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James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Spenser (search)
5 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 top of all his lofty crest A bunch of hairs discolored diversly, Du Bartas, tells us that Spenser had been his master in English. He regrets, indeed, comically enough, that Spenser could not have read the rules of Bossu, but adds that no man was ever born with a greater genius or more knowledge to support it. Pope says, There is something in Spenser that pleases one as strongly in one's old age as it did in one's youth. I read the Faery Queen when I was about twelve with a vast deal of delight; and I think it gave me as much when I read it over about a yea
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Wordsworth. (search)
e against which he had protested so vigorously, a few examples will show. The advocate of the language of common life has a verse in his Thanksgiving Ode which, if one met with it by itself, he would think the achievement of some later copyist of Pope:— While the tubed engine [the organ] feels the inspiring blast. And in The Italian Itinerant and The Swiss Goatherd we find a thermometer or barometer called The well-wrought scale Whose sentient tube instructs to time A purpose to a fickle, rooted in the one, but living in the other, seldom laid bare, and otherwise visible only at exceptional moments of entire calm and clearness. Of no other poet except Shakespeare have so many phrases become household words as of Wordsworth. If Pope has made current more epigrams of worldly wisdom, to Wordsworth belongs the nobler praise of having defined for us, and given us for a daily possession, those faint and vague suggestions of other-worldliness of whose gentle ministry with our baser
James Russell Lowell, Among my books, Milton. (search)
Shoots invisible virtue even to the deep, while, if read rightly, it has just one of those sweeping elisions that he loved. Should we refuse to say obleeged with Pope because the fashion has changed? From its apparently greater freedom in skilful hands, blank-verse gives more scope to sciolistic theorizing and dogmatism than thccept them as the better for their badness. Such a bad verse is Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens and shapes of death, which might he cited to illustrate Pope's And ten low words oft creep in one dull line. Milton cannot certainly be taxed with any partiality for low words. He rather loved them tall, as the Prusy 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 mouthpiece for his present theology, and had t