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Look'd deadly duil, and stared as astoun'd;
His raw-bone cheeks, through penury and pine,
Were shrunk into his jaws, as he did never dine.
That darksome cave they enter where they find
That cursed man low sitting on the ground,
Musing full sadly in his sullen mind ;
His griesly locks, long growen and unbound,
Disordered hung about his shoulders round,
And hid his face through which the hollow eyne.
His garment naught but many ragged clouts,
With thorns together pinn'd and patchèd was,
The which his naked sides he wrapp'd about;
And him beside there lay upon the grass
A dreary corse, whose life away did pass,
All wallow'd in his own yet lukewarm blood,
That from his wound yet wellèd fresh alas !
In which a rusty knife fast fixed stood,
And made an open passage for the gushing flood.
Still finer than this description are the morbid sophistry and the fascinations of terror that follow it in the original; but as they are less poetical or pictorial than argumentative, the extract is limited accordingly. There is a tradition that when Sir Philip Sidney read this part of the Faerie Queene, he fell into transports of admiration.
A KNIGHT IN BRIGHT ARMOR LOOKING INTO A CAVE.
Character, A deep effect of Chiaroscuro, making deformity risible
But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
The youthful knight would not for aught be stay'd,
But forth unto the darksome hole he went,
And looked in. His glistering armor made
A little glooming light, much like a shade ; 37
By which he saw the ugly monster plain,
Half like a serpent horribly display'd,
But th’ other half did woman's shape retain,
Most loathsome, filthy foul, and full of vile disdain.
37 « A little glooming light, much like a shade.”_Spenser is very fond of this effect, and has repeatedly painted it. I am not aware that anybody noticed it before him. It is evidently the original of the passage in Milton :
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom.
Observe the pause at the words looked in.
MALBECCO SEES HELLENORE DANCING WITH THE SATYRS
Character, Luxurious Abandonment to Mirth ; Painter, Nicholas
-Afterwards, close creeping as he might,
He in a bush did hide his fearful head :
The jolly satyrs, full of fresh delight,
Came dancing forth, and with them nimbly led
Fair Hellenore, with garlands all bespread,
Whom their May-lady they had newly made :
She, proud of that new honor which they redd,*
And of their lovely fellowship full glad,
Danc'd lively: and her face did with a laurel shade.
The silly man then in a thicket lay,
Saw all this goodly sport, and grievèd sore,
Yet durst he not against it do or say,
But did his heart with bitter thoughts engore
To see the unkindness of his Hellenore.
All day they dancèd with great lustyhead,
And with their hornèd feet the green grass wore,
The whiles their goats upon the browses fed,
Till drooping Phæbus 'gan to hide his golden head.
*" That new honor which they redd.”--Areaded, awarded.
WITH DAMSELS CONVEYING A WOUNDED SQUIRE ON HIS HORSE.
Character, Select Southern Elegance, with an intimation of Ane Ar.
chitecture ; Painter, Claude. (Yet "mighty” woods hardly belong to him.)
Into that forest far they thence him led,
Where was their dwelling, in a pleasant glade
With mountains round about environèd ;
And mighty woods which did the valley shade
And like a stately theatre it made,
Spreading itself into a spacious plain ;
And in the midst a little river play'd
Amongst the pumy stones, which seem'd to plain
With gentle murmur, that his course they did restrain,
Beside the same a dainty place there lay,
Planted with myrtle trees and laurels green,
In which the birds sung many a lovely lay
Of God's high praise and of their sweet love's teen,
As it an earthly paradise had been;
In whose enclosed shadows there was pight
A fair pavilion, scarcely to be seen.
THE NYMPHS AND GRACES DANCING TO A SHEPHERD'S
APOTHEOSIS OF A POET'S MISTRESS.
Character, Nakedness without Impudency: Multitudinous and Innocent
Delight; Exaltation of the principal Person from Circumstances, rather than her own Ideality; Painter, Albano.
Unto this place whereas the elfin knight
Approach’d, him seemed that the merry sound
Of a shrill pipe he playing heard on height,
And many feet fast thumping the hollow ground;
That through the woods their echo did rebound;
He higher drew, to weet what might it be;
There he a troop of ladies dancing found
Full merrily, and making gladful glee,
And in the midst a shepherd piping he did see.
He durst not enter into the open green,
For dread of them unwares to be descry'd,
For breaking off their dance, if he were seen;
But in the covert of the wood did bide,
Beheld of all, yet of them unespied :
There he did see (that pleas'd much his sight
That even he himself his eyes envied)
A hundred naked maidens, lily white,
All rangèd in a ring, and dancing in delight.
All they without were ranged in a ring
And dancèd round, but in the midst of them
Three other ladies did both dance and sing,
The whilst the rest them round about did hem,
And like a garland did in compass stem;
And in the midst of those same three were placed
Another damsel, as a precious gem
Amidst a ring most richly well enchaced,
That with her goodly presence all the rest much gracea.
Those were the Graces, daughters of delight,
Handmaids of Venus, which are wont to haunt
Upon this hill, and dance there day and night;
Those three to man all gifts of grace do graunt,
And all that Venus in herself doth vaunt
Is borrowed of them; but that fair one
That in the midst was placed paravaunt,
Was she to whom that shepherd pip'd alone,
That made him pipe so merrily as never none.
She was, to weet, that jolly shepherd's lass
Which pipèd there unto that merry rout;
That jolly shepherd, which there piped, was
Poor Colin Clout (who knows not Colin Clout ?);
He pip'd apace, whilst they him danc'd about.
Pipe, jolly shepherd! pipe thou now apace
Unto thy love, that made thee low to lout ;
Thy love is present there with thee in place,
Thy love is there advaunst to be another grace.38
38 « Thy love is there advancd,” &c.—And there she remains, dancing in the midst of the Graces for ever, herself a Grace, made one by the ordinance of the poor but great poet who here addresses himself under his pastoral title, and justly prides himself on the power of conferring immortality on his love. The apostrophe is as affecting as it is elevating, and the whole scene conceived in the highest possible spirit of mixed wildness and delicacy.
A PLUME OF FEATHERS AND AN ALMOND TREE.
In this instance, which is the one he adduces in proof of his remark on the picturesque, the reader must agree with Coleridge, that the description (I mean of the almond tree), however charming, is not fit for a picture: it wants accessories; to say nothing of the reference to the image illustrated, and the feeling of too much minuteness and closeness in the very distance. Who is to paint the tender locks “every one," and the whisper of " every little breath ?”
Upon the top of all his lofty crest
A bunch of hairs discolor'd diversely,
With sprinkled pearl and gold full richly dress'd,
Did shake and seem to dance for jollity.
Like to an almond tree, ymounted high,
On top of green Selinis all alone,
With blossoms brave bedecked daintily,
Whose tender locks do tremble every one,
At every little breath that under heaven is blown.
What an exquisite last line! but the whole stanza is perfection. The word jollity seems to show the plumpness of the plume; what the fop in Molière calls its embonpoint.
Holà, porteurs, holà! Là, là, là, là, là, là. Je pense que ces maraudslà ont dessein de me briser à force de heurter contre les murailles et les pavés.
1 Porteur. Dame, c'est que la porte est étroite. Vous avez voulu aussi que nous soyons entrés jusqu'ici.