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riods Instead of compressing, te ex- They gathered some ; the violet, pallid blew pands. To bear this ample thought
The little dazie, that at evening closes,
The virgin lillie, and the primrose trew, and its accompanying train, he requires With store of vermeil roses, a long stanza, ever renewed, long alter- To deck their bridegroomes posies nate verses, reiterated rhymes, whose Against the brydale-day, which was not long uniformity and fulness recall the ma
Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my
song. jestic sounds which undulate eternally through the woods and the fields. To
With that I saw two Swannes of goodly hewa unfold these epic faculties, and to dis
Come softly swimming downe along the lee,
Two fairer birds I yet did never see ; play them in the sublime region where The snow, which doth the top of Pind 26 his soul is naturally borne, he requires strew, in ideal stage, situated beyond the
Did never whiter shew...
So purely white they were, yands of reality, with personages who
That even the gentle stream, the whici .hera could hardly exist, and in a world bare, which could never be.
Seem'd foule to them, and bad his billowe.: Ile made many miscellaneous at
To wet their silken feathers, least they might rempts in sonnets, elegies, pastorals,
Soyle their fayre plumes with water not so hymns of love, little sparkling word fayre, pictures; they were but essays, in
And marre their beauties bright, capable for the most part of support
That shone as heavens light,
Against their brydale day, which was no ing his genius. Yet already his mag- long : nificent imagination appeared in them ; Sweet Themmes! runne softly, till I end my gods, men, landscapes, the world which he sets in motion is a thousand miles If he bewails the death of Sidney, Sid. from that in which we live. His Shepney becomes a shepherd; he is slain herd's Calendar † is a thought-inspir- like Adonis; around him gather weeping and tender pastoral, full of delicate ing nymphs : loves, noble sorrows, lofty ideas, where
“The gods, which all things see, this same beno voice is heard but of thinkers and
held, poets. His Visions of Petrarch and And, pittying this paire of lovers trew, Du Bellay are admirable dreams, in
Transformed them there lying on the field, which palaces, temples of gold, splen
Into one flowre that is both red and blew :
It first growes red, and then to blew doth did landscapes, sparkling rivers, mar- fade, vellous birds, appear in close succession Like Astrophel, which thereinto was made. as in an Oriental fairy-tale. If he
And in the midst thereof a star appeares, sings a “Prothalamion,” he sees two As fairly formd as any star in skyes : beautiful swans, white as snow, who Resembling Stella in her freshest yeares, come softly swimming down amidst
Forth darting beames of beautie' from her
eyes; the songs of nymphs and vermeil roses,
And all the day it standeth full of deow, while the transparent water kisses Which is the teares, that from her eyes did th sir silken feathers, and murmurs
flow." + w th joy :
His most genuine sentiments become l'here, in a veadow, by the river's side, thus fairy-like. Magic is the mould of . flocke of Nymphes I chaunced to espy, his mind, and impresses its shap» All lovely daughters of the Flood thereby on all that he imagines or thinks With goodly greenish locks, all loose untyde, ; Involuntarily he robs objects of their As each had bene a bryde ;. And each one had a little wicker basket, ordinary form. If he looks at a land Made of fine twigs, entrayled curiously, scape, after an instant he sees it quie In which they gathered Aowers to fill their differently. He carries it, unconscious
fiasket, And with fine fingers cropt full feateously
ly, into an enchanted land ; the azure The tender stalkes on hye.
heaven sparkles like a canopy of Of every sort, which in that meadow grew, diamonds, meadows are clothed with
flowers, a biped population Autters in * The Skepherd's Calendar, A moretti, Son- the balmy air, palaces of jasper shine mets, Prothalamion Epithalamion, Muiopot- among the trees, radiant ladies appear mos, Virgil's Gnat, The Ruines of Time, The
on carved balconies above galleries Teares of the Muses, etc. † Published in 1589 ; dedicated to Philip Sid
* Prothalamion, I. 19-54. rey,
+ Astrophel, l. 18.192.
emerald./ This unconscious toil of and blood, and that all these brilliant mind is like the slow crystallizations phantoms are phantoms, and nothing of nature. A moist twig is cast into more. We take pleasure in their the bottom of a mine, and is brought br?liancy, without believing in their out again a hoop of diamonds. substantiality; we are interested in
At last he finds a subject wl.ich their doings, without troubling our suits him, the greatest joy permitted to selves about their misfortunes. We an artist. He removes his epic from know that their tears and cries are not the common ground which, in the hands real. Our emotion is purified and of Hon and Dante, gave expression raised. We do not fall into gross to a living creed, and depicted national illusion; we have that gentle feeling of heroes. He leads us to the summit of knowing ourselves to be dreamirg. fairy land, soaring above history, on We, like him, are a thousand leagues tha extreme verge where objects from actual life, beyond the pangs of vai. 3h and pure idealism begins :' "I painful pity, unmixed terror, violent hav' undertaken a work," he says, to and bitter hatred. We entertain only represent all the moral vertues, assign- refined sentiments, partly formed, ing to every vertue a knight to be the arrested at the very moment they were patron and defender of the same; in about to affect us with too sharp a whose actions and feats of armes and stroke. They slightly touch us, and chivalry the operations of that vertue, we find ourselves happy in being exwhereof he is the protector, are to be tricated from a belief which was begin expressed, and the vices and unruly ning to be oppressive. appetites that oppose themselves
VII against the same, to be beaten downe and overcome.” * In fact, he gives us
What world could furnish materials an allegory as the foundation of his to so elevated a fancy? One only poem, not that he dreams of becoming that of chivalry; for none is so far a wit, a preacher of moralities, a pro- from the actual. Alone and indepen. pounder of riddles. He does not sub- dent in his castle, freed from all the ordinate image to idea ; he is a seer, ties which society, family, toil, usually not a philosopher. They are living impose on the actions of men, the feumen and actions which he sets in mo- dal hero had attempted every kind of ion; only from time to time, in his adventure, but yet he had done less poem, enchanted palaces, a whole train than he imagined ; the boldness of his of splendid visions trembles and deeds had been exceeded by the maddivides like a mist, enabling us to ness of his dreams. For want of use. catch a glimpse of the thought which ful employment and an accepted rule raised and arranged it. When in his his brain had labored on an unreason Garden of Adonis we see the countless ing and impossible track, and the urferms of all living things arranged in gency of his wearisomeness had indue order, in close compass, awaiting creased beyond measure his craving life, we conceive with him the birth for excitement. Under this stimulus put universal love, the ceaseless fertility his poetry had become a world of im. of the great mother, the mysterious agery. Insensibly strange conceptions swarm of creatures which rise in suc-had grown and multiplied in his brains, cession from her“ wide wombe of the one over the other, like ivy woven world.” When we see his Knight of round a tree, and the original trunk had che Cross combating with a horrible disappeared beneath their rank growth woman-serpent in defence of his below. and their obstruction. The delicate 2:1 lady Una, we dimly remember that, fancies of the old Welsh poetry, the if we search beyond these two figures, grand ruins of the German epics, the we shall find behind one Truth, be marvellous splendors of the conquered nind the other, Falsehood. We per. East, all the recollections which four ceive that his characters are not flesh centuries of adventure had scattered
Words attributed to him by Lodowick among the minds of men, had become Bryskett, Discourse of Civil Life, ed. 1606. gathered into one great dream ; and 26.
giants, dwarfs, monsters, the wholo
medley of iniaginary creatures, of su- cause this world is unreal that it so perhuman exploits and splendid fol- suits his humor. lies, were grouped around an unique Is there in chivalry sufficient to fur. conception, exalted and sublime love, nish him with matter? That is but like courtiers prostrated at the feet of one world, and he has another. Bo their king. It was an ample and buoy- yond the valiant men, the glorified im ant subject - matter, from which the ages of moral virtues, he has the gods, great artists of the age, Ariosto, Tasso, finished models of sensible beauty Červar.ies, Rabelais, had hewn their beyond Christian chivalry he has the poems. But they belonged too complete pagan Olympus ; beyond the idea of ly to their own time to admi.t of their heroic will which can only be satisfied belonging to one which had passed.* by adventures and danger, there exista They created a chivalry afresh, but it calm energy, which, by its own im was not genuine. The ingenious Ari- pulse, is in harmony with actual exist. osto, an ironical epicurean, delights ence. For such a poet one ideal is not his gaze with it, and grows merry over enough; beside the beauty of effort he it, like a man of pleasure, a skeptic places the beauty of happiness; he who rejoices doubly in his pleasure, couples them, not deliberately as because it is sweet, and because it is philosopher, nor with the design of a forbidden. By his side poor Tasso, scholar like Goethe, but because they inspired by a fanatical, revived, facti. are both lovely; and here and there, tious Catholicism, amid the tinsel of an amid armor and passages of arms, he old school of poetry, works on the distributes satyrs, nymphs, Diana, Vesame subject, in sickly fashion, with nus, like Greek statues amid the turrets great effort and scant success. Cer- and lofty trees of an English park. vantes, himself a knight, albeit he There is nothing forced in the union ; .oves chivalry for its nobleness, per- the ideal epic, like a superior heav. ceives its folly, and crushes it to the en, receives and harmonizes the two ground with heavy blows, in the mis- worlds; a beautiful pagan dream carhaps of the wayside inns. More ries on a beautiful dream of chivalry; coarsely, more openly, Rabelais, a rude the link consists in the fact that they commoner, drowns it with a burst of are both beautiful. At this elevation laughter, in his merriment and nasti- the poet has ceased to observe the ness. Spenser alone takes it seriously differences of races and civilizations. and naturally. He is on the level of so He can introduce into his picture much nobleness, dignity, reverie. He whatever he will; his only reason is, is not yet settled and shut in by that “That suited;" and there could be no species of exact common sense which better. Under the glossy-leaved oaks, was to found and cramp the whole by the old trunk so deeply rooted in modern civilization. In his heart he the ground, he can see two knights inhabits the poetic and shadowy land cleaving each other, and the next infrom which men were daily drawing stant a company of Fauns who came further and further away. He is en- there to dance. The beams of light amored of it, even to its very language; which have poured down upon the he revives the old words, the expres- velvet moss, the green turf of an Eng sions of the middle age, the style of lish forest, can reveal the dishevelled Chaucer, especially in the Shepherd's locks and white shoulders of nymphs Calendar. He enters straightway upon Do we not see it in Rubens ? And the strangest dreams of the old story- what signify discrepancies in the happy ellers, without astonishment, like a and sublime illusion of fancy? Are man who has still stranger dreams of there more discrepancies? Who per. his own. Enchanted castles, monsters ceives them, who feels them? Who and giants, duels in the woods, wan- does not feel, on the contrary, that to dering ladies, all spring up under his speak the truth, there is but one world hands, the mediæval fancy with the that of Plato and the poets; that ac mediæval generosity; and it is just we tual phenomena are but outlines
* Ariosto, 1474-1533. Tasso, 1544-1595. Cer mutilated, incomplete and blurred out vantes, 1549-1616. Rabelais, 1483-1553. lines — wretched abortions scattered here and there on Time's track, like comes upon them so naturally, thai fragments of clay, half moulded, then he makes them natural; he defeats tho cast aside, lying in an artist's studio ; miscreants, as if he he had done noththat, after all, invisible forces and ing else all his life. Venus, Diana, ideas, which forever renew the actual and the old deities, dwell at his gate existences, attain their fulfi ment only and enter his threshold without his in imaginary existences; and that the taking any heed of them. His serenity poet, in order to express nature in its becomes ours. We grow credulous entirety, is obliged to embrace in his and happy by contagion, and to the sympathy all the ideal forms by which same extent as he. How could it be nature reveals itself ? This is the otherwise ? Is it possible to refuse greatness of his work; he nas suc- credence to a man who paints things ceeded in seizing beauty in its fulness, for us with such accurate details and because he cared for nothing but in such lively colors ? Here with a beauty.
dash of his pen he describes a forest The reader will feel that it is impos- for you; and are you not instantly in sible to give in full the plot of such a it with him? Beech trees with their poem. In fact, there are six poems, silvery stems, “loftie trees iclad with each of a dozen cantos, in which the sommers pride, did spred so broad, action is ever diverging and converg: that heavens light did hide ;” rays of ing again, becoming confused and light tremble on the bark and shine on starting again; and all the imaginings the ground, on the reddening ferns and of antiquity and of the middle age are, low bushes, which, suddenly smitten I believe, combined in it. The knight with the luminous track, glisten and “pricks along the plaine,” among the glimmer. Footsteps are scarcely heard trees, and at a crossing of the paths on the thick beds of heaped leaves ; meets other knights with whom he en- and at distant intervals, on the tall her. gages in combat; suddenly from with bage, drops of dew are sparkling. Yet in a cave appears a monster, half wo-1 the sound of a horn reaches us through man and half serpent, surrounded by a the foliage; how sweetly, yet cheerfully hideous offspring ; further on a giant, it falls on the ear amidst this vast with three bodies; then a dragon, silence! It resounds more loudly; the great as a hill, with sharp talons and clatter of a hunt draws near; "eft vast wings. For three days he fights through the thicke they heard one him, and twice overthrown, he comes rudely rush ;” a nymph approaches, to himself only by aid of “a gracious the most chaste and beautiful in the ointment.” After that there are sav. world. Spenser sees her ; nay, more age tribes to be conquered, castles sur. he kneels before her: rounded by flames to be taken. Mean
“ Her face so faire, as flesh it seemed not, while ladies are wandering in the midst But hevenly pourtraict of bright angels hew, of forests, on white palfreys, exposed Cleare as the skye, withouten blame or blot, to the assaults of miscreants, now
Through goodly mixture of complexions dew;
And in her cheekes the vermeill red did guarded by a lion which follows them,
shew now delivered by a band of satyrs who Like roses in bed of lillies shed, adore them. Magicians work mani- The which ambrosiall odours from them fold charms ; palaces display their fes
threw, tivities; tilt-yards provide interminable
And gazers sence with double pleasure fed,
Hable to heale the sicke and to revive the tournaments; sea-gods, nymphs, fairies, kings, intermingle in these feasts, sur. In her faire eyes two living lamps did flame, prises, dangers.
Kindled above at th' Hevenly Makers light, You will say it is a phantasmagoria.
And darted fyrie beames out of the same; What matter, if we see it? And we
So passing persan. ar.' so wondrous brighi,
That quite bereav å the ast renolde:s sight do see it, for Spenser does. His sin- In them the blinded god his lustfull fyre centy communicates itself to us. He To kindle oft assayd, but had no might; is so much at home in this world, that
For, with dredd maiestie and awfullyre,
She broke his wanton darts, and quenches we end by finding ourselves at home in bace desyre. it too. He shows no appearance of Her yvorie forhead, full o bountie brave, astonishment at astonishing events; he Like a broad table did itselte dispred,
For Love his lotne triumphes to engrave, Athwart her snowy brest, and did divide And write the battailes of his great godhed : Her daintie paps ; which, like young fouit is All good and honour might therein be red;
May, For there their dwelling was. And, when Now little gan to swell, and being tide she spake,
Through her thin weed their places only sig Sweete wordes, like dropping honny, she did nifide.
shed; And 'twixt the perles and rubins softly brake
Her yellow lockes, crisped like golden wyre,
About her shoulders weren loosely shed, A silver sound, that heavenly musické seemd to make.
And, when the winde emongst them did i:
spyre, Une her eyelids many Graces sate,
They waved like a penon wyde dispred Under the shadow of her ven L rowes,
And low behinde her backe were scattered. Working belgardes and aniorous retrate ; And, whether art it were or heedlesse har And everie one h:r with a grace endowes, As through the flouring forrest rash she ded. And everie one with meekenesse to her In her rude heares sweet flowres themsely towes :
did lap, so glorious mirrhour of celestiall grace, And flourishing fresh leaves and bloseomas And soveraine monin ent of mortall vowes,
dienwrap. How shall frayle pen descrive her heavenly - The daintie rose, the daughter of her morne
face, For feare, through want of skill, ber beauty
More deare than life she tendered, wbose
flowre to disgrace!
The girlond of her honour did adorne; So faire, and thousand thousand times more Ne suffered she the middayes scorching faire,
powre. She seemd, when she presented was to sight; Ne the sharp northerne wind thereon to And was yclad, for heat of scorching aire,
showre ; All in a sílken Camus lilly whight,
But lapped up her silken leavez most chayre Purfled upon with many a folded plight,
Whenso the froward skye began to lowre; Which all above besprinckled was throughout But, soone as calmed was the cristall ayre, With golden aygulets, that glistred bright, She did it fayre dispred, and let to fiorico Like twinckling starres ; and all the skirt fayre.” 1
about Was hemd with golden fringe.
He is on his knees before her, I repeat,
as a child on Corpus Christi day, Below her ham her weed did somewhat
among flowers and perfumes, transtrayne, And her streight legs most bravely were em- ported with admiration, so that he sees bayld
a heavenly light in her eyes, and angel's In gilden buskins of costly cordwayne, tints on her cheeks, even impressing All bard with golden bendes, which were entayld
into her service Christian angels and With curious antickes, and full fayre au- pagan graces to adorn and wait upon mayld:
it is love which brings such Before, they fastned were under her kice
visions before him ; In a rich iewell, and therein entrayld The ends of all the knots, that none niight“ Sweet love, that doth his golden wings en
bay How they within their fouldings clone on. In blessed pectar and pure pleasures well.” wrapped bee.
Whence this perfect beauty, this Like two faire marble pillours they were
modest and charming dawn, in which seene, Which doe the temple of the gods suppo,
he assembles all the brightness, all Whom all the people decke with giriards the sweetness, all the virgin graces of greene,
the full morning ? What mother begat A i honour in their festivall resort; Ti vse same with stately grace and princelv her, what marvellous birth brought to port
light such a wonder of grace and purii he taught to tread, when she herselfe would ty? One day, in a sparkling, solitary
grace; Fut with the woody nymphes when she did fountain, where the sunbeams shone play,
Chrysogone was bathing with roses and Or when the flying libbard she did chace, violets. She could them nimbly move, and after fly apace.
“It was upon a sommers shinie day,
When Titan faire his beamis dis display, And in her hand a sharpe bore-speare she
In a fresh fountaine, fx fron: all meds ver held,
She bath'd her trest the boyling beat ; And at her backe a bow and quiver gay,
allay ; Stuft with steel-headed dartes wherewith she
queld The salvage beastes in her victorious play, * The Fairie Queene, î. C. 3, 4. uafh Krit with a golden bauldricke which forelay t Ibid. üi c. 5. st. 51.