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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Spenser (search)
irst flush of its spring. (The yonge sonne Had in the Bull half of his course yronne.) And just at this moment of blossoming every breeze was dusty with the golden pollen of Greece, Rome, and Italy. If Keats could say, when he first opened Chapman's Homer,— Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific, and all his men Looked at each other with a wild surmise, if Keats could say this,ssoms. Here is one of his, suggested by Homer: Iliad, XVII. 55 seqq. Referred to in Upton's note on Faery Queen, B. I. c. VII. 32. Into what a breezy couplet trailing off with an alexandrine has Homer's pnoiai\ pantoi/wn a)ne/mwn expanded! Chapman unfortunately has slurred this passage in his version, and Pope tittivated it more than usual in his. I have no other translation at hand. Marlowe was so taken by this passage in Spenser that he put it bodily into his Tamburlaine. Upon the
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Milton. (search)
where it serves to indicate that the pronunciation was not heroes as it had formerly been. That you may tell heroes, when you come To banquet with your wife. Chapman's Odyssey, VIII. 336, 337. In the facsimile of the sonnet to Fairfax I find Thy firm unshak'n vertue ever brings, which shows how much faith we need give to tside or motherside. Mr. Masson speaks of the Miltonic forms vanquisht, markt, lookt, etc. Surely he does not mean to imply that these are peculiar to Milton? Chapman used them before Milton was born, and pressed them farther, as in nak't and saf't for naked and saved. He often prefers the contracted form in his prose also, showing that the full form of the past participle in ed was passing out of fashion, though available in verse. Chapman's spelling is presumably his own. At least he looked after his printed texts. I have two copies of his Byron's Conspiracy, both dated 1608, but one evidently printed later than the other, for it shows corrections.
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Keats. (search)
Chatterton, with whose genius and fate he had an intense sympathy, it may be from an inward foreboding of the shortness of his own career. I never saw the poet Keats but once, but he then read some lines from (I think) the Bristowe tragedy with an enthusiasm of admiration such as could be felt only by a poet, and which true poetry only could have excited.—J. H. C., in Notes & Queries, 4th s. x. 157. Before long we find him studying Chaucer, then Shakespeare, and afterward Milton. But Chapman's translations had a more abiding influence on his style both for good and evil. That he read wisely, his comments on the Paradise Lost are enough to prove. He now also commenced poet himself, but does not appear to have neglected the study of his profession. He was a youth of energy and purpose, and though he no doubt penned many a stanza when he should have been anatomizing, and walked the hospitals accompanied by the early gods, nevertheless passed a very creditable examination in 181