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ACKVILLE's INDuction, which was to have been placed at the head of our English tragical story, and which loses much of its dignity and propriety by being prefixed to a fingle life, and that of no great historical importance, is opened with the following poetical landscape of winter".
The wrathfull winter, prochinge on apace, . . . .
With blustring blasts had all ybard the treene; . . .
And old Saturnus with his frosty face .
With chilling colde had pearst the tender greene:
The mantels rent, wherein enwrapped been
The gladsom groves, that nowe laye overthrowen,
The tapets torne, and every bloom downe blowne,
Hawthorne had lost his motley lyverye,
The naked twigges were shivering all for colde;
And droppinge downe the teares abundantly,
Eche thing, methought, with weping eye me tolde
The cruell season, bidding me witholde
The altered scene of things, the flowers and verdure of summer deformed by the frosts and storms of winter, and the day suddenly overspread with darkness, remind the poet of the uncertainties of human life, the transient state of honour, and the
shews the poet in a new and bolder mode of composition.
And syghing sore her haunds she wronge and folde,
Tare al her haire that ruth was to beholde.
Sorrow then conducts the poet to the classical hell, to the place of torments and the place of happiness.
And with these wordes as I upraysed stood
And gan to folowe her that straight forth paste,
Ere I was ware, into a desert wood
We nowe were come : where hand in hand embraced,
She led the way, and through the thicke so traced
As, but I had beene guyded by her might,
It was no waye for any mortal wight.
An hydeous hole al vast, withouten shape,
Of endles depth, orewhelmde with ragged stone,
With oughly mouth and griefly jawes doth gape,
And to our fight confounds itself in one.
Here entred we, and yeding “forth, anone
An horrible lothly lake we might discerne,
As black as pitche, that cleped" is Averne.
A deadly gulfe where nought but rubbish growes,
With fowle blake swelth in thickened lumpes that lyes,
Which upp in th’ ayre such stinking vapour throwes,
That over there may flye no fowle, but dyes
Choakt with the noysom vapours that aryse.
Hither we come, whence forth we still did pace,
In dreadfull feare amid the dreadfull place.
Our author appears to have felt and to have conceived with true taste, that very romantic part of Virgil's Eneid which he has here happily copied and heightened. The imaginary beings which sate within the porch of hell, are all his own. I must not omit a fingle figure of this dreadful groupe, nor one compartment of the portraitures which are feigned to be sculptured or painted on the SHIELD of WAR, indented with gashes deepe and wide.
And, first, within the porch and jaws of hell
Sat deep ReMoRse of conscience, all besprent
With tears ; and to herself oft would she tell
Her wretchedness, and, curfing, never stent
To sob and figh, but ever thus lament
With thoughtful care; as she that, all in vain,
Would wear and waste continually in pain: