Imágenes de páginas

withstanding St. Pierre's ingenious solution. We are to consider, in the first place, that the sounds were not emitted from the mouth of the statue in the morning only; authority states that they proceeded likewise at other times. The morning was, however, the more favourable, as the soft breezes which rise at the dawn of day from the Nile, might catch certain strings artfully placed in the throat of the image, and cause them to send forth those plaintive melodies which the ancients so frequently mention.

Descending to a later period, we find Ossian observing the same enchanting effect :

"The blast came rustling through the hall, and gently touched my harp ;--the sound was mournful and low, like the song of the tomb." Darthula.

Again, in Berrathon :

"" My harp hangs on a blasted branch; the sound of its strings is mournful. Does the wind touch thee, oh harp! or is it some passing ghost?"

Whatever be its age, it is a most enchanting instrument, and bringing out all the tones in full concert, sometimes sinking them to the softest murmurs, and feeling for every tone, by its gradations of strength, it solicits those gradations of sound which art has taken such various methods to produce.*

The influence of this instrument upon the heart is truly pleasing: it disposes the mind to solemn, tender, and pathetic emotion, and winning upon the imagination, strikes the heart with its simplicity, and leaves it resting in all the pure delights of a pleasing melancholy. Dr. Beattie tells us of a friend who was profoundly skilled in the theory of music, well acquainted with the animal œconomy, and singularly accurate in his enquiries into nature, and who assured him that he had several times been wrought into a feverish fit by the tones of an Æolian harp. The poets emulate in describing its sweetness and delicacy. Casimir's exquisite ode, Ad Suam Testudinem, beginning, "Sonori buxi filia," &c. &c. must surely allude to it, and Thomson has given us a beautiful account in his Castle of Indolence.


MUSIC of nature

Emblem of each sphere!
How sweetly tranquil does my pensive soul,
At coming eve, thy warbling murmurs hear,
When sooth'd to tenderness thy measures roll
* Acoustics, Ch. 1.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Sometimes more loud, and now yet louder still,
Sometimes more distant, and again more near,

Waking soft Echoes, and with magic skill,
Swelling the eye with a luxurious tear.

Delightful flutt'rings! hov'ring mid the sky,
Mildly reluctant, on wild pinions borne
To realms of Sylphs, that on your murmurs fly,
And, wak'd to melancholy feelings, mourn.
Sweet, pensive melody! ætherial strain,
Ah! still aspire to soothe each rising pain.


From the Author of "The Faery Queene,"


[ocr errors]


[Continued from Page 156.]

"To my long approoved and singular good frende, Master G. H. "GOOD Master H. I doubt not but you have some great important matter in hande, which al this while restraineth youre penne, and wonted readinesse in provoking me unto that, wherein your selfe now faulte. If there bee any such thing in hatching, I pray you hartily, lette us knowe, before al the worlde see it. But if happly you dwell altogither in Justinians courte, and give your selfe to be devoured of secreate studies, as of likelyhood you doe: yet at least imparte some your olde, or newe, Latine or Englishe, eloquent and gallant poesies to us, from whose eyes, you saye, you keepe in a manner nothing hidden.

Little newes is here stirred; but that olde greate matter still depending. His Honoure* never better. I thinke the earthquaket was also there wyth you, (which I would gladly learne) as it was here with us; overthrowing divers old buildings, and peeces of churches. Sure very straunge to be hearde of in these countries, and

The Earl of Leicester.

This earthquake happened on the 6th of April, 1580, between five and six o'clock in the afternoon; as is ascertained by a copy of verses written for a requisite remembrance of it, in Yates's "Holde of Humilitie," 1582. Harvey's circumstantial account of this event, with his "sharpe and learned judgement of earthquakes,' in a letter dated April 7, had not at this time been received by Spenser.

PP 2

yet I heare some saye, (I knowe not howe truely) that they have knowne the like before in their dayes. Sed quid vobis videtur magnis Philosophis?

"I like your late Englishe Hexameters so exceedingly well, that I also enure my penne sometime in that kinde: whyche I fynd indeede, as I have heard you often defende in worde, neither so harde nor so harshe, that it will easily and fairely yeelde it selfe to oure moother tongue. For the onely, or chiefest hardnesse, whyche seemeth, is in the accente; whyche sometime gapeth, and as it were yawneth ilfavouredly; comming shorte of that it should, and sometime exceeding the measure of the number, as in Carpenter, the middle sillable being used shorte in speache, when it shall be read long in verse, seemeth like a lame gosling, that draweth one legge after hir and Heaven, beeing used shorte as one sillable when it is in verse, stretched out with a diastole, is like a lame dogge that holdes up one legge. But it is to be wonne with custome, and rough words must be subdued with use. For, why a God's name may not we, as elset the Greekes, have the kingdome of our owne language, and measure our accentes by the sounde, reserving the quantitie to the verse?-Loe here I let you see my olde use of toying in rymes, turned into your artificial straightnesse of verse by this Tetrasticon. I beseech you tell me your fancie, without parcialitie.


See yee the blindefoulded pretie god, that feathered archer,
Of lover's miseries which maketh his bloodie game?

Wote ye why, his moother with a veale hath covered his face ?
Truste me, least he my loove happely chaunce to beholde.


To these critical observations, Harvey made the following objectional reply. "In good soothe, and by the faith I beare to the Muses, you shal never have my subscription or consent (though you should charge me wyth the authoritie of five hundreth Maister Drants) to make your Carpenter our Carpenter, an Inche longer, or bigger, than God and his Englishe people have made him. Is there no other pollicie to pull downe Ryming and set uppe Versifying, but you must needes correcte magnificat; and tyrannize uppon a quiet companye of wordes, that so farre beyonde the memorie of man, have so peaceably enjoyed their several priviledges and liberties, without the leaste controlement? For your Heaven, or the like, I am likewise of the same opinion; as generally in all words else, we are not to goe a little farther, either for the Prosody or the Orthography, (and therefore your imaginarie diastole nothing worthe) than we are licenced and authorized by the ordinarie use, and custome, and proprietie, and idiome, and (as it were) majestie of our speach; which I accounte the only infallible, and soveraigne rule of all rules."

Forsan erst.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Seeme they comparable to those two, which I translated you ex tempore in bed, the last time we lay togither in Westminster ? That which I eate, did I joy, and that which I greedily gorged.

As for those many goodly matters leaft I for others.

I would hartily wish you would either send me the Rules and Precepts of Arte, which you observe in quantities, or else follow mine, that M. Philip Sidney gave me, (being the very same which M. Drant devised, but enlarged with M. Sidney's own iudgement, and augmented with my observations) that we might both accorde and agree in one; leaste we overthrowe one an other, and be overthrown of the rest.

"Truste me, you will hardly beleeve what greate good liking and estimation Maister Dyer had of youre satyricall verses, and I, since the viewe thereof, having before of my selfe had speciall liking of Englishe versifying,* am even nowe aboute to give you some token what, and howe well therein, I am able to doe: for, to tell you trueth, I mynde shortly, at convenient leysure, to sette forthe a booke in this kinde, whyche I entitle, Epithalamion Thamesis;+ whyche booke I dare undertake wil be very profitable for the knowledge, and rare for the invention, and manner of handling. For in setting forth the marriage of the Thames, I shewe his first beginning and offspring, and all the countrey that he passeth thorough, and also describe all the rivers throughout Englande, whyche came to this wedding, and their righte names, and right passage, &c. a worke, beleeve me, of much labour, wherein, notwithstanding Master Holinshed, hath muche furthered and advantaged me, who therein hath bestowed singular paines, in searching oute their course, til they fall into ths sea.

O Tite, siquid, ego,
Ecquid erit pretii ?

But of that more hereafter. Nowe, my Dreames, and Dying Pelli-
cane, being fully finished, (as I paitelye signified in my laste

* See this term explained in Letter ↳ M. M. P. 7.

The literary friend who supplied the account of Spenser, prefixed to Church's edition of the Faery Queene, thinks the Epithalamion Thamesis is preserved as an episode in that work, Book IV. Canto II. with some of the author's dreames and pageants; and, probably, his Court of Cupid, in the same Book, Canto 10.

Or rather Harrison, domestic chaplain to Sir Wm. Brooke, who furnished the chorographical description of Britain, which was printed with Holinshed's Chronicle, in 1577.

letters) and presentlye to bee imprinted, I wil in hande forthwith with my Faery Queene,* whyche I praye you hartily send me with al expedition; and your friendly letters, and long expected judgement wythal, whyche let not be shorte, but in all pointes such as you ordinarilye use, and I extraordinarily desire. Multum vale. Westminster. Quarto nonas Aprilis [Apr. 10,] 1580. Sed, amabo te, meum Corculum tibi se ex animo commendat plurimùm : jamdiu mirata, te nihil ad literas suas responsi dedisse. Vide quæso, ne id tibi Capitale sit: mihi certè quidem erit, neque tibi percle impune, ut opinor. Iterum vale, et quàm voles sapè.

Yours alwayes to commaunde,


In 1606, a philosophical dialogue was published by Lodowick Bryskett, the friend, to whom Spenser's 33d Sonnet is addressed; and in that dialogue Spenser is made to say," I have undertaken a work, which is in heroical verse, under the title of a Faerie Queene, to represent all the moral vertues, assigning to every vertue a knight to be the patrou and defender of the same, in whose actions and feates of armes and chivalry, the operations of that virtue, whereof he is the protector, are to be expressed, and the vices and unruly appetites that oppose themselves against the same, to be beaten downe and overcome: Which work I have already well entred into," &c. Bryskett's dialogue is conjectured by Mr. Malone, to have been composed some time between 1584 and 1589, whence he infers that the Faery Queene was then in hand. The present letter serves to ascertain that the poem had a much earlier commencement; and might in all probability have had a speedier progress, if the ardour of the poet had not been checked by comments such as the following, from his epistolary adviser." In good faith I had once againe nigli forgotten your Faerie Queene: howbeit, by good chaunce, I have nowe sent hir home at the laste, neither in better nor worse case than I founde hir. And must you of necessitie have my judgement of hir in deede ? To be plaine, I am voyde of all judgement, if your nine comedies come not neerer Ariostoes comœdies, than that Elvish Queene doth to his Orlando Furioso. But I will not stand greatly with you in your owne matters. If so be, the Faerye Queene be fairer in your eie than the Nine Muses, and Hobgoblin runne away with the garland from Apollo; marke what I saye, and yet I will not say that I thought; but there an end for this once, and fare you well, till God or some good Aungell putte you in a better minde." Bryskett seems to have thought far more highly of our author's magnum opus, from urging him to its completion. A similar discrepancy, however, is observable in the opinions of more modern critics. Dr. Aikin, in his preface to the Faery Queene, asserts that "Spenser did not possess that rare elevation of genius which places a man above the level of his age :"whereas Dryden had previously affirmed, in his discourse on epic poetry, that


no man was ever born with a greater genius, or had more knowledge to support it." Mr. Todd, the able and candid editor of Milton, who has undertaken the editorial charge of our great allegorical poet, will be the only proper arbitrator in such a cause.

See note in Dryden's prose works, Vol. III. p. 92.

« AnteriorContinuar »