網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

The bliss; but not the place. Here could I say
Heav'n's winged messenger did pass the day;
Under this pine the glorious angel staid:
Then, show my wond'ring progeny the shade.
In woods and lawns, where'er thou didst appear,
Each place some monument of thee should bear.
I, with green turfs, would grateful altars raise,
And heav'n, with gums, andoffer'd incense praise.

"Raph. Where'er thou art, He is; th' eternal mind
Acts through all places; is to none confin'd:
Fills ocean, earth, and air, and all above,
And through the universal mass does move.
Thou canst be no where distant: yet this place
Had been thy kingly seat, and here thy race,
From all the ends of peopled earth, had come
To rev'rence thee, and see their native home.
Immortal, then; now sickness, care, and age,
And war, and luxury's more direful rage,
Thy crimes have brought, to shorten mortal breath,
With all the num'rous family of death."

State of Innocence, Act V.

After Milton, the Raphael of Dryden discloses to Adam, the future history of mankind, in a speech, which we quote for its own beauty, as well as for the purpose of introducing a passage of still greater merit.

"Raph. Behold of ev'ry age, ripe manhood see,
Decrepid years, and helpless infancy:
Those -who, by ling'ring sickness, lose their breath;
And those who, by despair, suborn their death:
See yon' mad fools, who, for some trivial right,
For love, or for mistaken honour, fight:
See those, more mad, who throw their lives away
In needless wars; the stakes which monarchs lay,
When for each other's provinces they play,
Then as if earth too narrow were for fate,
On open seas their quarrels they debate;
In hollow wood they floating armies bear;
And force imprison'd winds to bring 'em near.
***********

"Adam. The deaths, thou show'st, are forc'd and full of
strife,
Cast headlong from the precipice of life.
Is there no smooth descent? no painless way
Of kindly mixing with our native day?

"Raph. There is—but rarely shall that path be trod,
Which, without horror, leads to death's abode.
Some few, by temp'ranee taught, approaching slow,
To distant fate by easy journeys go:
Gently they lay 'em down, as ev'ning sheep
On their own woolly fleeces softly sleep.

"Adam. So noiseless would I live, such death to find,
Like timely fruit, not shaken by the wind,
But ripely dropping from the sapless bough,
And, dying, nothing to myself would owe.

"Eve. Thus daily changing, with a duller taste
Of less'ning joys, I, by degrees, would waste:
Still quitting ground, by unperceiv'd decay,
And steal myself from life, and melt away."

The last passage of the play is so eminently lovely that we cannot forbear to add it to the quotations that have been already made, anxious as we are to exhaust the beauties of Dryden's forgotten dramas.

"Eve. Farewell, you happy shades!

Where angels first should practise hymns, and string

Their tuneful harps, when they to heav'n wou'd sing.

Farewell, you flow'rs, whose buds, with early care,

I watch'd, and to the chearful sun did rear:

Who now shall bind your stems { or, when you fall,

With fountain streams your fainting souls recal;

A long farewell to thee, my nuptial bow'r,

Adorn'd with ev'ry fair and fragrant flow'r.

And last, farewell, farewell my place of birth;

I go to wander in the lower earth,

As distant as I can; for, dispossest,

Farthest from what 1 once enjoy'd, is best.

"Raph. The rising winds urge the tempestuous air;'

And on their wings, deformed winter bear;

The beasts already feel the change; aud hence

They fly, to deeper coverts, for defence:

The feebler herd before the stronger run;

For now the war of nature is begun:

But, part you hence in peace, and having mourn'd your sin,

For outward Eden lost, find Paradise within."

"Aurengzebe" is another rhyming play, and is disfigured with as much rant and unmeaning bombast as any; nor does it contain so many of those gems, whose sparkling delights the eye of the weary passenger.—It nevertheless has its fine passages.

In the first page there appears the description of the hostile armies, which concludes with an image of great beauty.

"Four several armies to the field are led,
Which, high in equal hopes, four princes head:
Indus and Ganges, our wide Empire's hounds,
Swell their dy'd currents with their natives' wounds:
Each purple river winding, as he runs,
His bloody arms about his slaughter'd sons."

There are some other short extracts of great merit, whether for the imagery or the melody, which we will make in this place.

"Unmov'd she stood, and deaf to all my prayers,

As seas and winds to sinking mariners.

But seas grow calm, and winds are reconcil'd:

Her tyrant beauty never grows more mild.

"Aur. But here she comes!
'In the calm harbour of whose gentle breast,
My tempest-beaten soul may safely rest.
Oh, my heart's joy! whateer my sorrows be
They cease and vanish, in beholding thee!
Cares shun thy walks; as at the cheerful light,
The groaning ghosts, and birds obscene take flight.
*********

"Ind. Love is an airy good, opinion makes:
Which he who only thinks he has, partakes.
Seen by a strong imagination's beam,
That tricks and dresses up the gaudy dream.'

Presented so, with rapture 'tis enjoy'd
Rais'd by high fancy, and by low destroy'd.''
*********

"Aur. Speak, madam; by (if that be yet an oath)
Your love, I'm pleas'd we should be ruin'd both.
Both is a sound of joy;

In death's dark bow'rs our bridals we will keep,
And his cold hand
Shall draw the curtain when we go to sleep."

"Thou know'st, my heart, my empire, all is thine:

In thy own heav'n of love serenely shine;

Fair as the face of nature did appear,

When flow'rs first peep'd, and trees did blossoms bear,

And winter had not yet deform'd th' inverted year.

Calm as the breath which fans our eastern groves,
And bright as when thy eyes first lighted up our loves.
Let our eternal peace be seal'd by this,
With the first ardour of a nuptial kiss"

"My virtue, like a string, wound up by art,

To the same sound, when yours was touch'd, took part,

At distance shook, and trembled at my heart."

"I hate to be pursu'd from place to place;

Meet, at each turn, a stale domestic face.

Th' approach of jealousy love cannot bear,

He's wild, and soon on wing, if watchful eyes come near.''

"Fortune long frown'd, and has but lately smil'd;

I doubt a foe so newly reconcil'd.

You saw but sorrow in its waning form,

A working sea remaining from a storm;

When the now weary waves roll o'er the deep,

And faintly murmur ere they fall asleep."

Act IV. Sc. I.

The "Rhodomontades of Almanzor" are spread over nearly half a closely-printed volume. The first and second parts of the " Conquest of Granada," in which they are to be found, are an elevated flat,—a plain, whose barren soil is burnt up by a fierce sun, and unfertilized by refreshing showers. They form together one enormous rant, which rarely sinks into tame propriety, or poetic truth. Some passages however there are, well worthy of a place in a work like the present.

The description of the bull fight for instance, has a force and dignity not unbecoming the epic muse.

"Aben. But what the stranger did was more than man.

"Abdelm. He finish'd all those triumphs we began.
One bull, with curl'd black head beyond the rest,
And dew-laps hanging from his brawny chest,
With nodding front awhile did daring stand,
And with his jetty hoof spurn'd back the sand:
Then, leaping forth, he bellow'd out aloud:
Th' amaz'd assistants back each other crowd,
While monarch-like he rang'd the listed field;
Some toss'd, some gor'd, some trampling down he kill'd.
Th' ignobler Moors from far his rage provoke
With woods of darts, which from his sides he shook.
Meantime your valiant Son, who had before
Gain'd fame, rode round to ev'ry mirador;

Beneath each lady's stand a stop he made,
And, bowing, took th' applauses which they paid.
Just in that point of time the brave unknown
Approach'd the lists.

"Boab. I mark'd him, when alone

(Observ'd by all, himself observing none)
He enter'd first; and with a graceful pride
His fiery Arab dext'rously did guide:
Who, while his rider ev'ry stand survey'd,
Sprung loose, and flew into an escapade:
Not moving forward, yet, with ev'ry bound
Pressing, and seeming still to quit his ground,

What after pass'd

Was far from the Ventanna where I sate,
But you were near, and can the truth relate."

[To Abdelm.

"Abdelm. Thus while he stood, the bull, who saw his foe, His easier conquests proudly did forego; And, making at him, with a furious bound, From his bent forehead aim'd a double wound. A rising murmur ran though all the field, And ev'ry lady's blood with fear was chill'd: Some shriek'd, while others, with more helpful care, Cry'd out aloud, beware, brave youth, beware! At this he turn'd, and as the bull drew near, Shunn'd, and receiv'd him on his pointed spear. The lance broke short, the beast then bellow'd loud, And his strong neck to a new onset bow'd.

Th' undaunted youth

Then drew; and from his saddle bending low,
Just where the neck did to the shoulders grow,
With his full force discharg'd a deadly blow.
Not heads of poppies (when they reap the grain)
Fall with more ease before the lab'ring swain,

Than fell this head;

It fell so quick, it did even death prevent;

And made imperfect bellowings as it went.

Then all the trumpets victory did sound;

And yet their clangors in our shouts were drown'd."

The character of Almanzor is spirited.

"Vast is his courage, boundless is his mind,
Rough as a storm, and humorous as wind;
Honour's the only idol of his eyes;
The charms of beauty like a pest he flies;

« 上一頁繼續 »