Imágenes de páginas

was perpetually catching at its fruit. Homer relates, that many trees of delicious fruit waved over the lake in which Tantalus was placed; but it does not appear from Homer, that Tantalus was fixed in Cocytus, but in some lake peculiarly appropriated to his punishment

Esao? εy AIMNH.

Spenser has also made another use of Cocytus : that the shores of this river eternally resounded with the shrieks of damned ghosts who were doomed to suffer an everlasting immersion in its loathsome waters. Cocytus, says ancient fable indeed, must be passed, before there is any possibility of arriving at the infernal regions: but we are not taught, that it was a punishment allotted to any of the ghosts, to be thus plunged into its waves; nor that this circumstance was the

cause of the ceaseless lamentations which echoed around its banks.

What Spenser has invented, and added to ancient tradition, concerning Cocytus, exhibits a fine image. He feigns, that when Sir Guyon came to this river,

He clomb up to the bank,
And looking downe, saw inany damned wights
In those sad waves; which direfull deadly stanke,
Plunged continually of cruel sprights,
That with their piteous cries, and yelling shrights,
They made the further shore resounden wide.

B. ii. c. xii. s. xlvii.

They in that place him Genius do call :
Not that cælestial powre, to whom the care
Of life and generation over all
That lives, pertaines in charge particular,
Who wondrous thinges concerning our welfare,
And strange phantomes does let us oft foresee.


Therefore a God him sage antiquity
Did wisely make, and good Agdistés call,
But this same was to that quite contrary,
The foe of life, that good envies to all,
That secretly doth us procure to fall
Through guilefull semblaunts which he makes us see.

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

These lines may be farther illustrated, as they are probably drawn from the following passage in Natalis Comes.

“ Dictus est autem Genius, ut placuit latinis, a gignendo, vel quia nobiscum gignatur, vel quia illi procreandorum cura divinitus commissa putaretur. Hic creditur nobis clam nunc suadens, nunc dissuadens, universam vitam nostram gubernare. Nam existimantur Genii Dæmones rerum, quas

voluerint nobis persuadere, spectra et imagines sįbi tanquam in speculo imprimere, quodcunque illis facillimum sit. In quæ spectra cum anima nostra clam respexerit, illa sibi veniunt in mentem, quæ si ratione perpendantur, tum recta fit animi deliberatio: at siquis posthabita ratione, malorum, spectrorum et visorum ductu feratur, ille in multos errores incurrat necesse est, si

spectra fuerint præcipue a malignis dæmonibus oblata*.”

[blocks in formation]

That the first Genius here mentioned was likewise called Agdistes, we learn from the same author."Quem postea Agdistem appellarunt*.

The ceremony of offering flowers and wine to the Genius expressed in these lines

With diverse flowers he daintily was deckt,
And strowed round about, and by his side
A mighty mazer bowle of wine was sett,
As if it had to him been sacrifide.

st. 49.

Is found in Horace

piabant Floribus et vino Genium memorem brevis ævit.

The Genius spoken of in the following stanzas seems to be that which is represented in the Picture of the sophist Cebes.

* 4. 3.

† Epist. 2. b. 2. v. 143.

And double gates it had, which open'd wide,
By which both in and out men moten pass ;
Th' one faire and freshe, the other old and dride:

Old Genius the porter of them was,
Old Genius, the which a double nature has,

3. 6.31.




He letteth in, he letteth out to wend,
All that to come into the world desire :
A thousand thousand naked babes attend
About him day and night, which doe require,
That he with fleshlie weedes would them attire.





presc think



« Οραλε, εφη, τον περίβολον τελον; Ορωμεν. Τα7ο πρωτον δει ειδεναι υμας, ότι καλείται ο τοπG- 87G, ΒΙΟΣ. Και ο όχλΘ- ο πολυς, και παρα την πυλην εφεςως, οι μελλονίες εισπορευεσθαι εις τον βιον, ελοι εισιν. Ο δε ΓΕ. ΡΩΝ, ο ανω εσηκως, εχων χαρτην τινα εν τη χειρι, και τη έφερα ωσπερ δεικνυων τι, 87G- ΔΑΙΜΩΝ καλείται. ΠροσΙαττει δε τοις εισπορευομενοις τι δει αυθες ποιείν, &c.”

-“Cernitis, inquit, septum hoc? Cernimus. Hoc primùm vobis tenendum est, locum hanc appellari vitam ; et magnam multitudinem, quæ portæ assistit, eos esse qui in vitam venturi sunt. Senex is qui superne stat,


from t


« AnteriorContinuar »