Imatges de pÓgina

Shelley's close acquaintance with Shakespeare's works, and as Shakespeare also uses eyne, as in A Lover's Complaint,

Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne, it may with equal likelihood be to his influence that the occurrence of the word in Shelley's works is due.

Foison.—This is another Elizabethan word which Professor Baynes is probably right in attributing to the influence of Spenser. It occurs in the Lines Written among the Euganean Hills, line 228, page 366 of this volume.

Glode.Professor Baynes remarks, Again, amongst writers within the range of Shelley's reading, glode as the past tense of the verb to glide is, we believe, peculiar to Spenser, and used with some ambiguity even by him. We had imagined that amongst modern writers this form was peculiar to a single American humourist, and concluded that it must be the coinage of his curious brain . ., But the same form occurs three or four times in The Revolt of Islam, and Shelley uses it in perfect good faith as a legitimate form of expression. While found in Chaucer and Gower, glode is, however, an archaism even in The Faery Queene, from which it must have been borrowed by Shelley." Here again I have little doubt that

" Professor Baynes is right, though the word may have come to Shelley directly from Chaucer. As regards the American humourist, it is also quite probable that he obtained the word without any knowledge of Chaucer, Gower, Spenser, or Shelley; but, though he may not have used it “in perfect good faith,” he was not so alone in its use as might be thought,—the word being employed certainly by two of the most distinguished serious writers of America, Longfellow and Emerson, and, I think, quite commonly by other writers on that side of the Atlantic. In Laon and Cythna the word in question occurs in Canto V, stanza LI, page 191, and in Canto XII, stanza XXXV, page 297 of this volume, in both of which cases it is wanted as a rhyme; but there are other instances of its being employed without that inducement, as in Canto I, stanza XLVIII, page 125.

Strook.—This is another obsolete past tense which, as far as I am aware, was first used by Shelley in Laon and Cythna, where it occurs in stanza XXXVIII of Canto VI (page 210). There, as in Arethusa, written in Shelley's greatest period, the word is a convenient rhyme for shook ; and it is also softer and more euphonious than the usual form, struck, though I do not recall an instance of his using it, except for a rhyme. Here again it is questionable whether Chaucer, rather than any later writer, was not the poet from whom Shelley took his word.

Undight." Another thoroughly Spenserian word,” says Professor Baynes, “is undight, in the sense of undressed, or as applied to the hair, as Shelley applies it, in loose locks, dishevelled. The very phrase in which Shelley paints the rapt ecstasy of Cythna with countenance uplifted and her locks undight,' occurs in Spenser's description of Venus :

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Her golden locks, that late in tresses bright
Embreaded were for hindring of her haste,

Now loose about her shoulders hung undight
And were with sweet Ambrosia all besprinckled light.'”

For the passage referred to by Professor Baynes, see Canto IX, stanza XXXVI, of Laon and Cythna, page 257 of this volume. It is curious that there, as in the passage from Spenser, the word should be used to rhyme with bright.

Marmoreal.—This is one of a class of words and epithets on which Professor Baynes's remarks are peculiarly interesting—words and epithets which Shelley uses frequently or in close proximity, instead of carefully avoiding such repetition as later poets have done. In Canto I of Laon and Cythna, stanza XX, page 116, the word marmoreal occurs “in a passage that, hurriedly read, might suggest its reference



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to the sea, but where the context shows that it is metaphorically employed in a more familiar and intelligible way to the unveiled bosom of the fair shape sitting on the sand A few stanzas further on, in the same canto, the epithet occurs again, and is applied, as Homer and Virgil apply it, to the sea. Speaking of the spirit-temple which lifts its vast dome beyond 'nature's remotest reign,' he says :

''Twas likest Heaven, ere yet day's purple stream
Ebbs o'er the western forest, while the gleam
Of the unrisen moon among the clouds
Is gathering—when with many a golden beam
The thronging constellations rush in crowds,

Paving with fire the sky and the marmoreal floods.' The epithet is noteworthy in several respects. In the first place, although marmorean occurs in older glossaries, marmoreal seems to be a coinage of Shelley's own. At least it is unknown to our standard English lexicographers, and we remember no instance of its use by previous writers. In the second place, though a classical epithet, it does not seem to be used by Shelley in the classical meaning of bright, shining, smooth, and brilliant. It is rather employed to describe an element or substance of lucid purity and depth with a faintly variegated surface, in much the same way as the term marble itself is applied by Milton and Shakspeare to the sky. Shelley himself, indeed, interprets his own use of the term as applied to watery expanses, when, in a later poem, he speaks of the * liquid marble of the windless lake.' The beautiful phrase, * liquid marble,' is Ben Jonson's, only it is applied by him to poesy in one of the finest passages of his more serious


'She can so mould Rome and her monuments
Within the liquid marble of her lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,

Even when they mix with innovating dust.'”
Breathless. – Professor Baynes's note on the use of this

word is also very interesting: he remarks on its being "applied to the sky and to the sea in a way that makes it doubtful whether it is used in its literal sense, to denote the perfect calm, the unruffled state of the elements when not a breeze or a ripple is stirring; or whether it is applied figuratively to express the expectant hush, the eager rapturous silence, when the very breath is held for admiration and delight, and all the powers of mind and body are stilled by an overmastering emotion into a state of ecstatic trance. The epithet may have been derived from the fine description of the hushed moonlit night at the end of the eighth book of the Iliad ;' for although the Homeric epithet, applied also by Euripides to the sea, is breezeless rather than breathless, it might be fairly enough translated by the latter word. Or it may have been originally suggested by a passage in Wordsworth, of whose early writings Shelley was an appreciative reader. The poet is describing the address of an Indian chief to the assembled tribes

'In open circle seated round, and hushed
As the unbreathing air, when not a leaf

Stirs in the mighty woods.' Here the precise meaning of the epithet is perfectly clear. Shelley, however, uses the analogous but more intense and eager term breathless, both more frequently and with greater latitude of meaning than Wordsworth's calm and critical nature would allow him to do." The instances cited to illustrate the use of this epithet, all occurring in the early part of Laon and Cythna, are (1) “the breathless heavens in beauty smiled,” Canto I, stanza XXXVI, page 121,-(2) “Heaven was breathless with delight,” Canto I, stanza XLV, page 124, and (3) “The bright stars shining in the breathless sea,” Canto II, stanza XI, page 135.

Professor Baynes says “there is perhaps no real ambiguity in any of these instances, the use of the term in the second case

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being figurative, and, in the other two, mainly literal, expressive of perfect outward calm, undisturbed by breath or breeze. But even in these cases, where the term seems literally applied, there is probably the double reference so common in Shelley's poetry; the suggested subtle interfusion of human and natural influences, the blending in their higher moods of individual and general life, the instinctive sympathy, if not the momentary identification, of the soul of man with the soul of the universe.”

H. B. F.


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