« AnteriorContinuar »
every country under the sun, and the single feeling of love and admiration that she has breathed alike into all, consecrate her mere presence as a place f6r revery and speculation."
6. In speaking of the Apollo, the same writer thus expresses his admiration: — " No cast gives you any idea worth having of the Apollo Belvidere. It is a godlike model of -a man. The lightness and the elegance of the limbs; the free, fiery, confident energy of the attitude; the breathing, indignant nostril and lips; the whole statue's mingled and equal grace and power, — are, with all its truth to nature, beyond any conception I had formed of manly beauty.
7. "It spoils one's eye, for common men, to look at it. It stands there like a descended angel, with a spleedor of form and an air of power that makes one feel what he should have been, and mortifies him for what he is. Most women whom I have met in Europe adore the Apollo as far the finest statue in the world, and most men say as much of the Medicean Venus.
8. "But, to my eye, the Venus, lovely as she is, compares with the Apollo as a mortal with an angel of light. The latter is incomparably the finest statue. If it were only for its face, it would transcend the other infinitely. The beauty of the Venus is only in the limbs and body. It is a faultless, and, withal, modest representation of the beauty of a woman. The Apollo is all this, and has a soul.
9. "I have seen women that approached the Venus in form, and had finer faces; — I never saw a man that was a shadow of the Apollo in ehher. It stands, as it should, in a room by itself, and is thronged at all hours by admirers. They never tire of gazing at it; and I should believe, from the openmouthed wonder of those whom I met at its pedestal, that the story of the girl who pined and died for love of it was neither improbable nor singular."
Adam and Eve. — Milton.
1. Two of far nobler shape, erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native honor clad,
In naked majesty seemed lords of all,
And worthy seemed; for in their looks divine
The image of their glorious Maker shone,
Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure
(Severe, but in true filial freedom placed),
Whence true authority in men; though both
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed;
For contemplation he and valor formed,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.
2. His fair large front and eye sublime declared Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forelock manly hung
Clustering, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil, down to the slender waist
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Disheveled, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils, which implies
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received,
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride.
* * * * # *
3. So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair That ever since in love's embraces met;
Adam, the goodliest man of men since born
His sons; the fairest of her daughters, Eve.
Under a tuft of shade, that on a green
Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain side,
They sat them down: and, after no more toil
Of their sweet gardening labor than sufficed
To recommend cool Zephyr,* and make ease
More easy, wholesome thirst and appetite
More grateful, to their supper fruits they fell, —
Nectarine fruits which the compliant boughs
Yielded them, sidelong as they sat recline
On the soft downy bank, damasked with flowers:
4. The savory pulp they chew, and in the rind
Still as they thirsted scoop the brimming stream;
Nor gentle purpose nor endearing smiles
Wanted, nor youthful dalliance, as beseems
Fair couple, linked in happy nuptial league,
Alone as they.
5. About them frisking played - v
All beasts of the earth, since wild, and of all chase,
In wood or wilderness, forest or den:
* Zephyr is properly the west wind, but it is used poetically for any mild, soil, gentle hreeze.
Sporting the lion ramped, and in his paw
Dandled the kid; bears, tigers, ounces,* pards.t
Gamboled before them; the unwieldy elephant,
To make them mirth, used all his might, and wreathed
His lithe t proboscis. § * * * *
6. Close the serpent sly
Insinuating, wove with Gordian twine
His braided train, and of his fatal guile
Gave proof unheeded; others on the grass
Couched, and now filled with pasture-gazing sat,
Or bedward ruminating; for the sun
Declined was hasting now with prone career
To the ocean isles, and in the ascending scale
Of heaven the stars that usher evening rose.
The same subject, concluded.
1. Now came still evening on, and twilight gray Had in her sober livery all things clad:
Silence accompanied; for beast, and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk; all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, II that led
The starry host, rode brightest; till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length,
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.
2. When Adam thus to Eve: "Fair consort! the hour Of night, and all things now retired to rest,
Mind us of like-repose; since God hath set
Labor and rest, as day and night, to men
* The ounce is an animal like the leopard, but smaller, being about three feet and a half long, and generally of a cream color. It is not so fierce as the leopard.
t The ,pari is a spotted animal. The leopard — that is, leo-pard — Is he spotted lion, frequently called in poetry simply the pard.
t Flexible. § The part called the trunk of the elephant.
|| Hesperus, the west or western star, — that is, Venus.
Sucessive; and the timely dew of sleep,
Now falling with soft slumbrous weight, inclines
3. "Other creatures all day long
Rove idle, unemployed, and less need rest:
Man hath his daily work of body, or mind,
Appointed, which declares his dignity,
And the regard of Heaven on all his ways:
While other animals unactive range,
And of their doings God takes no account.
4. "To-morrow, ere fresh morning streak the east With first approach of light, we must be risen,
And at our pleasant labor, to reform
Yon flowery arbors; yonder alleys green,
Our walk at noon, with branches overgrown,
That mock our scant manuring, and require
More hands than ours to lop their wanton growth;
Those blossoms also, and those dropping gums,
That lie bestrown, unsightly and unsmooth,
Ask riddance, if we mean to tread with ease:
Meanwhile, as nature wills, night bids us rest."
5. To whom thus Eve, with perfect beauty adorned "My author, and disposer! What thou bid'st Unargued I obey; so God ordains:
God is thy law, thou mine; to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons and their change, all please alike.
6. "Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet, With charm of earliest birds: pleasant the sun, When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit and flower,
Glist'ring with dew; fragrant the fertile earth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,
With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of heaven, her starry train.
■ 7. "But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glist'ring with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon^
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.
But wherefore all night long shine these? For whom This glorious sight, when sleep hath shut all eyes?"
8. To whom our general ancestor replied:
"Daughter of God and man, accomplished Eve,
These'have their course to finish round the earth
By morrow evening, and from land to land
In order, though to nations yet unborn,
Ministering light prepared, they set and rise;
Lest total darkness should by night regain
Her old possession,, and extinguish life
In nature and all things, which these soft fires
Not only enlighten, but with kindly heat
Of various influence foment and warm,
Temper or nourish, or in part shed down
Their stellar virtue on all kinds that grow
On earth, made hereby apter to receive
Perfection from the sun's more potent ray.
9. "These, then, though unbeheld in deep of night,
Shine not in vain; nor think, though men were none,
That heaven would want spectators, God want praise.
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake and when we sleep:
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold,
Both day and night.
10. "How often, from the steep
Of echoing hill, or thicket, have we heard
Celestial voices, to the midnight air,
Sole, or responsive each to other's note,
Singing the great Creator? oft in bands
While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds,
In full harmonic number joined, their songs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven."
11. Thus talking, hand in hand alone they passed On to their blissful bower; it was a place
Chosen by the sovereign Planter, when he framed
All things to man's delightful use: the roof,
Of thickest covert, was inwoven shade,
Laurel and myrtle; and what higher grew,
Of firm and fragrant leaf.
#*#*## Other creature here,
B«ast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none;
Such was their awe of man! In shadier bower