« PreviousContinue »
And ye that on the sands with printless foot (41)
The charm dissolves apace ;
Whilst from off the waters fleet,
tain The masters of her art. There was the fain To call thein all in order to her aid. St,
Begin to chase the ign'rant fumes, that mantle
In a cowslip's bell I lie,
On the bat's back I do fly
After sun-set (43) merrily;
Alon. Irreparable is the loss; and patience Says, it is pait her cure.
Prof. I rather think You have not fought her help; of whose soft grace, For the like lofs I have her sovereign aid, And rest myself content.
(43) Sun-fet.] The whole of this beautiful fong Thews this to be the true reading; Ariel is speaking of the pleasures which he enjoys from his liberty, the place of his repose for the day, from the heat and fatigue of the fun, when he rests among the blossoms and at the time, when fairies and aërial sprits are and ever have been supposed to enjoy their revels-after sunset he gaily travels about on the back of the bat.
General Observation. Though the Tempejt has much of the novel in it, no one has yet been able to ineet with any such novel as can
be supposed to have furnished S. with materials for wris ting this play : the fable of which must therefore pass entirely for his own production, till the contrary can be made appear by any future discovery. One of the poet's editors, after observing that the persons of the drama are all Italians, and the unities all regularly observed in it (a custom likewise of the Italians,) concludes his note with the mention of two of their playsIl Negromante di L. ARIOSTO, and Il Negromante Palliato di Gio. Angelo PETRUCCI; one or other of which, he seems to think, may have given rise to the Tempest : but he is mistaken in both of them, and the last must needs be out of the question, being later than S's time. Capell.
It is observed of the Tempest, says J., that its plan is regular; and that S. has made it instrumental to the
production of many characters, diversified with boundless invention, and preserved with profound skill in nature, ex-tensive knowledge of opinions, and accurate obfervation of life. In a single drama are here exhibited princes, courtiers, and sailors, all speaking in their real characters. There is the agency of airy spirits, and of an earthly gob-lin: the operations of magic, the tumults of a storm, the adventures of a desart island, the native effusion of un-taught affection, the punishment of guilt, and the final happiness of the pair for whom our passions and reason are equally interested. W. observes that the two plays the Tempest and the Midsummer Night's Dream, are the noblest efforts of that sublime and amazing imagination of S. which soars above the bounds of nature without forsaking sense, or more properly, carries nature along with him beyond her established limits. Fletcher seems particularly to have admired these two plays, and hath wrote two in imi-tation of them, The Sea Voyage and The Faithful Shepherdefs ; but when he presumes to break a lance with S. and write in emulation of him, as he does in The False One, * which is the rival of Anthony and Cleopatra, he is not so successful. After him, Sir John Suckling and Milton catched the brightest fire of their imagination from these two plays; which shines fantastically in The Goblins, but much more nobly and serenely in The Masque at Ludlows Laffle.
The reader will find in the Adventurer, No. 93 and 97, an ingenious criticism on The Tempeft. • A play," says Mrs. Montague, “ which alone will prove our author to have had a fertile, a fublime, and original genius.” See the Spectator, Vol. VI. No. 419.
Music and Love. If
Give me (1) excess of it ; that, surfeiting, The appetite may ficken and so die.
(1) Give me, &c.] i. e, “ Music being the food of love, let me have excess of it, that surfeiting therewith, the appetites which called for that food, may ficken and entirely cease.” The reader will do well to observe the exact and beautiful propriety of the fimile in the last lines, Milton, as Bp. Newton justly observes, undoubtedly took the following fine passage from this of S.
Now gentle gales
Those balmy spoils. Par. Loft, B. 4. v. 156. Though, he tells us, Thyer is of opinion, that Milton rather alluded to the following lines of Ariosto's description of paradise, where speaking of the dolce aura, he says,
E quella à i fiori, à i pomi, e à la verzura,
Orl. Fur. L. 34. f. 57. « The two first of these lines express the air's stealing of the native perfumes, and the two latter, that vernal delight which they give the mind. Besides, it may be further observed, that this expression of the air’s stealing and dispers