« EdellinenJatka »
So Heav'n preserve the fight it has retor❜d,
Guard me, good angels! cry'd the gentle May,
What I have faid (quoth he) I must maintain, For by th' immortal pow'rs it feem'd too plainBy all thofe pow'rs, fome frenzy feiz'd your mind,
(Reply'd the dame) are these the thanks I find?
The Knight was touch'd; and in his looks appear'd Signs of remorse, while thus his spouse he chear'd: Madam, 'tis past, and my fhort anger o'er!
Come down, and vex your tender heart no more;
Ah, my lov'd lord! 'twas much unkind (fhe cry'd)
Then, Sir, be cautious, nor too rafhly deem;
With that the leap'd into her Lord's embrace 810 With well-diffembled virtue in her face.
He hugg'd her clofe, and kifs'd her o'er and o'er,
Thus ends our tale, whofe moral next to make,
And pray, to crown the pleasure of their lives,
THE firft dawnings of polite literature in Italy are found in tale-writing and fables.
To produce, and carry on with probability and decorum, a feries of events, is the most difficult work of invention; and if we were minutely to examine the popular ftories of every nation, we fhould be amazed to find how few circumstances have been ever in. vented. Facts and events have been indeed varied and modified; but totally new facts have not been created. The writers of the old romances, from whom Ariofto and Spenfer have borrowed fo largely, are supposed to have had copious imaginations; but may they not be indebted, for their invulnerable heroes, their monsters, their enchantments, their gardens of pleafure, their winged fteeds, and the like, to the Echidna, to the Circe, to the Medea, to the Achilles, to the Syrens, to the Harpies, to the Phryxus, and the Bellerophon, of the ancients? The cave of Polypheme might furnish out the ideas of their giants, and Andromeda might give occafion for ftories of diftreffed damfels on the point of being devoured by dragons, and delivered at fuch a critical feafon by their favourite Knights. Some faint traditions of the ancients might have been kept glimmering and alive during the whole barbarous ages, as they are called; and it is not impoffible but these have been the parents of the Genii in the Eastern and the Fairies in the Weftern world. To fay that Amadis and Sir Tristan have a claffical foundation, may, at firft fight, appear parodoxical; but if the fubject were examined to the bottom, I am inclined to think, that the wildest chimeras in thofe books of chivalry, with which Don Quixote's library was furnished, would be found to have a clofe connection with ancient mythology.
We of this nation have been remarkably barren in our inventions of facts; we have been chiefly borrowers in this fpecies of compofition, as the plots of our most applauded tragedies and comedies may witnefs, which have generally been taken from the novels of the Italians and Spaniards. WARTON.
In the art of telling a story in verfe, Pope is peculiarly happy ; we almoft forget the groffnefs of the fubject of this tale, while
we are ftruck by the uncommon ease and readiness of the verfe, the fuitableness of the expreffions, and the spirit and happiness of the whole.
I think Dr. Warton injudiciously cenfures the verfe, which ap pears to me to be very fuitably employed.
Pope has introduced triplets in many places, no doubt for greater effect, which they certainly have. There is generally two together, ended with an Alexandrine; this is common in Dryden's fables, on which Pope evidently formed his ftyle in these narrative pieces.
When I say that Dr. Warton injudicioufly objects to the verfe, it fhould be remembered that there is a mock-elevation in the fpeeches, defcriptions, &c. of this story, (and even Poetry in the fairy revels,) for which the verification Pope has chosen is more proper, than it would be, for Prior's burlesque, and lefs poetical, ribaldry.
The mixture of claffical and gothic imagery, fuch as Chaucer ufes, in making Pluto and Proferpine (instead of spirits, like Oberon and Titania) the king and queen of the yellow-fkirted Fays," is very common in our early Poets, who derived the combination from the old romances, and Ovid. Jafon and Hercules, in Lydgate, are received with all the honours of the old Knights of Chivalry, at the Caftle of the King of Colchis:
"This mighty man Jafon Affigned was by the King anon,
For to fettle at his own borde,
And Hercules, that was fo great a Lord,
Was fette alfo by his fide.".
But the most curious affemblage of diffimilar imagery is, where the fairies are introduced in Milton to attend the Perfonages of Ariftotle's ten Categories:
"Good luck befriend thee, Son, for at thy birth,
See Warton's Milton, p. 312.