Page images
PDF
EPUB

COLLECTANEA ANGLO-POETICA.

VOL. II. PART II.

STANFORD LIBRARY

HAPMAN, (GEORGE.) Exia VUKтÒS. The Shadow
Σκὶα νυκτὸς.
of Night: Containing Two Poeticall Hymnes. De-
uised by G. C. Gent.

Versus mei habebunt aliquantum Noctis.

Antilo.

At London, Printed by R. F. for William Ponsonby. 1594. 4to, pp. 40.

[ocr errors]

This is one of the earliest known of the original works of George Chapman, who appears to have settled in London soon after he left the University of Oxford in 1575, and to have commenced as a writer no long time after, nothing being known of his way of life or profession, - but he probably had been engaged for some time upon his Homer, as his translation of seven books of the Iliad appeared in 1596, only two years later. It is dedicated, in prose, "To his deare and most worthy Friend, Master Mathew Roydon." In this Epistle Dedicatory he thus introduces some celebrated men of that period: "But I stay this spleene when I remember, my good Mat. how ioyfully oftentimes you reported vnto me that most ingenious Darbie, deepe searching Northumberland, and skill-imbracing heire of Hunsdon had most profitably entertained learning in theselues, to the vitall warmth of freezing science, and to the admirable luster of their true Nobilitie, whose high deseruing vertues may cause me hereafter strike that fire out of darknesse, which the brightest Day shall enuie for beautie." It is not only one of the rarest, but one of the ablest and best written of

VOL. II. PART II.

PP

Chapman's productions. The following short passage, taken from the first hymn may be quoted as a sample of the general style of the poem :

LORD TIBBYBA

And as when hosts of starres attend thy flight
(Day of deepe students, most contentfull night)
The morning (mounted on the Muses stead)
Vshers the sonne from Vulcans golden bed,
And then, from forth their sundrie roofes of rest,
All sorts of men, to sorted taskes addrest,
Spreade this inferiour element: and yeald
Labour his due: - the souldier to the field,
States-men to counsell, Iudges to their pleas,
Merchants to commerce, mariners to seas:

All beasts, and birds, the groues and forests range To fill all corners of this round Exchange,

Till thou (deare Night, ô goddesse of most worth)
Let'st thy sweet seas of golden humor forth

And Eagle-like dost with thy starrie wings
Beate in the foules, and beasts to Somnus lodgings,
And haughtie Day to the infernall deepe,
Proclaiming silence, studie, ease, and sleepe.
All things before thy forces put in rout,
Retiring where the morning fir'd them out.

The opening of the second hymn to Cynthia is written in Chapman's best style, and deservedly merits a quotation:

Nature's bright eye-sight, and the Nights faire soule,
That with thy triple forehead dost controule
Earth, seas, and hell: and art in dignitie
The greatest, and swiftest Planet in the skie:
Peacefull, and warlike, and the powre of fate,
In perfect circle of whose sacred state
The circles of our hopes are compassed:
All wisedome, beautie, maiestie and dread
Wrought in the speaking pourtrait of thy face.
Great Cynthia, rise out of thy Latmian pallace,
Wash thy bright bodie, in th' Atlanticke streames,
Put on those robes that are most rich in beames:
And in thy all-ill-purging puritie,
(As if the shadie Cytheron did frie
In sightfull furie of a solemne fire)
Ascend thy chariot, and make earth admire
Thy old swift changes, made a yong fixt prime,

« PreviousContinue »