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following, for which, and also for some of the above remarks, I am indebted to the late reverend and ingenious Mr. Say.

As in still air, when round the queen of night
The stars appear, in cloudless glory bright,
The rock remote, the hills and vales are seen,
And heaven diffuses an immense serene;
Thus, while each star with rival lustre glows,
The shepherd's heart with conscious joy o'erflows,

Yours, &c.

1774, Feb.


LVII. Various Descriptions of Night compared.


HAVING in your Magazine for Jan. produced several Descriptions of the Night from the works of our English poets, and ventured to oppose them to the most celebrated ones of the ancients; l ought to have added to the number that of Shakespeare in bis Midsummer Night's Dream, not only on account of its poetic excellence, but as it was, probably, the original which furnished Marston with so many just and natural images:

The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve
Now the hungry lion roars,

And the wolf behowls the maon,
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,

All with weary task foredone.
Now the wasted brands do glow,

Whilst the scrịtch-owl, scritching loud,
Puts the wretch that lies in woe

In remembrance of a shroud.
Now it is the time of Night

That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,

In the church-way paths to glide;

. And we fairies that do run

By the triple Hecat's team
From the presence of the sun,

Following darkness like a dream,
Now are frolic

Midsum. N. Dr.* Act V. Sc. 1. 2.

Shakespeare, it is evident, had no need to dress up his description in Macbeth with imagery culled from Antonio's Revenge, since his own glowing imagination had already, we see, in a prior piece, bodied forth ihe forms of things unknown, and adapted them to the occasion, giving to airy nothings a local habitation and a name.

The two last lines of Dryden's description in the Conquest of Mexico deserved likewise to have been noticed:

Even lust and envy sleep; but love denies

Rest to my soul, and slumber to my eyes. The personification of lust and envy, and the investing of these abstract terms with the attributes of the living-the representing of them as laid to sleep--shews a much nobler fight of fancy than the personification of silence in Apollonius,

Σιγη δε μελαινομενην εχεν ορφνην,

or that of sleep in Statius,

totis ubi somnus inertior alis Defluit in terras, mutumque amplectitur orbem: (though this latter image of sleep brooding with wings expanded over the silent globe, is, it must be confessed, highly animated, and truly poetical). The universal stillness and composure of the night are also much more finely and forcibly portrayed in this short moral sketch of Dryden, which exhibits the two most wakeful and tormenting passions incident to human nature as “lulled in pleasing slumber," than by the several images drawn from the natural world~ the silence of the birds, the beasts, the trees, the rivers, and the sea, -that are crowded together in Statius's description,

* This play was first printed (according to Mr. CapelPs accurate table of the editions of Shakespeare's plays) in 1600, Antonio's Revenge in 1602.

-- tacet omne pecus, volucresque, feræque, * Et simulant fessos curvata cacumina somnos: Nec trucibus fluviis idem sonus, occidit horror

* Æquoris, et terris maria acclinata quiescunt; and in the similar, though greatly superior one of Virgil,

Nox erat, et placidum carpebant fessa soporem
Corpora per terras, sylvæque, et sæva quièrant
&quora: cum medio volvunter sidera lapsu:
Cum tacet omnis ager, pecades, pictæque volucres,
Quæque lacus late liquidos, quæque aspera dumis
Rura tenent, somno positæ sub nocte silenti

Lenibant curas, et corda oblita laborum. But this is not all. There is another exquisite beauty in those lines of Dryden, arising from the contrast between the restlessness, the sober certainty of waking misery in the breast of Pizarro (who utters them), and the profound repose and tranquillity of all nature around:

But love denies + Rest to my soul, and slumber to my eyes. This is a beauty of the same kind with that which the critics have admired in the Medea of Apollonius,

Αλλα μεν και Μηδειαν επι γλυκερος λαβεν υπνος και and that copy of it in the Dido of Virgil.

At non infelix animi Phænissa; neque unquam
Solvitur in somnos, oculisve aut pectore noctem

Accipit The Italian poets, such of them at least as I have seen, have struck out nothing on the subject of night, worthy to rank with the models of these great masters. Even Tasso himself has given us only a translation (an elegant one indeed) from Virgil in the following beautiful lines:

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* Dryden seems to have taken the hint of two quaint fancifal lines from the second and fourth verses in this description of Statius: The mountains seem to nod their drowsy head.

Conquest of Merico.
The waves more faintly roar,
And roll themselves asleep upon the shore,

Rival Ladies
Dryden' is, however, indebted for this line to one of the Latin poets;
Nulla quies animo, nullas sopor; ardua amanti.

Val. Flar. VH. 244. de Medeti,

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Era la notte all'hor, ch' alto riposo
Han l'onde, e i venti, e parea muto il mondo:
Gli animali lássi, e quei, che'l mar ondoso,
O de' liquidi laghi alberga il fondo,
E ehi si giace in tana, o in mandra, ascoső,
E i pinti augelli ne l'oblio profondo,
Sotto il silentio de' secreti horrori

Sopian gli affanni, e raddolciano i cuori. The critical reader will perceive, on comparing this description with that in the fourth book of the Æneid, before given, that not only the images, but the expressions, too, are almost literally copied from thence, with some few heightenings from the hand of the translator. Thus. " the waves and the winds,” l'onde e i venti, are coupled together with, perhaps, greater propriety in the copy, than silvæque et æquora,

the woods and the seas,” are in the original; though it must at the same time be acknowledged, that the seva quierant of the Mantuan poet is infinitely more animated and characteristic than the han alto riposo of the Tuscan one. Tasso has omitted the pleasing picturesque image of the de stars" in their courses (medio volvuntur sidera lapsu), happily introduced by the judicious Virgil, to heighten and set off the serenity that prevailed throughout the heavens as well as the earth-that is, throughout all nature—on that particular night he is describing, in order to contrast it the more strongly, as the occasion required, with the discomposure of Dido. And be has supplied its place with the vague idea of a general stillness of the globe, parea muto il mondo-borrowed, as it should seem, from the mutumque amplectitur orbem of Statius; but falls much below his original, both in the prosaic turn of the expression [parea], and in the application of the image itself; which being a general, uncharacteristic one, thrust in amidst a groupe of particular, appropriated images-the silence of the waves, the winds, &c.-loses in Tasso's hands all the graces it had in the hands of Statius, where it is properly adapted to the conciseness of the description, and the *general turn of the rest of the imagery. The seventh line of Tasso, sotto il silentio de secreti horrori, is, indeed, a fine improvement upon Virgil's somno positæ sub nocte silenti; it is, however, indebted for it's principal beauty to an happy union of the ideas suggested by

* Scandebat roseo medii fastigia cali
Luna jugo, totis ubi somnus inertiur alis
Defluit in terras, mutainque amplectitur orbem.

Achilleid. I. 619

another passage of this author, that breathes all the enthus siasm of pure, genuine poetry-simul ipsa silentia terrent.

I shall not enter into the comparative merit of Homer's night-piece, and the copy of it in Pope's translation. The curious reader may find this subject handled with great ingenuity by two eminent writers; Cooper in his elegant Letters concerning taste, and Melmoth in the Letters of Sir Thomas Fitzosborne. Caerhaes, near Tregony, in Cornwall,

R. Feb. 18. 1774, March.

LVIII. Critical Illustrations of obsolete Passages in Shakespeare.

MR. URBAN, THERE is a passage or two in the tragedy of Hamlet, which I have never yet seen explained to my satisfaction by any commentator. In Act I. Sc. 2, the King thus addresses himself to the Prince, his nephew:

But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son; to which Hamlet (aside) replies,

A little more than kin, and less than kind. Bishop Warburton, without the least necessity, considers kind, as an adjective; having first, without the least authority, proposed an alteration in the text, as stiff* as it is arbitrary :

But now, my cousin Hamlet, kind

my son.

* When I say this, I do not forget the frequent use of the epithet GOOD before the pronoun possessive in this author; as “good my Lord,” “ good my Liege,” “ good my Sovereign,” “ good my Mother,”. &c. &c.--but this use of the addition good seems to have been a familiar mode of expression in the days of Shakespeare, as may, I think, be collected from a passage in Henry VI. 3d, Part, Act v. Sc. 6.

Gloc. Good day, my Lord! what, at your book so hard ?
King. Ay, my good Lord: my Lord, I should say rather;
'Tis sin to flatter, good was little better :
Good Gloster and good devil were alike,

And both preposterous; therefore not good Lord. and even in this inverted order of construction, "good my Lord," since it so

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