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Character, Young and Innocent but Conscious and Sensuous
Beauty; Painter, Correggio.

Behold how goodly my fair love does lie
In proud humility!

Like unto Maia, when as Jove her took

In Tempè, lying on the flowery grass,
'Twixt sleep and wake, after she weary was
With bathing in the Acidalian brook.



Character, Dreariness of Scene; Horridness of Aspect and Wicked
Beauty, side by side; Painter, Julio Romano.

Then to her iron waggon she betakes

And with her bears the foul well-favoured witch:
Through mirksome air her ready way she makes,
Her twofold team (of which two black as pitch
And two were brown, yet each to each unlich*)
Did softly swim away, nor ever stamp

Unless she chanc'd their stubborn mouths to twitch;
Then, foaming tar, their bridles they would champ,
And trampling the fine element would fiercely ramp.

So well they sped, that they be come at length
Unto the place whereas the Paynim lay

*"Each to each unlich." Unlike.

Devoid of outward sense and native strength,
Cover'd with charmed cloud from view of day
And sight of men, since his late luckless fray.
His cruel wounds, with cruddy blood congeal'd,
They binden up so wisely as they may,

And handle softly, till they can be heal'd,
So lay him in her chariot, close in night conceal'd.

And all the while she stood upon the ground,
The wakeful dogs did never cease to bay;
As giving warning of the unwonted sound,
With which her iron wheels did they affray,
And her dark griesly look them much dismay.
The messenger of death, the ghastly owl,
With dreary shrieks did also her bewray;
And hungry wolves continually did howl
At her abhorred face, so filthy and so foul.30

Then turning back in silence soft they stole,
And brought the heavy corse with easy pace
To yawning gulf of deep Avernus hole.
By that same hole, an entrance, dark and base,
With smoke and sulphur hiding all the place,
Descends to hell: there creature never pass'd
That back returned without heavenly grace;

But dreadful furies which their chains have brast, And damned sprites sent forth, to make ill men aghast.


By that same way the direful dames do drive
Their mournful chariot fill'd with rusty blood,31
And down to Pluto's house are come belive :
Which passing through, on every side them stood
The trembling ghosts with sad amazèd mood,
Chattering their iron teeth, and staring wide
With stony eyes; and all the hellish brood
Of fiends infernal flock'd on every side,

To gaze on earthly wight, that with the night durst ride.

30" So filthy and so foul."-Why he should say this of Night, except perhaps in connection with the witch, I cannot say. It seems to me to hurt the "abhorred face." Night, it is true, may be reviled, or made grand or lovely, as a poet pleases. There is both classical and poetical warrant for all. But the goddess with whom the witch dared to ride (as the poet finely says at the close) should have been exhibited, it would seem, in a more awful, however frightful guise.

31" Their mournful chariot fill'd with rusty blood.”—There is something wonderfully dreary, strange and terrible, in this picture. By "rusty blood" (which is very horrid) he must mean the blood half congealing; altered in patches, like rusty iron. Be this as it may, the word "rusty," as Warton observes, seems to have conveyed the idea of somewhat very loathsome and horrible to our author."



Character, Contrast of Impassioned and Unimpassioned BeautyCold and Warm colours mixed; Painter, Titian.

(Yet I know not whether Annibal Caracci would not better suit the demand for personal expression in this instance. But the recollection of Titian's famous Bath of Diana is forced upon us.)

Shortly unto the wasteful woods she came,
Whereas she found the goddess with her crew,
After late chace of their embrewèd game,
Sitting beside a fountain in a rew;

Some of them washing with the liquid dew
From off their dainty limbs the dusty sweat
And soil, which did defile their lively hue;
Others lay shaded from the scorching heat;
The rest upon her person gave attendance great.
She having hung upon a bough on high
Her bow and painted quiver, had unlac'd
Her silver buskins from her nimble thigh,
And her lank loins ungirt and breasts unbrac'd,
After her heat the breathing cold to taste;
Her golden locks, that late in tresses bright
Embraided were for hindering of her haste,
Now loose about her shoulders lay undight,
And were with sweet ambrosia all besprinkled light.

Soon as she Venus saw behind her back,

She was asham'd to be so loose surpris'd,

And wak'd half wrath against her damsels slack,
That had not her thereof before aviz'd,
But suffer'd her so carelessly disguiz'd


Be overtaken: soon her garments loose
Upgathering in her bosom she compriz'd,
Well as she might, and to the goddess rose,

Whiles all her nymphs did like a garland her inclose.

32" Soon as her garments loose," &c.—This picture is from Ovid; but the lovely and beautifully coloured comparison of the garland is Spenser's own.


Character, Budding Beauty in male and female; Animal Passion ; Luminous Vernal colouring; Painter, Titian.

Then came fair May, the fairest maid on ground,33
Deck'd all with dainties of her season's pride,
And throwing flowers out of her lap around:
Upon two brethren's shoulders she did ride,
The Twins of Leda; which, on either side,
Supported her like to their sovereign queen.
Lord! how all creatures laugh'd when her they spied,
And leap'd and danc'd as they had ravish'd been ;
And Cupid's self about her flùttěrěd all in green.

33 “Then came,” &c.-Raphael would have delighted (but Titian's colours would be required) in the lovely and liberal uniformity of this picture,-the young goddess May supported aloft; the two brethren on each side; animals and flowers below; birds in the air, and Cupid streaming overhead in his green mantle. Imagine the little fellow, with a body of Titian's carnation, tumbling in the air, and playfully holding the mantle, which is flying amply behind, rather than concealing him.

This charming stanza beats the elegant but more formal invocation to May by Milton, who evidently had it in his recollection. Indeed the latter is almost a compilation from various poets. It is, however, too beautiful to be omitted here.


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