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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, woful, 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 naught 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 shined 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 assuaged with remorse,
And with the sight amaz’d, 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 marked long
Her heart 'gan melt in great compassion:
And drizzling tears did shed for pure affectiön.
“ 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 abhorrid ?"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 sweet. ness and fluent projections of his verse, very clearly distinguish. able from the deeper and more inwoven harmonies of Shak. speare 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 favorite quotations from the Faerie Queene.
29 66 As the god of my life,” &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.
Character, Young and Innocent but Conscious and Sensuous Beauty,
Behold how goodly my fair love does lie
In proud humility!
Like unto Maia, when as Jove her took
In Tempè, lying on the flowery grass,
'Twixt sleep and wake, after she weary was
With bathing in the Acidalian brook.
NIGHT AND THE WITCH DUESSA,
TAKING SANSJOY IN THEIR CHARIOT TO ÆSCULAPIUS TO BE RESTORED
Character, Dreariness of Scene; Horridness of Aspect and Wicked
Beauty, side by side; Painter, Julio Romano.
Then to her iron waggon she betakes
And with her bears the foul well-favored witch:
Through mirksome air her ready way she makes,
Her twofold team (of which two black as pitch
And two were brown, yet each to each unlich*)
Did softly swim away, nor ever stamp
Unless she chanc'd their stubborn mouths to twitch;
Then, foaming tar, their bridles they would champ,
And trampling the fine element would fiercely ramp.
So well they sped, that they be come at length
Unto the place whereas the Paynim lay
Devoid of outward sense and native strength,
Cover'd with charmed cloud from view of day
And sight of men, since his late luckless fray.
His cruel wounds, with cruddy blood congeal'd,
They binden up so wisely as they may,
And handle softly, till they can be heal'd,
So lay him in her chariot, close in night conceal’d.
And all the while she stood upon the ground,
The wakeful dogs did never cease to bay;
As giving warning of the unwonted sound,
With which her iron wheels did they affray,
And her dark griesly look them much dismay.
The messenger of death, the ghastly owl,
With dreary shrieks did also her bewray;
· And hungry wolves continually did howl
At her abhorred face, so filthy and so foul.30
Then turning back in silence soft they stole,
And brought the heavy corse with easy pace
To yawning gulf of deep Avernus hole.
By that same hole, an entrance, dark and base,
With smoke and sulphur hiding all the place,
Descends to hell: there creature never pass'd
That back returned without heavenly grace;
But dreadful furies which their chains have brast,
And damned sprites sent forth, to make ill men aghast.
By that same way the direful dames do drive
Their mournful chariot fill'd with rusty blood,31
And down to Pluto's house are come belive:
Which passing through, on every side them stood
The trembling ghosts with sad amazed mood,
Chattering their iron teeth, and staring wide
With stony eyes ; and all the hellish brood
Of fiends infernal flock'd on every side,
To gaze on earthly wight, that with the night durst ride.
30 « So filthy and so foul.”_Why he should say this of Night, except, perhaps, in connection with the witch, I cannot say. It seems to me to hurt the “abhorred face.” Night, it is true, may be reviled, or made grand or lovely, as a poet pleases. There is both classical and poetical warrant for all. But the goddess with whom the witch dared to ride (as the poet finely says at the close) should have been exhibited, it would seem, in a more awful, however frightful guise.
31 “Their mournful chariot filld with rusty blood.”—There is some. thing wonderfully dreary, strange, and terrible, in this picture. By “rusty blood” (which is very horrid) he must mean the blood half congealing; altered in patches, like rusty iron. Be this as it may, the word “rusty,” as Warton observes, “ seems to have conveyed the idea of somewhat very loathsome and hor. rible to our author.”
VENUS IN SEARCH OF CUPID, COMING TO DIANA.
Character, Contrast of Impassioned and Unimpassioned Beauty
Cold and Warm Colors mixed ; Painter, Titian.
(Yet I know not whether Annibal Caracci would not better suit the demand for personal expression in this instance. But the recollection of Titian's famous Bath of Diana is forced upon us.)
Shortly unto the wasteful woods she came,
Whereas she found the goddess with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewed game,
Sitting beside a fountain in a rew;
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From off their dainty limbs the dusty sweat
And soil, which did defile their lovely hue;
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest upon her person gave attendance great.
She having hung upon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlac'd
Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lank loins ungirt and breasts unbrac'd,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste ;
Her golden locks, that late in tresses bright
Embraided were for hindering of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders lay undight,
And were with sweet ambrosia all besprinkled light
Soon as she Venus saw behind her back,
She was asham'd to be so loose surpris'd,
And wak'd half wrath against her damsels slack,
That had not her thereof before aviz'd,
But suffer'd her so carelessly disguiz'd
Be overtaken : soon her garments loose 3.9
Upgathering in her bosom she compriz'd,
Well as she might, and to the goddess rose
Whiles all her nymphs did like a garland her inclose