תמונות בעמוד
PDF
[ocr errors]

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

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

They found a perpetual spring, under a high rock,
Fil/ed with pure water : hut underneath

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

The following verses are worthy of attention in another style of writing, and have great strength and spirit. A knight brings a steed to Hector in the midst of the battle.

And brought to Hector. Sothly there he stoode
Among the Grekes, al bathed in their bloode:
The which in haste ful knightly he bestrode,
And them amonge like Mars himselfe he rode '.

[ocr errors]

But strokys felle, that men might herden rynge,
On bassenetts, the fieldEs rounde aboute,

So cruelly, that the fyre sprange oute

Amonge the tuftEs brode, bright and shene,

Of foyle of golde, of fethers white and grene '.

The touches of feudal manners, which our author affords, are innumerable : for the Trojan story, and with no great difficulty, is here entirely accommodated to the ideas of romance. Hardly any adventure of the'sichampions of the round table

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

was more chimerical and unmeaning than this of our Grecian chiefs: and the cause of their expedition to Troy was quite in the spirit of chivalry, as it was occasioned by a lady. When Jason arrives at Cholcos, he is entertained by king Oetes in a Gothic castle. Amadis or Lancelot were never conducted to their fairy chambers with more ceremony and solemnity. He is led through many a hall and many a tower, by many a stair, to a sumptuous apartment, whose walls, richly painted with the histories of antient heroes, glit; tered with gold and azure.

Through many a halle, and many a riche toure,
By many a tourne, and many divers waye,

>By many a gree ' ymade of marbyll graye.-
And in his chambre', englosed ' bright and cleare,
That shone ful shene with gold and with asfire,
Of many image that ther was in picture,

He hath commaunded to his offycers,

Only' in honour of them that were straungers,"_
Spyces and wyne '. -- --

The siege of Troy, the grand object of the poem, is not conducted according to the classical art of war. All the military machines, invented and used in the crusades, are assembled to demolish the bulwarks of that city, with the addition of great guns. Among other implements of destruction borrowed from the holy war, the Greek fire, first discovered at Constantinople, with which the Saracens so greatly annoyed the Christian armies, is thrown from the

[ocr errors]

' Gmrr. Degree. Step. Stair. Grains. 3 B. i. c. v. See Colonna. Signat. b. 7 Painted' or r' Englashd' Skelton', ' B. ii. e. xviii. See supr. vol. i. P. '57 Cnowua OPLAWKLLL,p. 24..ed1t. 1736. In Canoffis TROWBOOK; Hawk,s

Wher the postis wcr enbulioned with sa- said to make the fire artificial! as Well as Cacus, &c. ii. 24.

phir's indy blewe Englased glitteringe, &c. Vol. ll. N Nor

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 sort 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, toasiist 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 astronomyr ". 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 highfl 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 filver, 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 FAYRlE, or enchantment 5 and was paved with crystal, built of diamonds, saphires, vand emeralds, and suppOrted by ivory pillars, surmounted with golden images '. This is not, however, in Dares. The warriors who came to the asiistance 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

'Ibid- ' B. ii. C-Z-K i B. ii. c. xi. 'Cap xxvi. pearances

pearances or illusive images, formed by the deceptions of necromancy, to terrify the travellerg. . King Epistrophus brings from the land beyond the Amazons, a thousand knights 3 among which is a terrible archer, half man and half beast, who neigbs like a horse, whose eyes sparkle like a furnace, and strike dead like lighteningh. This is Shakespeare's DREADFUL SAGITTARYI. The Trojan horse, in the genuine spirit of Arabian philosophy, is formed of brassk; 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,
This noble story with many a FRESHE COLOURE
Of rhetorike, and many a RYCHE FLOURE

Of eloquence, to make it sound the bett 1.

Cloathed with these new inventions, this favourite tale descended to later times. Yet it appears, not only with these, but with an infinite variety of other embellishments, not sabricated by the fertile genius of Colonna, but

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« הקודםהמשך »