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JUPITER AND MAIA.
Character, Young and Innocent but Conscious and Sensuous
Behold how goodly my fair love does lie
Like unto Maia, when as Jove her took
In Tempè, lying on the flowery grass,
NIGHT AND THE WITCH DUESSA,
TAKING SANSJOY IN THEIR CHARIOT TO ESCULAPIUS TO BE
Character, Dreariness of Scene; Horridness of Aspect and Wicked
Then to her iron waggon she betakes
And with her bears the foul well-favoured witch:
Unless she chanc'd their stubborn mouths to twitch;
So well they sped, that they be come at length
*"Each to each unlich." Unlike.
Devoid of outward sense and native strength,
And handle softly, till they can be heal'd,
And all the while she stood upon the ground,
Then turning back in silence soft they stole,
But dreadful furies which their chains have brast, And damned sprites sent forth, to make ill men aghast.
By that same way the direful dames do drive
To gaze on earthly wight, that with the night durst ride.
30" So filthy and so foul."-Why he should say this of Night, except perhaps in connection with the witch, I cannot say. It seems to me to hurt the "abhorred face." Night, it is true, may be reviled, or made grand or lovely, as a poet pleases. There is both classical and poetical warrant for all. But the goddess with whom the witch dared to ride (as the poet finely says at the close) should have been exhibited, it would seem, in a more awful, however frightful guise.
31" Their mournful chariot fill'd with rusty blood.”—There is something wonderfully dreary, strange and terrible, in this picture. By "rusty blood" (which is very horrid) he must mean the blood half congealing; altered in patches, like rusty iron. Be this as it may, the word "rusty," as Warton observes, seems to have conveyed the idea of somewhat very loathsome and horrible to our author."
VENUS IN SEARCH OF CUPID, COMING TO DIANA.
Character, Contrast of Impassioned and Unimpassioned BeautyCold and Warm colours mixed; Painter, Titian.
(Yet I know not whether Annibal Caracci would not better suit the demand for personal expression in this instance. But the recollection of Titian's famous Bath of Diana is forced upon us.)
Shortly unto the wasteful woods she came,
Some of them washing with the liquid dew
Soon as she Venus saw behind her back,
She was asham'd to be so loose surpris'd,
And wak'd half wrath against her damsels slack,
Be overtaken: soon her garments loose
Whiles all her nymphs did like a garland her inclose.
32" Soon as her garments loose," &c.—This picture is from Ovid; but the lovely and beautifully coloured comparison of the garland is Spenser's own.
Character, Budding Beauty in male and female; Animal Passion ; Luminous Vernal colouring; Painter, Titian.
Then came fair May, the fairest maid on ground,33
33 “Then came,” &c.-Raphael would have delighted (but Titian's colours would be required) in the lovely and liberal uniformity of this picture,-the young goddess May supported aloft; the two brethren on each side; animals and flowers below; birds in the air, and Cupid streaming overhead in his green mantle. Imagine the little fellow, with a body of Titian's carnation, tumbling in the air, and playfully holding the mantle, which is flying amply behind, rather than concealing him.
This charming stanza beats the elegant but more formal invocation to May by Milton, who evidently had it in his recollection. Indeed the latter is almost a compilation from various poets. It is, however, too beautiful to be omitted here.