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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Dante. (search)
by himself. In the poems of the Vita Nuova, Beatrice, until her death, was to him simply a poetica Convito, who in attributes is identical with Beatrice herself. We must remember that the prose parderable part of the Divina Commedia, in which Beatrice was to go through her final and most etherealthis was Dante's meaning is confirmed by what Beatrice says to him, Purgatorio, 100-102. Shorll surely die. Philosophy had made him forget Beatrice; it was Philosophy who was to bring him back ising change of tone. The transfiguration of Beatrice has begun, and we see completing itself that of the Empire), and the grace of God in that Beatrice whom he had already supernaturalized into som[Virgil] can tell thee; beyond that await For Beatrice, since 'tis a work of Faith.—Purgatorio, XVII trusted, and accordingly the intervention of Beatrice was needed,— of Beatrice, as Miss Rossetti adBeatrice, as Miss Rossetti admirably well expresses it, already transfigured, potent not only now to charm and soothe, potent to [25 more...]<
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Spenser (search)
zio, Chi nei diletti della carne involto S'afiaticava, e chi si dava alla ozio, Quando da tutte queste cose sciolto, Con Beatrice ma era suso in cielo Cotanto gloriosamente accolto. Paradiso, XI. 4-12. Spenser was familiar with the Divina Commedina, who, like the visionary Helen of Dr. Faustus, has every charm of womanhood, except that of being alive as Juliet and Beatrice are. O happy earth, Whereon thy innocent feet do ever tread! Faery Queen, B. I. c. x. 9. Can we conceive of Una, the from as far away as Thessaly when Apollo was keeping sheep there. Sorrow, the great idealizer, had had the portrait of Beatrice on her easel for years, and every touch of her pencil transfigured the woman more and more into the glorified saint. Bu the poet on the very day when he had thus beatified her. As Dante was drawn upward from heaven to heaven by the eyes of Beatrice, so was Spenser lifted away from the actual by those of that ideal Beauty whereof his mind had conceived the lineaments
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Milton. (search)
and permanent acquisition to our knowledge. It results from the almost scornful withdrawal of Milton into the fortress of his absolute personality that no great poet is so uniformly self-conscious as he. We should say of Shakespeare that he had the power of transforming himself into everything; of Milton, that he had that of transforming everything into himself. Dante is individual rather than self-conscious, and he, the cast-iron man, grows pliable as a field of grain at the breath of Beatrice, and flows away in waves of sunshine. But Milton never let himself go for a moment. As other poets are possessed by their theme, so is he self-possessed, his great theme being John Milton, and his great duty that of interpreter between him and the world. I say it with all respect, for he was well worthy translation, and it is out of Hebrew that the version is made. Pope says he makes God the Father reason like a school-divine. The criticism is witty, but inaccurate. He makes Deity a m