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combat, which is told at length, in the middle of the third book, is marvelloully spirited, and so lively, as to make us spectators of that interesting and magnificent tournament. Even the absurdity of feigning ancient heroes, such as Theseus and Lycurgus, present at the lists and a modern combat, is overwhelmed and obliterated amidst the blaze, the pomp, and the profusion of such animated poetry. Frigid and phlegmatic must be the critic, who could have leisure dully and soberly to attend to the anachronism on so striking an occasion. The mind is whirled away by a torrent of rapid imagery, and propriety is forgot.
The tale of Sigisinonda and Guiscardo is heightened with many new and affecting touches by Dryden. I shall select only the following picture of Sigismonda, as it has the same attitude in which the
which she appears in a famous piccc of CorreoGIO.
Muts, folemo forrow, free from femalc roik,
For bending o'er the cup, the tears the bed
There is an incomparable wildness in the vision of Theodore and Honoria that represents the furious spectre of “ the horseman ghost that came thundering for his prey,” and of the gaunt mastiffs that tore the sides of the shrieking damsel he pursued; which is a subject worthy the pencil of Spagnoletti, as it partakes of that savageness which is so striking to the imagination. I shall confine myself to point out only two passages, which relate the two appearances of this formidable figure :
" It is
• This is one of Boccace's moft Serious stories. a curious thing to sec at the head of an edition of Boccace's tales, printed at Florence in 1973, a privilege of Gregory XIII. who fays, that in this he follows the steps of Pius V. his prefeceffor, of blessed memory, and which threatens with severe punishments all those, who shall dare to give any difturbance to thofe bockfellers to whom this privilege is granted. There is also a decree of the inquisition in favour of this edition, in which the holy father caused fome altcration: to be made." LONCUERUANA, Tom. II. p. 62. a Berlin, 1754
and I place them last, as I think them the most lofty of any part of Dryden's works.
Whilft lift'ning to the murm'ring leaves he stood,
The sensations of a man upon the approach of some strange and supernatural danger, can scarcely be represented more feelingly. All nature is thus said to sympathize at the second appearance of
The felon on his sable steed Arm'd with his naked sword that urg'd his dogs to speed.
Thus it runs
The fiend's alarm began ; the hollow found
Bot to conclude this digression on Dryden. It must be owned, that his ode on thc power of mafic, which is the chief ornament of this volume, is the most unC2
rivalled of his compositions. By that
.• Vol. I. pag. 58.
+ See his verses to Dryden, prefixed to the translation of Virgil. Lord Boling broke afured Pore, that Dryden often declared to him, that he got more from the Spanish critics alone, than from the Italian, French, and all other critic put together; which appears strange. This from Mr. Speace.
subject subject which occurred to me, that I could not leave it till I had completed it; here it is, finished at one fitting." And immediately he Thewed him this ode, which places the Britith lyric poetry above that of any other nation. This anecdote, as true as it is curious, was imparted by Lord Bolingbroke to Pope, by Pope to Mr. Gilbert West, by him to the ingenious friend who communicated it to me *. The rapidity, and yet the perfpicuity of the thoughts, the glow and the expressiveness of the images, those certain marks of the firft sketch of a master, conspire to corroborate the truth of the fact.