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THE BRIDE AT THE ALTAR.
Character, Flushed yet Lady-like Beauty, with ecstatic Angels regard ing her; Painter, the same.
Behold, while she before the altar stands,
That ev'n the angels, which continually
Forget their service and about her fly,
Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair 35
But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
That suffers not one look to glance awry,
Which may let in a little thought unsound.
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, Ecstacy of Conscious and Luxurious Beauty; Painter Guido.
-Her fair locks which formerly were bound
Up in one knot, she low adown did loose,
Which flowing long and thick, her cloth'd around,
And the ivory in golden mantle gown'd,
So that fair spectacle was from him reft,
Yet that which reft it, no less fair was found:
Withal she laughed, and she blush'd withal,36
36 Withal she laugh'd," &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
His dwelling has, low in a hollow cave.
Far underneath a craggy cliff ypight,
And all about old stocks and stubs of trees,
Look'd deadly duil, and stared as astoun'd;
That darksome cave they enter where they find
His garment naught but many ragged clouts,
And made an open passage for the gushing flood.
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 ARMOR LOOKING INTO A CAVE.
Character, A deep effect of Chiaroscuro, making deformity visible Painter, Rembrandt.
But full of fire and greedy hardiment,
The youthful knight would not for aught be stay'd,
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 anybody noticed it before him. It is evidently the original of the passage in Milton:
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom.
Observe the pause at the words looked in.
MALBECCO SEES HELLENORE DANCING WITH THE SATYRS
Character, Luxurious Abandonment to Mirth; Painter, Nicholas Poussin.
-Afterwards, close creeping as he might,
Danc'd lively and her face did with a laurel shade.
The silly man then in a thicket lay,
Saw all this goodly sport, and grieved sore,
Yet durst he not against it do or say,
But did his heart with bitter thoughts engore
To see the unkindness of his Hellenore.
All day they danced with great lustyhead,
And with their hornèd feet the green grass wore,
The whiles their goats upon the browses fed,
Till drooping Phœbus 'gan to hide his golden head.
*" That new honor which they redd."—Areaded, awarded.
WITH DAMSELS CONVEYING A WOUNDED SQUIRE ON HIS HORSE.
Character, Select Southern Elegance, with an intimation of fine Ar chitecture; Painter, Claude. (Yet "mighty" woods hardly belong to him.)
Into that forest far they thence him led,
Where was their dwelling, in a pleasant glade
Amongst the pumy stones, which seem'd to plain
Beside the same a dainty place there lay,
Of God's high praise and of their sweet love's teen,
As it an earthly paradise had been ;
In whose enclosed shadows there was pight
A fair pavilion, scarcely to be seen.
THE NYMPHS AND GRACES DANCING TO A SHEPHERD'S PIPE; OR,
APOTHEOSIS OF A POET'S MISTRESS.
Character, Nakedness without Impudency: Multitudinous and Innocent Delight; Exaltation of the principal Person from Circumstances, rather than her own Ideality; Painter, Albano.
Unto this place whereas the elfin knight
Approach'd, him seemed that the merry sound