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Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Hail bounteous May, that dost inspire
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
Spenser's "Lord! how all creatures laugh'd" is an instance of joyous and impulsive expression not common with English poets, out of the pale of comedy. They have geniality in abundance, but not animal spirits.
AN ANGEL, WITH A PILGRIM AND A FAINTING KNIGHT.
Character, Active Superhuman Beauty, with the finest colouring and contrast; Painter, Titian.
During the while that Guyon did abide
In Mammon's house, the palmer, whom whilere
That all the fields resounded with the rueful cry.
The palmer leant his ear unto the noise,
Again he heard a more enforced voice,
Which to that shady delve him brought at last,
Decked with diverse plumes, like painted jays,
34 "Beside his head," &c.-The superhuman beauty of this angel should be Raphael's, yet the picture, as a whole, demands Titian; and the painter of Bacchus was not incapable of the most imaginative exaltation of countenance. As to the angel's body, no one could have painted it like him,-nor the beautiful jay's wings; not to mention the contrast between the pilgrim's weeds and the knight's armour. See a picture of Venus blinding Cupid, beautifully engraved by Sir Robert Strange, in which the Cupid has variegated wings.
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,
With rosy cheeks, for shame as blushing red.
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,
That ev'n the angels, which continually
Forget their service and about her fly,
Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair 35
The more they on it stare;
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 44 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, the same.
-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,
So that fair spectacle was from him reft,
Yet that which reft it, no less fair was found:
Withal she laughèd, 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
His dwelling has, low in a hollow cave,
And all about old stocks and stubs of trees,