« PreviousContinue »
requires a north light, uti colores in ope, propter constantiam luminis, immutata permaneant qualitate. This dis
This disposition accords with his plan of a Grecian house.
(15) Ingenium, sibi quod vacuas desumsit Athenas,
Et studiis annos septem dedit, insenuitque
(16) See the Legend of the Seven Sleepers. -- Gibbon, c. 33.
(17) Milton “was up and stirring, ere the sound of any bell awaked men to labor or to devotion ;” and it is related of two students in a suburb of Paris, who were opposite neighbors, and were called the morning-star and the evening-star,--the former appearing just as the latter withdrew, - that the morning star.continued to shine on, when the evening star was gone out forever.
(18) Mr. Pope delights in enumerating his illustrious guests. Nor is this an exclusive privilege of the poet. The Medici Palace at Florence exhibits a long and imposing catalogue. “Semper hi parietes columnæque eruditis vocibus resonuerunt."
(19) Fallacem circum, vespertinumque pererro
Sæpe forum. - Hor.
(20) Tantôt, un livre en main, errant dans les préries
(21) At a Roman supper statues were sometimes employed to hold the lamps.
-aurea sunt juvenum simulacra per ædes.
Lucr. ü. 24.
On the proper degree and distribution of light we may consult a great master of effect. Il lume grande, ed alto, e non troppo potente, sarà quello, che renderà le particole de corpi molto grate. Tratt. della Pittura di Lionardo da Vinci, c. xli.
Hence every artist requires a broad and high light. Michael Angelo used to work with a candle fixed in his hat. — Condivi. Vita di Michelagnolo. Hence also, in a banquetscene, the most picturesque of all poets has thrown his light from the ceiling. - Æn. i. 726.
And hence the “starry lamps” of Milton, that
(23) At the petits soupés of Choisy were first introduced those admirable pieces of mechanism, afterwards carried to perfection by Loriot, the Confidente and the Servante ; a table and a side-board, which descended, and rose again covered with viands and wines. And thus the most luxurious court in Europe, after all its boasted refinements, was glad to return at last, by this singular contrivance, to the quiet and privacy of humble life. Vie privée de Louis XV. ii. 43.
Between this and the next line were these lines, since omitted :
Hail, sweet Society ! in crowds unknown,
Still where thy small and cheerful converse flows,
These were written in 1796.
(24) An allusion to the floating bee-house, which is seen in some parts of France and Piedmont.
(25) After this line, in the MS.
Groves that Belinda's star illumines still,
See the Rape of the Lock, Canto V. (26) Innocuas amo delicias doctamqué quietem.
(27) It was the boast of Lucullus that he changed his climate with the birds of passage.
How often must he have felt the truth here inculcated, that the master of many houses has no home !
T II E
VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS.
Chi se tu, che vieni — ?
Da me stesso non vegno.
I have seen the day
The following Poem (or, to speak more properly, what remains of it *) has here and there a lyrical turn of thought and expression. It is sudden in its transitions, and full of historical allusions ; leaving much to be imagined by the reader.
The subject is a voyage the most memorable in the annals of mankind. Columbus was a person of extraordinary virtue and piety, acting, as he conceived, under the sense of a divine impulse ; and his achievement the discovery of a New World, the inhabitants of which were shut out from the light of revelation, and given up, as they believed, to the dominion of malignant spirits.
Many of the incidents will now be thought extravagant ; yet they were once perhaps received with something more than indulgence. It was an age of miracles ; and who can say that among the venerable legends in the library of the Escurial, or the more authentic records which fill the great chamber in the Archivo of Seville, and which relate entirely to the deep tragedy of America, there are no volumes that mention the marvellous things here described ? Indeed, the story, as already told throughout Europe, admits of no heightening. Such was the religious enthusiasm of the early writers, that the author had only to transfuse it into his verse ; and he appears to have done little more, though some of the circumstances, which he alludes to as well known, have long ceased to be so. By using the language of that day, he has called up Columbus “in his habit as he lived ;" and the authorities, such as exist, are carefully given by the translator.
* The original in the Castilian language, according to the Inscription that follows, was found among other MSS. in an old religious house near Palos, situated on an island formed by the river Tinto, and dedicated to our Lady of La Rabida. The writer describes himself as having sailed with Columbus ; but his style and manner are evidently of an after-time, INSCRIBED ON THE ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT.
UNCLASP me, Stranger; and unfold,
In RABIDA's monastic fane
No earthly thought has here a place,
Here, tempest-worn and desolate,
* We have an interesting account of his first appearance in Spain, that country which was so soon to be the theatre of his glory. According to