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ARCHIMAGO'S HERMITAGE,

AND

THE HOUSE OF MORPHEUS.

Archimago, a hypocritical magician, lures Una and the Red-cross Knigh

into his abode; and while they are asleep, sends to Morpheus, the god o sleep, for a false dream, to produce discord between them.

A little lowly hermitage it was
Down in a dale, hard by a forests side,
Far from resort of people, that did pass
In travel to and fro: a little wide
There was a holy chapel edified,
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say
His holy things each morn and eventide;

Thereby a crystal stream did gently play
Which from a sacred fountain wellèd forth alway.1

Arrived there the little house they fill,2
Nor look for entertainment where none was, 8
Rest is their feast, and all things at their will.
The noblest mind the best contentment has.4
With fair discourse the evening so they pass,
For that old man of pleasing words had store,
And well could file his tongue as smooth as glass :

He told of saints and popes, and evermore
He strew'd an Ave Mary, after and before.

The drooping night thus creepeth on them fast;
And the sad humor, loading their eye-lids,
As messenger of Morpheus, on them cast
Sweet slumbering dew; the which to sleep them bids
Unto their lodgings then his guests he rids;
Where, when all drown'd in deadly sleep he finds,
He to his study goes, and their amids'
His magic books and arts of sundry kinds,
He seeks out mighty charms to trouble sleepy minds.

Then choosing out few words most horrible (Let none them read!)5 thereof did verses frame, With which, and other spells like terrible, He bad awake black Pluto's grisly dame, And cursèd Heaven; and spake reproachful shame Of highest God, the Lord of life and light: A bold bad man, that dar'd to call by name Great Gorgon,6 prince of darkness and dead night; At which Cocytus quakes, and Styx is put to flight.

And forth he call'd out of deep darkness dread
Legions of sprites, the which, like little fies,?
Fluttering about his ever damned head,
Await where to their service he applies,
To aid his friends, or fray his enemies;
Of those he chose out two, the falsest two
And fittest for to forge true-seeming lies;

The one of them he gave a message to,
The other by himself staid other work to do

He maketh speedy way through spersèd air,
And through the world of waters wide and deep,8
To Morpheus' house doth hastily repair.-9
Amid the bowels of the earth full steep,
And low, where dawning day doth never peep,
His dwelling is ; there Tethys his wet bed
Doth ever wash, and Cynthia still doth steep

In silver dew his ever-drooping head,
While sad night over him her mantle black doth spread

Whose double gates he findeth locked fast;
The one fair fram’d of burnish'd ivory,
The other all with silver overcast;
And wakeful dogs before them far do lie,
Watching to banish Care their enemy,
Who oft is wont to trouble gentle Sleep,
By them the sprite doch pass in quietly

And unto Morpheus comes, whom drowned deep
In drowsy fit he finds; of nothing he takes keep.

And more to lull him in his slumber soft,
A trickling stream, from high rock tumbling down,
And ever drizzling rain upon the loft,
Mix'd with a murmuring wind, much like the soun
Of swarming bees, did cast him in a swoun :

No other noise, nor people's troublous cries,
As still are wont ť annoy the wallèd town,
Might there be heard ; but careless Quiet lies,
Wrapt in eternal silence, far from enemies.10

The messenger approaching to him spake
But his waste words return’d to him in vain
So sound he slept, that naught might him awake.
Then rudely he him thrust, and push'd with pain,
Whereat he 'gan to stretch : but he again
Shook him so hard, that forced him to speak
As one then in a dream, whose drier brain
Is tost with troubled sights and fancies weak,
He mumbled soft, but would not all his silence break.

The sprite then 'gan more boldly him to wake,
And threaten'd unto him the dreaded name
Of Hecaté: whereat he'gan to quake,
And lifting up his lumpish head, with blame
Half angry asked him, for what he came.
“ Hither,” quoth he, “me Archimago sent:
He that the stubborn sprites can wisely tame;

He bids thee to him send for his intent
A fit false dream, that can delude the sleeper's sent.”

The god obeyed; and calling forth straightway
A divers dream 12 out of his prison dark,
Deliver'd it to him, and down did lay
His heavy head, devoid of careful cark;
Whose senses all were straight benumb’d and stark.
He, back returning by the ivory door,
Remounted up as light as cheerful lark;

And on his little wings the dream he bore
In haste unto his lord, where he him left afore.

i Wellèd forth alway.

The modulation of this charming stanza is exquisite. Let us divide it into its pauses, and see what we have been hear. ing :

A little lowly hermitage it was
Down in a dale, | hard by a forest's side, I
Far from resort of people that did pass
In travel to and fro: 1 a little wide |

There was a holy chapel edified,
Wherein the hermit duly wont to say
His holy things each morn and eventide ;

Thereby a crystal stream did gently play
Which from a sacred fountain wellèd forth alway.

Mark the variety of pauses, of the accentuation of the sylla. bles and of the intonation of the vowels; all closing in that exquisite last line, as soft and continuous as the water it describes. The repetition of the words little and holy add to the sacred snugness of the abode. We are to fancy the little tenement on the skirts of a forest, that is to say, within, but not deeply within, the trees; the chapel is near it, but not close to it, more embowered; and the rivulet may be supposed to circuit both chapel and hermitage, running partly under the trees between mossy and flowery banks, for hermits were great cullers of simples; and though Archimago was a false hermit, we are to suppose him living in a true hermitage. It is one of those pictures which remain for ever in the memory ; and the succeeding stanza is worthy of it.

2 Arrived there the little house they fill.

Not literally the house, but the apartment as a specimen of the house ; for we see by what follows that the hermitage must have contained at least four rooms; one in which the knight and the lady were introduced, two more for their bed-chambers, and a fourth for the magician's study.

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3 Nor look for entertainment where none was.

“ Entertainment” is here used in the restricted sense of treat. ment as regards food and accommodation ; according to the old inscription over inn-doors—" Entertainment for man and horse.

4 The noblest mind the best contentment has.

This is one of Spenser's many noble sentiments expressed in as noble single lines, as if made to be recorded in the copy-books of full-grown memories. As, for example, one which he is fond of repeating :

No service loathsome to a gentle kind.
Entire affection scorneth nicer hands.
True love loathes disdainful nicety.

And that fine Alexandrine,

Weak body well is chang’d for mind's redoubled force.

And another, which Milton has imitated in Comus

Virtue gives herself light in darkness for to wade. 5“ Let none them read.— As if we could! And yet while we smile at the impossibility, we delight in this solemn injunction of the Poet's, so child-like, and full of the imaginative sense of the truth of what he is saying.

6 A bold bad man that dared to call by name
Great Gorgon.

This is the ineffable personage, whom Milton, with a propriety equally classical and poetical, designates as

The dreaded name
Of Demogorgon.

Par. Lost, Book ii., v. 965.

Ancient believers apprehended such dreadful consequences from the mention of him, that his worst and most potent invokers are represented as fearful of it; nor am I aware that any poet, Greek or Latin, has done it, though learned commentators on Spenser imply otherwise. In the passages they allude to, in Lucan and Statius, there is no name uttered. The adjuration is always made by a periphrasis. This circumstance is noticed by Boccaccio, who has given by far the best, and indeed, I be. lieve, the only account of this very rare god, except what is abridged from his pages in a modern Italian mythology, and fur. nished by his own authorities, Lactantius and Theodontus, the latter an author now lost. Ben Jonson calls him “Boccaccio's Demogorgon.” The passage is in the first book of his Genea

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