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Tyll at the last, amonge the bowès glade,
The circumstance of the pebbles and gravel of a transparent stream glittering against the sun, which is uncommon, has much of the brilliancy of the Italian poetry. It recalls to my memory a passage in Theocritus, which has been lately restored to its pristine beauty.
Εύρον αεανναον κραναν υπο λισσαδι πειρη,
They found a perpetual spring, under a high rock,
There is much elegance of sentiment and expression in the portrait of Creseide weeping when she parts with Troilus.
. B. ii. cap. xii.
Alosxovg. Idyll. xxii. v. 37.
And from her eyn the teare's round drops tryll,
Ryght so her chekès moystè were and wete'.
And brought to Hector. Sothly there he stoode
The strokes on the helmets are thus expressed, striking fire amid the plumes.
But strokys felle, that men might herden rynge,
Of foyle of golde, of fethers white and grene ".
was more chimerical and unmeaning than this of our
Through many a halle, and many a riche toure,
Spyces and wyne'.
* Greece. Degree. Step. Stair. Gradus. z B. i. c. v. See Colonna, Signat. b. y Painted. Or r. Englased. Skelton's
. B. ii. c. xviii. See supr, vol. i. p. 157. Crowne op LAWRELL, P. 24. edit. 1736.
In Caxton's TROY-Book, Hercules is Wher the postis wer en bulioned with fa said to make the fire artificiall as well as phir's indy blewe
Cacus, &c. ii. 24-
Nor are we only presented in this piece with the habits of feudal life, and the practices of chivalry. The
poem is enriched with a multitude of oriental fictions, and Arabian traditions. Medea gives to Jason, when he is going to combat the brazen bulls, and to lull the dragon who guarded the golden fleece asleep, a marvellous ring; in which was a gem whose virtue could destroy the efficacy of poison, and render the wearer invisible. It was the same fort of
precious stone, adds our author, which Virgil celebrates, and which Venus sent her son Eneas that he might enter Carthage unseen. Another of Medea's presents to Jason, to assist him in this perilous atchievement, is a silver image, or talisman, which defeated all the powers of incantation, and was framed according to principles of astronomy". The hall of king Priam is illuminated at night by a prodigious carbuncle, placed among saphires, rubies, and pearls, on the crown of a golden statue of Jupiter, fifteen cubits high o. In the court of the palace, was a tree made by magic, whose trunk was twelve cubits high; the branches, which overshadowed distant plains, were alternately of solid gold and silver, blossomed with gems of various hues, which were renewed every day. Most of these extravagancies, and a thousand more, are in Guido de Colonna, who lived when this mode of fabling was at its height. But in the fourth book, Dares Phrigius is particularly cited for a description of Priam's palace, which seemed to be founded by FAYRIE, or enchantment; and was paved with crystal, built of diamonds, saphires, and emeralds, and supported by ivory pillars, surmounted with golden images'. This is not, however, in Dares. The warriors who came to the assistance of the Trojans, afford an ample field for invention. One of them belongs to a region of forests; amid the gloom of which wander many monstrous beasts, not real, but ap
pearances or illusive images, formed by the deceptions of necromancy, to terrify the traveller. King Epistrophus brings from the land beyond the Amazonș, a thousand knights ; among which is a terrible archer, half man and half beast, who neighs like a horse, whose eyes sparkle like a furnace, and strike dead like lightening". This is Shakespeare's DREADFUL SAGITTARY'. The Trojan horse, in the genuine spirit of Arabian philosophy, is formed of brass* ; of such immense size, as to contain a thousand soldiers.
Colonna, I believe, gave the Trojan story its romantic additions. It had long before been falsified by Dictys and Dares; but those writers, misrepresenting or enlarging Homer, only invented plain and credible facts. They were the basis of Colonna: who first filled the faint outlines of their fabulous history with the colourings of eastern fancy, and adorned their scanty forgeries with the gorgeous trappings of Gothic chivalry. Or, as our author expresses himself in his Prologue, speaking of Colonna's improvements on his originals.
For he ENLUMINETH, by crafte and cadence,
Of eloquence, to make it sound the bett'. Cloathed with these new inventions, this favourite tale defcended to later times. Yet it appears, not only with these, but with an infinite variety of other embellishments, not fabricated by the fertile genius of Colonna, but