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50 G1 LES FLETCHER.

instance of plagiarism, and serves to show us how little
ceremony the poets of that day laboured under in pil-
fering from each other. If Giles Fletcher had been
living, he would probably have thought the critics of
this day laboured under very little ceremony in accus-
ing the “poets of that day” of thefts, without sufficiently
examining their extent. From the following portion of
the 33rd stanza of the Faerie Queen, Fletcher borrowed,
it will be seen, two lines:

Ere long they came where that same wicked wight,

His dwelling has in a low hollow cave.
* + + - * :-

Dark, doleful, dreary, like a greedy grave,
That still for carrion carcases doth crave.

The other plagiarism is found in the dress of despair; but the value of the “ragged clouts,” and the thorns that fastened them, is very small, and forms no material feature of the picture. Spenser partly borrowed his own description from Sackville. Fletcher, who was a most diligent student of the works of Spenser, had his great prototype continually before his eyes, and his sweet words floating in his ears. In reading the description of the Cave of Dispair, I have been reminded of one or two passages in the Faerie Queen ; in the second book, where Mammon conducts Guyon to see his treasure, we find “sad Celeno sitting on a clifte.”

Into this cave “the serpent woo'd him with his charms” to enter, but without success. Our Lord is next transported to

The sacred pinnacles that threat
With their aspiring tops Astraca's starry seat. ^.

Here was spread the pavilion of Presumption. This allegory is in the style of Spenser; but Milton, by keep

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to the scriptural account, has produced a sublimer effect. The “specular mount,” from whence are beheld all the cities and empires of the East, Niniveh and Babylon, and Ecbatana, and the city of the Hundred Gates, is a magnificent picture. when Presumption has in vain endeavoured to tempt the Saviour to throw himself from the mountain, in * and despair, “ herself she tumbled head-long to the floor," while a choir of angels receives our Lord, and bears him to an “airy mountain.” Suddenly an ** chanted garden springs up in that cold solitude,

ing closer

As if the snow had melted into flowers.

The following stanza might have flowed from the
“golden mouth” of Milton.
Not lovely Ida might with this compare,
Though many streams his banks besilvered,
Though Zanthus with his golden sands he bare,
Nor Hybla, though his thyme depastured,
As fast again with honey blossomed,
Nor Rhodope's nor Tempe's flowery plain,
Adonis' garden was to this but vain,
Though Plato on his beds a flood of praise doth rain.

The aspect of the garden is described in a line breathing the glowing beauty of oriental poetry;

The garden like a ladie fair was cut,
That lay as if she slumbered in delight.

Upon a “hilly bank" was built “the bower of VainDelight," and through this false Eden, the “first destroyer," led our Saviour. Throughout this canto, Fletcher evidently had the pictures of Spenser before his eyes; the fount of silver, the “plump Lyaeus," and

the shadows of the “drunken elms,” all whisper of the

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great author of the Faerie Queen. But if Fletcher borrowed from Spenser, he in turn has been imitated by Milton. We are reminded of the

Table richly spread, in regal mode,-(Par. Iteg. b. 2.)

which Satan caused to rise up in the desert before Jesus, with the attending Naiades bearing “fruits and

flowers from Amalthea's horn," and the fair “ladies of

the Hesperides." Milton does not, indeed, like Fletcher,
employ them as objects of temptation, an assumption
not sanctioned by the Evangelists; but (as Bishop
Newton has remarked) with greater propriety makes
them the subject of debate among the wicked spirits
themselves. The hand of Milton, at least in a sacred
theme, was always guided by a religious fear and awe.
The song put into the mouth of the Sorceress by
Fletcher, is an excellent specimen, the only one extant,
of his lyrical talents; and probably furnished Herrick
with a hint for his beautiful little poem—Gather ye
Rosebuds.
The third book is entitled Christ's Triumph over Death,
and commemorates the crucifixion of our Lord. ... I have
already alluded to Fletcher's want of art in the compo-
sition of his poem, and of order in the narrative. The
third book is particularly open to this objection : some
parts are, however, very sublime. The traitor Judas,
suffering under the horrors of an accusing conscience, is
worthy the pencil of Michael Angelo.

When wild Pentheus, grown mad with fear,
Whole troops of hellish hags about him spies, ,
Two bloody sums stalking the dusky sphere,
And two-fold Thebes runs rolling in his eyes;
Or through the scene staring Orestes flies,

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With eyes flung back upon his mother's ghost,
That with infernal serpents all imbost,
And torches quench'd with blood, doth her stern son accost.
-

+ * - -
Yet oft he snatched, and started as he hung-
So when the senses half enslumbered lie,
The headlong body ready to be flung
By the deluding fancy from some high
And craggy rock, recovers greedily,

And clasps the yielding pillow half asleep,

And as from heaven it tumbled to the deep,
Feels a cold sweat through every member creep.

Euripides might have written these stanzas in the season of his solemn inspiration. In the “staring Orestes,” we seem to behold the wretched mourner burst from the enfolding arms of the weeping Electra, and fleeing in horror from the furies surrounding his couch". The poet describes Joseph of Arimathea at the cross. The still grief of the humble and affectionate mourner is very affecting. But long he stood in his faint arms upholding The fairest spoil heaven ever forfeited, With such a silent passion grief unfolding, That had the sheet but on himself been spread, He for the corse might have been buried. The departure of Joseph and his companions from the sepulchre is in the same spirit. Thus spend we tears, that never can be spent On him that sorrow now no more shall see.

- - * - -
Here bury we
This heavenly earth; here let it softly sleep,
The fairest Shepherd of the fairest sheep.

So all the body kist, and homewards went to weep. In the fourth canto, Christ's Triumph after Death,

* Tag a'awara rows sa, *****valus sepas–Euripid. Orest. 1.250.

Fletcher dwells upon the resurrection of our Saviour,
his ascension to his throne in heaven, and the everlast-
ing happiness prepared for the good and virtuous in the
kingdom of Paradise.
# The following stanza is not, so far as the knowledge
of the writer of this notice extends, surpassed in the
whole range of our poetry: every word is full of beauti-
ful meaning.
No sorrow now hangs clouding on their brow,
No bloodless malady empales their face,
No age drops on their hairs his silver snow,
No nakedness their bodies doth embase,
No poverty themselves and theirs disgrace;
No fear of death the joy of life devours,
No unchaste sleep their precious time deflow'rs,
No loss, no grief, no change, wait on their winged hours.
And the next is little inferior: the picture of the
cloud has exceeding delicacy of fancy; it is like a sketch
from the pencil of Claude.

And if a sullen cloud, as sad as night,
In which the sun may seem embodied,
Depriv'd of all his dross, we see so white,
Burning in melting gold his watry head,
Or round with ivory edges silvered;
What lustre superexcellent will He
Lighten on those that shall his sunshine see,
In that all glorious court, in which all glories be?
The impersonation of the Deity is in the true spirit of
Hebrew poetry, or rather, perhaps, in the conclusion at
least of that beautiful mysticism of which Taylor, in his
majestic prose, has furnished such splendid examples:-
In midst of this city celestial, *
Where the eternal Temple should have rose,
lightened the Idea Beatifical:
End and Beginning of each thing that grows,
Whose self, no end nor yet beginning knows;

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