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Whilst on his hoary beard his breath did freeze,
And the dull drops, that from his purpled bill
As from a limbeck did adown distill:

In his right hand a tipped staff he held,
With which his feeble steps he stayed still;

For he was faint with cold, and weak with eld;

That scarce his loosed limbs he able was to weld.-SPENSER.

Winter sets the poetical observer to his natural descriptions:-
It was frosty winter season,

And fair Flora's wealth was geason *.
Meads that erst with green were spread,
With choice flowers diap'red,

Had tawny veils; cold had scanted
What the spring and nature planted.
Leafless boughs there might you see,
All, except fair Daphne's tree :
On their twigs no birds perch'd,
Warmer coverts now they search'd;
And, by nature's surest reason,
Framed their voices to the season;
With their feeble tunes bewraying
How they grieved the spring's decaying
Frosty winter thus had gloom'd
Each fair thing that summer bloom'd;
Fields were bare, and trees unclad,
Flow'rs wither'd, birds were sad:
When I saw a shepherd fold
Sheep in cote to shun the cold;
Himself sitting on the grass,
That with frost wither'd was,

Sighing deeply, thus 'gan say,

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The wrathful winter, hast'ning on apace,

With blust'ring blasts had all ybar'd the treen;

And old Saturnus, with his frosty face,

Geason, rare, uncommon.


With chilling cold had pierced the tender green;
The mantle's rent, wherein enwrapped been

The gladsome groves that now lay overthrown,
The tapets torn, and every tree down blown.
The soil that erst so seemly was to seen,

Was all despoiled of her beauties' hue;

And soot fresh flowers (wherewith the summer's Queen
Had clad the earth) now Boreas' blasts down blew.
And small fowls flocking, in their song did rue

The winter's wrath, wherewith each thing defaced,
In woeful wise bewail'd the summer past.

Hawthorn had lost his motley livery;

The naked twigs were shivering all for cold;
And dropping down the tears abundantly,

Each thing (methought) with weeping eye me told
The cruel season: bidding me withhold

Myself within, for I was gotten out

Into the fields, whereas I walk'd about.-SACKVILLE.

The modern bard moralizes on Winter in unrhymed lyrics :

Though now no more the musing ear

Delights to listen to the breeze,

That lingers o'er the green-wood shade,
I love thee, Winter! well.

Sweet are the harmonies of Spring,

Sweet is the Summer's evening gale,

And sweet the autumnal winds that shake

The many-colour'd grove.

And pleasant to the sober'd soul

The silence of the wintry scene,

When Nature shrouds herself, entranced

In deep tranquillity.

Not undelightful now to roam

The wild heath sparkling on the sight;

Not undelightful now to pace

The forest's ample rounds.

And see the spangled branches shine
And mark the moss of many a hue
That varies the old tree's brown bark,
As o'er the grey stone spreads.
And mark the cluster'd berries bright
Amid the holly's gay green leaves;
The ivy round the leafless oak
That clasps its foliage close.

So Virtue, diffident of strength,
Clings to Religion's firmer aid,
And, by Religion's aid upheld,
Endures calamity.

Nor void of beauties now the spring,
Whose waters hid from summer sun
Have soothed the thirsty pilgrim's ear
With more than melody.

The green moss shines with icy glare;
The long grass bends its spear-like form;
And lovely is the silvery scene

When faint the sun-beams smile.

Reflection too may love the hour
When Nature, hid in Winter's grave,
No more expands the bursting bud,
Or bids the flowret bloom;

For Nature soon in Spring's best charms
Shall rise revived from Winter's grave,
Expand the bursting bud again,

And bid the flower rebloom.-SOUTHEY.

The contrasts of Summer and Winter were never more harmoniously put than by the great master of metrical harmony :


It was a bright and cheerful afternoon,
Towards the end of the sunny month of June,
When the north wind congregates in crowds
The floating mountains of the silver clouds

From the horizon-and the stainless sky
Opens beyond them like eternity.

All things rejoiced beneath the sun, the weeds,
The river, and the corn-fields, and the reeds;
The willow leaves that glanced in the light breeze,
And the firm foliage of the larger trees.

It was a winter such as when birds die
In the deep forests; and the fishes lie
Stiffened in the translucent ice, which makes
Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes
A wrinkled clod, as hard as brick; and when
Among their children, comfortable men

Gather about great fires, and yet feel cold:

Alas! then for the homeless beggar old!-SHELLEY.

Even the homely song of the Ayrshire ploughman, engrafted upon an old melody, is beautiful and true:—

Up in the morning 's no for me,

Up in the morning early;

When a' the hills are cover'd wi' snaw,

I'm sure it's winter fairly.

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly;

Sae loud and shrill's I hear the blast,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A' day they fare but sparely;
And lang's the night frae e'en to morn,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

Up in the morning, &c.—BURNS.




It is the fashion with those who cry up the great Historical School in this country, at the head of which Sir Joshua Reynolds is placed, to exclude Hogarth from that school, as an artist of an inferior and vulgar class. Those persons seem to me to confound the painting of subjects in common or vulgar life with the being a vulgar artist. The quantity of thought which Hogarth crowds into every picture would alone unvulgarize every subject which he might choose. Let us take the lowest

of his subjects, the print called Gin Lane. Here is plenty of poverty and low stuff to disgust upon a superficial view, and accordingly a cold, spectator feels himself immediately disgusted and repelled. I have seen many turn away from it not being able to bear it. The same persons would, perhaps, have looked with great complacency upon Poussin's celebrated picture of the Plague at Athens. Disease and death and bewildering terror, in Athenian garments, are endurable, and come, as the delicate critics express it, within the "limits of pleasurable sensation." But the scenes of their own St. Giles's, delineated by their own countrymen, are too shocking to think of. Yet if we could abstract our minds from the fascinating colours of the picture, and forget the coarse execution (in some respects) of the print, intended as it was to be a cheap plate, accessible to the poorer sort of people, for whose instruction it was done, I think we could have no hesitation in conferring the palm of superior genius upon Hogarth, comparing this work of his with Poussin's picture. There is more of imagination in it-that power which draws all things to one-which makes things animate and inanimate, beings with their attributes, subjects and their accessories, take one colour, and serve to one effect. Every thing in the print, to use a vulgar expression, tells. Every part is full of "strange images of death." It is perfectly amazing and astounding to look at. Not only the two prominent figures, the woman and the half-dead man, which are as terrible as any thing which Michael Angelo ever drew, but every thing else in the print contributes to bewilder and stupefy, the very houses, as I heard a friend of mine express it, tumbling all about in various directions, seem drunk-seem absolutely reeling from the ef

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