صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

The purple morning left her crimson bed,
And donn'd her robes of pure vermilion hue;
Her amber locks the crown'd with rofes red,
In Eden's flow'ry gardens gather'd new.

And Spenfer, who excels in description, has the fame fort of images diverfified.

Now when the rofy-finger'd morning fair,
Weary of aged Tithon's faffron bed,
Had spread her purple robes thro' dewy air,
And the high hills Titan discovered;
The royal virgin fhook off drowsy head,
And rifing forth out of her baser bower,
Look'd for her knight-

-The day forth-dawning from the east,
Night's humid curtains from the heav'ns withdrew,
And early calling forth both man and beast,
Commanded them their daily works renew.

Milton's defcriptions of the Morning are exquifitely drawn ; and though he has departed as much as poffible from the beaten track, yet fome traces of the former poets may be evidently feen.

Now morn her rofy fteps in th' eaftern clime
Advancing, fow'd the earth with orient pearl.
-The morn,
Wak'd by the circling hours, with rofy hand
Unbarr'd the gates of light-

And now went forth the morn,
Such as in highest heav'n, array'd in gold
Empyreal; from before her vanifh'd night,
Shot thro' with orient beams

No defcriptions of the morning can be more animated and fublime than those of SHAKESPEAR; yet his thoughts bear great affinity to the preceding.

Look where the morn in ruffet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
-Look, Love, what envious ftreaks
Do lace the fevering clouds in yonder eaft.
Night's tapers are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.

These paffages may be justly rank'd among grand and fublime thoughts; and though the out-lines feem to have been drawn by Homer, on which they have run their feveral divifions, yet they have all acquitted themselves, so as to obtain the applause of the learned and judicious; for men of judgment will ever confider that nature is still the fame, and that where the fame object is to be described, the fame thoughts, and often the fame words, will occur, if the descriptions are just and natural.

We have attributed the first instance of describing the morning in this beautiful manner to Homer, yet it is to be obferv'd, that there is much of this fublime imagery in the facred writings, from whence fome hints may probably have been taken. Thus it is faid of the fun, that He cometh forth out of his chamber as a bridegroom, and exulteth as a giant who is to run his race.

Befides thefe thoughts, which captivate with their grandeur and fublimity, there are others that equally affect us by their agreeablenefs or beauty. The first please, because they have fomething great, which always charms the mind, whereas these please only because they are agreeable. Comparisons and defcriptions, taken from florid and delightful fubjects, form agreeable thoughts, in the fame manner as those we take from grand fubjects form thofe that are fublime.

The writings of the holy penmen are replete with these thoughts; but as the beauties of the bible are in every hand, and to be feen every day, we fhall felect what examples we have room to admit from our English poets. The defcription, however, which Solomon has given us of Wisdom, ought not to be omitted, because it is fufficient, one would think, to make every man in love with her.

Length of days are in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

There are many paffages in Mr. Smart's poem on the Immenfity of the Supreme Being, which contain agreeable thoughts; but that of the Ring-dove's neft is, I think, remarkably fo:

What are yon tow'rs,
The work of lab'ring man and clumsy art,
Seen with the ring-dove's neft ?-On that tall beeck

Her penfile house the feather'd artist builds-
The rocking winds moleft her not; for fee,
With fuch due poize the wond'rous fabrick's hung,
That, like the compass in the bark, it keeps
True to itself and stedfaft even in ftorms.
Thou ideot, that asserts there is no God,
View, and be dumb for ever.

[ocr errors]

Innumerable are the beauties of this agreeable kind that might be drawn from the poets, both ancient and modern. Those who would see more of these descriptive beauties, may abundantly gratify their curiofity in our volume of Rhetoric, where many are inferted to illuftrate the figures in that science. It is to be observed, however, that those where the tender paffions are concern'd, are not only more affecting, but often more pleafing than others, as may be seen by this fpeech of Eve to Adam, in Milton's Paradife Loft.; and by other paffages which we shall infert from that ever to be admired poem.

With thee converfing, I forget all time,
All feasons and their change, all please alike:
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rifing sweet
With charm of earliest birds, pleasant the fun
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flow'r,
Glift'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers, and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild: then filent night
With this her folemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train.
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rifing fun
On this delightful land, nor herb, fruit, flow'r,
Glift ring with dew, nor fragrance after showers,
Nor grateful evening mild, nor filent night
With this her folemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering star-light, without thee is sweet.

Adam on feeing Eve afleep with unusual discomposure in her looks, regards her, as Mr. Addifon obferves, with a tenderness not to be expressed, and awakens her with the lofteft whisper that ever was conveyed to a lover's ear, ca

[ocr errors]

His wonder was to find unwaken'd Eve
With treffes difcompos'd, and glowing cheek
As though unquiet reft: he on his fide
Leaning half-rais'd, with looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour'd, and beheld
Beauty, which whether waking or asleep,
Shot forth peculiar graces: then with voice
Mild, as when Zephyrus on Flora breathes,
Her hand foft touching, whisper'd thus; awake
My faireft, my efpoufed, my latest found,
Heav'ns laft beft gift, my ever new delight,
Awake; the morning fhines, and the fresh field
Calls us, we lose the prime to mark how fpring
Our tender plants, how blows the citron grove,
What drops the myrtle, what the balmy reed;
How nature paints her colours, how the bee
Sits on the bloom, extracting liquid fweet.
Such whifp'ring wak'd her, but with startled eye
On Adam, whom embracing, thus fhe spoke-
O fole, in whom my thoughts find all repofe,
My glory, my perfection, glad I fee
Thy face, and morn return'd-

The paffage relating to Eve's dream, where the fancies herself awakened by Adam, is extremely beautiful; and will appear the more fo, when we confider that it was a dream in which the devil is fuppofed to have tainted her imagination by inftilling into her mind thofe high conceits engendering pride.

Close at mine ear, one call'd me forth to walk
With gentle voice, I thought it thine; it said,
Why fleep'ft thou Eve? now is the pleasant time,
The cool, the filent, fave where filence yields
To the night-warbling bird, that now awake
Tunes fweetest his love-labour'd fong; now reigns
Full orb'd the moon, and with more pleafing light
Shadowy fets off the face of things; in vain,
If none regard; heav'n wakes with all his eyes,
Whom to behold but thee, nature's defire ?
In whofe fight all things joy, with ravishment
Attracted by thy beauty ftill to gaze!

That part of the narration, where Adam is faid to have

cheared and inftructed Eve, is amazingly beautiful; and the effect his admonition produced in her, and his behavi our on that occafion, is finely conceived, and most exquifitely described.

So chear'd he his fair spouse, and she was chear'd,
But filently a gentle tear let fall

[ocr errors]

From either eye, and wip'd them with her hair.
Two other precious drops that ready stood,
Each in their cryftal fluice, he ere they fell
Kifs'd, as the gracious figns of fweet remorse
And pious awe, that fear'd to have offended.

In that part of the Episode where Adam relates to the angel the circumstances he found himself in upon his creation, the author has raised our curiofity, and he has abundantly gratified it; for nothing could on that occafion have been better conceived, or better expreffed, especially the account Adam gives of the posture he found himself in, the landscape round him, his address to the fun, and of the dream in which he beheld the formation of Eve.

-As new wak'd from foundest fleep,
Soft on the flow'ry herb I found me laid
In balmy fweat, which with his beams the fun
Soon dry'd, and on the reaking moisture fed.
Strait toward heav'n my wand'ring eyes I turn'd,
And gaz'd a while the ample sky, till rais'd
By quick inftinctive motion up I fprung,
As thitherward endeavouring, and upright
Stood on my feet: about me round I faw
Hill, dale, and fhady woods, and funny plains,
And liquid lapfe of murm'ring ftreams; by thefe,
Creatures that liv'd, and mov'd, and walk'd, or flew,
Birds on the branches warbling; all things fmil'd:
With fragrance and with joy my heart o'erflow'd,
-Thou fun, faid I, fair light,

And thou enlighten'd earth, so fresh and gay,
Ye hills and dales, ye rivers, woods, and plains,
And ye that live and move, fair creatures tell,
Tell if you faw, how came I thus, how here?

Under his forming hands a creature grew,
Man like, but different fex: So lovely fair,
..That what feem'd fair in all the world, feem'd now

« السابقةمتابعة »