura, Che di fuavità à l' alma notriva. Orl. Fur. L. 34. f. 53. "The two firft of thefe lines exprefs the air's ftealing of the native perfumes, and the two latter, that vernal delight which they give the mind. Befides, it may be further obferved, that this expreffion of the air's stealing and dispers