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AURORA AND TITHONUS.
Character, Young and Genial Beauty, contrasted with Age,—the
accessories full of the mixed warmth and chillness of morning ; Painter, Guido.
The joyous day 'gan early to appear,
From heaven high to chace the cheerless dark :
THE BRIDE AT THE ALTAR.
Character, Flushed yet Lady-like Beauty, with ecstatic Angels
regarding her ; Painter, the same.
Behold, while she before the altar stands,
Like crimson dyed in grain !
But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
35 “ Oft peeping in her face,” &c.—I cannot think the words peeping and stare, the best which the poet could have used; but he is aggravating the beauties of his bride in a long epithalamium, and sacrificing everything to her superiority. The third line is felicitous.
A NYMPH BATHING.
Character, Ecstasy of Conscious and Luxurious Beauty; Painter,
-Her fair locks which formerly were bound
So hid in locks and waves from looker's theft,
Withal she laughed, and she blush'd withal,36
36 « Withal she laughed,” &c.—Perhaps this is the loveliest thing of the kind, mixing the sensual with
the graceful, that ever was painted. The couplet So hid in locks and waves, &c. would be an excessive instance of the sweets of alliteration, could we bear to miss a particle of it.
THE CAVE OF DESPAIR.
Character,Savage and Forlorn Scenery, occupied by Squalid Misery;
Painter, Salvator Rosa.
Ere long they come where that same wicked wight
Far from that haunt all other cheerful fowl,
And all about old stocks and stubs of trees,
Look'd deadly dull, and stared as astound;
Disordered hung about his shoulders round,
His garment nought but many ragged clouts,
In which a rusty knife fast fixed stood,
Still finer than this description are the morbid sophistry and the fascinations of terror that follow it in the original; but as they are less poetical or pictorial than argumentative, the extract is limited accordingly. There is a tradition that when Sir Philip Sidney read this part of the Faerie Queene, he fell into transports of admiration.
A KNIGHT IN BRIGHT ARMOUR LOOKING INTO A CAVE.
Character, A deep effect of Chiaroscuro, making deformity visible ;
But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
But th' other half did woman's shape retain,
37 « A little glooming light, much like a shade.”-Spenser is very fond of this effect, and has repeatedly painted it. I am not aware that any body noticed it before him. It is evidently the original of the passage in Milton :
Where glowing embers through the room
Observe the pause at the words looked in.