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studded with mountains, and encompassed with the “ocean stream.” Neither is it in all cases a globe. We must take his cosmography as we find, and as he wants it; that is to say, noetically, and according to the feeling required by the matter in hand. In the present instance, we are to suppose a precipi. yous country striking gloomily and far downwards to a cav. ernous sea-shore, in which the bed of Morpheus is placed, the ends of its curtains dipping and fluctuating in the water, which reaches it from underground. The door is towards a flat on the land-side, with dogs lying “ far before it ;” and the moonbeams reach it, though the sun never does. The passage is imitated from Ovid (Lib. ii., ver. 592), but with wonderful concentration, and superior home appeal to the imagination. Ovid will have no dogs, nor any sound at all but that of Lethe rippling over its pebbles. Spenser has dogs, but afar off, and a lulling sound overhead of wind and rain. These are the sounds that men delight to hear in the intervals of their own sleep.
10 Wrapt in eternal silence, far from enemies
The modulation of this most beautiful stanza (perfect, except for the word tumbling) is equal to that of the one describing the hermitage, and not the less so for being less varied both in pauses and in vowels, the subject demanding a greater monotony. A poetical reader need hardly be told, that he should humor such verses with a corresponding tone in the recital. Indeed it is difficult to read them without lowering or deepening the voice, as though we were going to bed ourselves, or thinking of the rainy night that lulled us. A long rest at the happy pause in the last line, and then a strong accent on the word far, put us in possession of all the remoteness of the scene ;-and it is im. proved, if we make a similar pause at Teard :
No other noise, or people's troublous cries,
Upton, one of penser's commentators, in reference to the trickling stream, has quoted in his note on this passage some fine lines from Chaucer, in which, describing the “dark valley” of Sleep, the poet says there was nothing whatsoever in the place, save that,
A few wells
Sowne (in the old spelling) is also Spenser's word. In the text of the present volume it is written soun', to show that it is the same as the word sound without the d ;-like the French and Italian, son, suono.
“'Tis hardly possible,” says Upton, “ for a more picturesque description to come from a poet or a painter than this whole magical scene."-See Todd's Variorum Spenser, vol. ii., p. 38.
Meantime, the magician has been moulding a shape of air to represent the virtuous mistress of the knight; and when the dream arrives, he sends them both to deceive him, the one sitting by his head and abusing “ the organs of his fancy” (as Milton says of the devil with Eve), and the other behaving in a manner very unlike her prototype. The delusion succeeds for a time.
11 A fit false dream that can delude the sleeper's sent. Scent, sensation, perception. Skinner says that sent, which we falsely write scent, is derived a sentiendo. The word is thus frequently spelt by Spenser.—Todd.
21 “ A diverse dream.”—“A dream,” says Upton, that would occasion diversity or distraction; or a frightful, hideous dream, from the Italian, sogno diverso.”—Dante, Inferno, canto vi.
Cerbero, fiera crudele e diversa.
(Cerberus, the fierce beast, cruel and diverse.)
Un grido orribile e diverso.
See Todd's Edition, as above, p. 42.
The obvious sense, however, as in the case of Dante's Cerberus, I take to be monstrously varied,—inconsistent with itself. The dream is to make the knight's mistress contradict her natural character.
THE CAVE OF MAMMON
GARDEN OF PROSERPINE.
Sir Guyon, crossing a desert, finds Mammon sitting amidst his gold in a
gloomy valley. Mammon, taking him down into his cave, tempts him with the treasures there, and also with those in the Garden of Proserpine
“Spenser's strength,” says Hazlitt, “is not strength of will or action, of bone and muscle, nor is it coarse and palpable; but it assumes a character of vastness and sublimity seen through the same visionary medium” (he has just been alluding to one), and blended with the appalling associations of preternatural agency. We need only turn in proof of this to the Cave of Despair, or the Cave of Mammon, or to the account of the change of Malbecco into Jealousy.”—Lectures, p. 77.
That house's form within was rude and strong, 13
Both roof and floor, and walls were all of gold,
But a faint shadow of uncertain light;
Or as the moon, clothèil with cloudy night,
In all that room was nothing to be seen,
Whose lives (it seemèd) whilome there were shed,
They forward pass, nor Guyon yet spake word,
The charge thereof unto a covetous sprite
To which all men do aim, rich to be made!
“ Certes ” (said he) “I n’ill thine offered grace, 14
4 N'ill, ne-will, will not.
The Knight is led further on, and shown more treasures, and afterwards taken into the palace of Ambition ; but all in vain.
Mammon emmovèd was with inward wrath ;
But direful deadly black, both leaf and bloom,
There mournful cypress grew in greatest store ;16
Pour'd out his life and last philosophy
The garden of Proserpina this hight ;17
Clothed with leaves, that none the wood might see,
Their fruit were golden apples, glistering bright,
And those, with which th’ Eubean young man wan