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I might have long gone on, observing the various visitors to this room, without forming an acquaintance with any of them, had not important news of a victory in Spain arrived, the account of which, was expected on the evening's paper. The night was wet, and the room filled with strangers-a general conversation was going on, while all showed a great anxiety to see the news-paper, and all were very willing to oblige his neighbour, when he was done with it. The little gentleman in the corner had a sleepless night, waiting for his turn, and looking now and again to a long neglected notice, posted over the mantle-piece," that no gentleman would keep the paper, above five minutes.” At length his time came, not until he had taken in his impatience several pinches of snuff more than ordinary, and at least twice as much brandy. 'He leered with delight as he received the paper, and bowing with an excess of politeness, did not perceive his upsetting some tea into the waiter's snuff-box which stood near his elbow. The gentleman who handed the paper to him made some objection to a latin quotation which was applied to the Duke of Wellington, and remarked an error in it, the old gentleman said the application was forced. The parties could not agree about the mode of correcting it, and a very learned dispute was about to ensue, when the old gentleman applied to the box, and impasted a knob of snuff under his nose, in such a manner as to disturb the gravity of his opponent, as well as the whole audience. In the midst of a burst of laughter entered our Protegé. I had hinted at the reading of the passage, and the possibility of an error in printing. Mr. Morris drew from his pocket a small Virgil, and read the passage, which happened to be, as I predicted, a mistake. I never before interfered or gave an opinion, my reserve kept me a stranger, but this single circumstance was the commencement of my acquaintance with Mr. Morris. The affairs on the Peninsula absorbed all other conversation, and the evening passed away without further interest.
Feeling inclined to cultivate the acquaintance of Mr. Morris, I lost no opportunity of so doing, -and one day passing near that most intricate place, the Seven dials, I overtook him near a lane, difficult to find, but not to be forgot. Exacting from him the fulfilment of a promise he made to shew me his works, I grew importunate as he appeared unwilling to comply. He said, " the truth is I am ashamed to ask you to my lodging, it is a place where I only roost, as I am continually out upon the wing, and I believe too, I can show you as many out of doors as within,---come with me to a shop window, there are three of mine in it.” He described those which I had been admiring a few minutes before I insisted on seeing his room, and entering a court by a half door made with ballusters, and swinging imperfectly on creaking hinges, I found myself in a yard with a gallery round it, where various parts of ladies' habilaments were availing themselves of the bright sunshine to dry themselves, while the sun was maliciously exposing the poverty of their owners. Under various pretexts Mr. Morris would still dissuade me from going into his lodgings, but when we arrived at the door, we were met by the very young lady who accompanied him to the coffee-room, and, after a hasty presentation, she said she had left a note for him, and calling him aside, eagerly told him what appeared to make him at the time very indignant.- He returned to me, said he had important business at the Theatre, bade me a good morning, and went off with Miss James. I lamented my loss doubly, as it appeared to be a disagreeable circumstance which deprived me of the pleasure of seeing his pictures.
Weeks had elapsed since we had thus casually met, and as usual, I went to the coffee-room, but Mr. Morris never made his appearance. Sitting one evening looking into the fire, solving the riddles there, as they explained themselves away, and melted into smoke; seeing clearly all the events, the uncertain events of my life, under the most agreeable circumstances, and lecturing myself very wisely on the advantages of a good seacoal fire,- I was interrupted in my pursuit after truth and knowledge, by the philosophical visage of Mr. Morris's profound friend, the enigmatical Mr. Mum. After a due salem, we spoke again of our mutual acquaintance, Morris. He lamented the intimacy of his friend with Miss James, the attachment had cost him already his situation at the Theatre; for one of the managers, jealous of the cordial manner between the parties, which interfered with his own views, found it convenient to remove the cause of it; and the mysterious interview that took place near his lodgings with Miss James, was now accounted for. What next is to become of him? said Mr. Mum, as Morris entered the room. “Ha! my friend, contrivance is better than hard labour, what do you think in my exigency I have met with ?-A Patron.'
Bright girl! thy love hath been to mo
Some spirits borrow half their light
'Tis thus on me thy splendors play,
"Say have you seen a little boy,
“ Wandering up and down, “With every feature beaming joy,
Light wings, and rosy crown?”
With each exterior charm
Within- deceit and harm!
And pressed him to my heart,
Beware his venom'd dart,
Was fraught with magic spells,
I'll tell you where he dwells ! He dwells-on Bessy's coral lip,
In Cloe's beaming eye;
And oft in Mary's sigh,
In Belle's majestic mien,
Will sometimes sport unseen. Some say he furks in Sally's eye,
In Jessy's winning smile, Or, caught by.gay variety,
With Kitty dwells the while ;
On Laura's graceful arm,
In Julia's ev'ry charm!
- That I mistake the boy, “ That true lore ne'er was known to stray',
“ In search of idle joy;" "'Twas fairy -fancy,” they exclaim,
" Assumed the arch disguise ; “In Angel-love's fair form and name,
“She cheats all heedless eyes.” But if you wish to know love's home,
The haunt to him most dear,
You will not find him there!
But fleeting joys impart,
DANTE AND MILTON.
There are few points of assimilation in the poetical characters of Mil. ton and Dante, but the merits of an author may be more fully elicited by contrast, than by analysis, and however wide the difference between the subject of Paradise Lost, and that of the Divina Commedia, the characters and scenes of the respective poems, furnish sufficient data for comparison. Milton's work, is a regularly built epic: its object is defined and legitimate. Dante's on the contrary, is the wild, irregular and fantastic structure of a gloomy and misanthropic mind. Milton recorded the feats of his immortal spirits, as one commissioned from above. He himself is pure and passionless, and apparently unaffected by the struggles, the triumphs, or the sufferings he describes. Notwithstanding the explanation Dante gives of the manner of his introduction to the infernal regions, we are inclined to suspect that his knowledge has been surreptitiously obtained. He appears like one who conversed with "guilty spirits on the midnight heath,” and then, who read “the trembling world, the tales of Hell.” He exhibits nothing of the serenity and self-possession which contributed so much to the solemn grandeur, and imposing majesty of Milton; on the contrary, his rapid and impetuous movements are indicative of violent passion, his song is evidently the out-pouring of a throbbing heart and troubled brain. The luminous characters of Milton's lofty record, appear as if they had been traced by a sun-beam, but Dante wrote from the very intensity of his feelings, and every word appears as if it had been engraved with a diamond's point. Milton's figures are disposed with the grace and propriety of a finished picture. ”Dante's characters, whether "spirits of light," or "goblins damned," pass before our eyes with all the startling animation and rapidity of a Phantasmagoria. In the one there is more regular grouping; in the other, there is more dramatic effect.
The judgment and the power which Milton has displayed in his description of the regions to which he consigned the rebellious spirits, must be obvious to the most ordinary reader. His Hell is thrown into dim perspective. We can form no definite idea either of its extent or horror-every thing is vague, limitless and unmeasured; clouds and darkness rest upon its sulphurous lakes and fiery alps, as well as upon the gloomy world on its confines. It is the chiaro obscuro of poet, and would appear to have heen traced by the shadowy pencil of Rembrandt. The Inferno of the Italian poet, however vast and interminable it may appear at the first glance, is divided into regular circles and abysses—the degree of punishment is meted out according to the guilt of the individual, and the different compartments are numbered and marked with minute precision. Each is excellent in its way. No description could convey to us, the extent of endurance in a fallen angel, or the measure of his punishment, nor is this by any means' necessary; but it is essentially necessary to present the sufferings of our fellow creatures in a tangible state, in order to entitle them to our sympathy: but if Milton's Hell surpasses Dante's in grandeur and sublimity, the latter excites deeper sensations of horror: if the view of the one fills us with awe and admiration, the other affects us with terror and affright. There is scarcely any imaginable variety of pain mental or corporeal, which can wring the spirit or agonize the frame of man, that the Italian Poet has not brought into terrible requisition, and he details the despair, the frenzy, the pangs, the writhing and contritions of the damned, not in the cold language of second-hand narrative, but in the hurried and energetic tones of one whose eyes had ached at the spectacle, and whose heart bad been riven by the horrors he describes. It is not to be supposed however, that Dante's sympathy extended to all the inmates of his horrible prison. It is a melancholy fact, that he stooped to the degradation of making his genius subservient to his passions. He represents his personal and political enemies amongst the most prominent sufferers in his Inferno, and he occasionally addresses them in a mingled tone of sarcastic levity, and gloomy vindictiveness. To reconcile this unamiable ferocity with the gentleness and the feeling of his ordinary moods, is a matter of no small difficulty. With the wrongs and the sufferings which bowed the lofty mind of Dante to the dust, we are well acquainted, but the humiliating circumstances which compelled him to extend the hand for bread (as he intimates in a passage of deep and bitter feeling) never lowered him so much in our opinion, as the moral degradation he has been guilty of in this respect. His conduct bowever, is by no means uninstructive. It affords an awful illustration of the power of those passions which are generating by political and party feuds, in debasing the noblest mind, and turning the milk of human kindness into gall.
Milton's hell, it must be allowed, is not so original as Dante's. The En. glish bard has been indebted to Tasso for many of its horrors, and in some places he has improved on Dante himself. The often quoted and beauiiful sentence, in which he describes the irrevocable doom of the damned,
Hope never comes that comes to all,” differs very little from the “ Laserate ogni speranza" of the inscription over the Inferno. Of this inscription it would be impossible to speak in adequate terms. It would seem to have been written by the mysterious hand that traced the burning words in Balthasser's hall. Whoever has read it can scarcely succeed in effacing from his mind the impression it has made. The introduction of “ Il primo amore" by Dante, in the formation of the infernal regions, has produced the usual display of literary trifling and microscopic subtility from his commentators. We are quite ready to allow thai Dante has been misled in some instances, by the dogmatic theology (as it has been termed) of the age in which he lived, and that he committed some grievous sins against good taste, in consequence of this gloomy enthusiasm; but it is a vulgar error to suppose that there is any thing injudicious in the introduction of this attribute of the Deity, in the formation of the infernal regions. To us it appears a stroke of inimitable beauty. The mind of the reader would be overwhelmed by the horrors of the scene, were it not prepared to acknowledge the justice of the punishment, and what vindication of the Deity can be at once so sublime and convincing, as that which is conveyed by the simple introduction of this redeeming image" Il primo amore" – It affords the same beautiful relief to the horrors of that doletul region, that the moonlight over the still waters, in the celebrated Italian night scene, affords to the gloom, the thunders, and the ghastly flames of Vesuvius. There is an idea of a different character, but of similar sweetness and beauty in one of the Psalms, where the royal minstrel prays to be delivered from the number of those who go down into hell, “ O Lord they do not praise thee there.” We are the more confirm