Imágenes de páginas

"There are two specimens of very extraordinary beauty in the 'Paradise Lost;' they are of a nature, so far as I have read, unexampled elsewhere: they are entirely distinct from the brief pathos of Dante, and they are not to be found even in Shakspeare. These are, according to the great prerogative of poetry, better described in themselves than by a volume. The one is in line 268, Book IV:

Not that fair field

Of Enna, where Proserpine gathering flowers,
Herself a fairer flower, by gloomy Dis

Was gathered, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world.'

"The other is that ending 'nor could the Muse defend her son.'

'But drive far off the barbarous dissonance

Of Bacchus and his revelers, the race

Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard

In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears
To rapture, till the savage clamor drowned

Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
Her son.'

"These appear exclusively Miltonic, without the shadow of another mind ancient or modern.

"Book VI, line 58. Reluctant, with its original and modern meaning combined and woven together, with all its shades of signification, has a powerful effect.

"Milton in many instances pursues his imagination to the utmost, he is 'sagacious of his quarry,' he sees beauty on the wing, pounces upon it, and gorges it to the producing his essential verse.

'So from the root springs lither the green stalk.'

"But in no instance is this sort of perseverance more exemplified, than in what may be called his stationing or statuary. He is not content with simple description, he must station; thus here

we not only see how the birds with clang despised the ground,' but we see them under a cloud in prospect.' So we see Adam 'fair indeed and tall,' 'under a plantain,' and so we see Satan 'disfigured' on the Assyrian mount.':


The copy of " Spenser " which Keats had in daily use, contains the following stanza, inserted at the close of Canto II, Book His sympathies were very much on the side of the revolutionary "Gyant," who "undertook for to repair" the “realms and nations run awry," and to suppress "tyrants that make men subject to their law," "and lordings curbe that commons overaw," while he grudged the legitimate victory, as he rejected the conservative philosophy, of the "righteous Artegall" and his comrade, the fierce defender of privilege and order. And he expressed, in this ex post facto prophecy, his conviction of the ultimate triumph of freedom and equality by the power of transmitted knowledge.

"In after-time, a sage of mickle lore

Yclep'd Typographus, the Giant took,
And did refit his limbs as heretofore,

And made him read in many a learned book,
And into many a lively legend look;

Thereby in goodly themes so training him,
That all his brutishness he quite forsook,
When, meeting Artegall and Talus grim,

The one he struck stone-blind, the other's eyes wox dim."

The " Literary Remains" will contain many sonnets and songs, written during these months, in the intervals of more complete compositions; but the following pieces are so fragmentary as more becomingly to take their place in the narrative of the author's life, than to show as substantive productions. Yet it is, perhaps, just in verses like these that the individual character pronounces itself most distinctly, and confers a general interest which more care of art at once elevates and diminishes. The occasional verses of a great poet are records, as it were, of his poetical table-talk, remembrances of his daily self and its intel

lectual companionship, more delightful from what they recall, than for what they are-more interesting for what they suggest, than for what they were ever meant to be.


Where's the Poet? show him! show him!
Muses nine! that I may know him!

"Tis the man who with a man

Is an equal, be he King,

Or poorest of the beggar-clan,
Or any other wondrous thing

A man may be 'twixt ape and Plato;
'Tis the man who with a bird,
Wren, or Eagle, finds his way to
All its instincts; he hath heard
The Lion's roaring, and can tell
What his horny throat expresseth;
And to him the Tiger's yell
Comes articulate and presseth
On his ear like mother-tongue.


And what is love? It is a doll dress'd up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long,
Till Miss's comb is made a pearl tiara,
And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;
Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,
And Anthony resides in Brunswick Square.
(Fools! if some passions high have warm'd the world,
If Queens and Soldiers have play'd deep for hearts,
It is no reason why such agonies

Should be more common than the growth of weeds.
Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl

The Queen of Egypt melted, and I'll say
That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.


To-night I'll have my friar-let me think
About my room-I'll have it in the pink ;
It should be rich and sombre, and the moon,
Just in its mid-life in the midst of June,
Should look thro' four large windows and display
Clear, but for gold-fish vases in the way,
Their glassy diamonding on Turkish floor;
The tapers keep aside, an hour and more,
To see what else the moon alone can show ;
While the night-breeze doth softly let us know
My terrace is well bower'd with oranges.
Upon the floor the dullest spirit sees
A guitar-ribband and a lady's glove
Beside a crumple-leaved tale of love;
A tambour-frame, with Venus sleeping there,
All finished but some ringlets of her hair;
A viol, bow-strings torn, cross-wise upon
A glorious folio of Anacreon;

A skull upon a mat of roses lying,

Ink'd purple with a song concerning dying;
An hour-glass on the turn, amid the trails
Of passion-flower;-just in time there sails
A cloud across the moon-the lights bring in!
And see what more my phantasy can win.
It is a gorgeous room, but somewhat sad;
The draperies are so, as tho' they had
Been made for Cleopatra's winding sheet;
And opposite the stedfast eye doth meet
A spacious looking-glass, upon whose face,
In letters raven-sombre, you may trace,
Old Mene, Mene, Tekel Upharsin."
Greek busts and statuary have ever been
Held, by the finest spirits, fitter far
Than vase grotesque and Siamesian jar;
Therefore 'tis sure a want of attic taste
That I should rather love a gothic waste
Of eyesight on cinque-colored potter's clay,
Than on the marble fairness of old Greece.
My table-coverlits of Jason's fleece

And black Numidian sheep wool should be wrought,
Gold, black, and heavy from the Lama brought.
My ebon sofas should delicious be
With down from Leda's cygnet progeny.

My pictures all Salvator's, save a few
Of Titian's portraiture, and one, though new,
Of Haydon's in its fresh magnificence.
My wine-O good! 'tis here at my desire,
And I must sit to supper with my friar.




"Under the flag

Of each his faction, they to battle bring
Their embryo atoms."


Welcome joy, and welcome sorrow,

Lethe's weed, and Herme's feather; Come to-day, and come to-morrow,

I do love you both together!

I love to mark sad faces in fair weather;
And hear a merry laugh amid the thunder;
Fair and foul I love together:
Meadows sweet where flames are under,
And a giggle at a wonder;

Visage sage at pantomime;
Funeral, and steeple-chime ;
Infant playing with a skull;
Morning fair, and shipwreck'd hull ;
Nightshade with the woodbine kissing;
Serpents in red roses hissing;
Cleopatra regal-dress'd
With the aspic at her breast;
Dancing music, music sad,
Both together, sane and mad;
Muses bright, and muses pale;
Sombre Saturn, Momus hale;—
Laugh and sigh; and laugh again;
Oh the sweetness of the pain!

« AnteriorContinuar »