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Which can a bosom of itself uncase,

And teach the heart how to subdue the heart!
Which gains unbloody bays and conquests thus,

So softly, gently conquering us by us!"

To show his charge her actual condition, and to destroy the false ideas that Agenor had instilled into her mind, Phylax relates the history of the Creation. Here, of course, we cannot avoid instituting a comparison between our poet and Milton: and I think that he can be read with pleasure, even after "Paradise Lost." It would appear, too, that Milton is indebted to him for more than one idea. The description of Paradise is so beautiful, that I must make rather a long extract.

"Within, rose hills of spice and frankincense,

Which smiled upon the flowery vales below,
Where living crystal rolled its influence,
Whose musical impatience did flow

With endless chiding the pure gems beneath,
Because no smoother they had paved his path.

"The nymphs which played about this current's sides
Were gentle Thoughts, tralucid fair Desires;
Love, as of lately-won and long-wooed brides;
Fair Contemplation, with his high aspires;
Snowy embraces, cheerly-sober eyes,
Gentleness, Mildness, Ingenuities.

"At full length on the beds of flowers did lie

Smiling Content, Ease, Sweetness, Softness, Pleasure;
Then in the carpet walks there danced by
Calmness and Trust, Security and Leisure,
Accomplished Joy, brisk Firmitude, and Health,
The only jewel which makes wealthy Wealth.

"Fair roses here would only spend their blush
On their deformitude, should they compare
With those fair eyes, with which the rosybush
Looks up and views its beauteous neighbours there :
Nor were your lilies white, if these were by,
Whose leaves are all fair writ with purity.

"The early gales knocked gently at the door
Of every flower, to bid its odours wake;
Which, taking in their softer arms, they bore
About the garden, and returned them back
To their own beds; but doubled by the blisses
They sipped from those delicious sister-kisses.
"Upon the wings of those enamouring breaths,
Refreshment, vigour, and new spirits tended :
And wheresoe'er they flew, cheered the green paths,
And with fresh airs of life all things befriended;
And sweetly whispered with each leaf-armed tree,
Plucked from the grand stock of eternity.

“High in the shady galleries sat a choir
Well worthy such a chapel ; birds of praise
Whose most harmonious throats did all conspire
To pay for their sweet home in sweeter lays :
And when the gales did kiss the boughs, you might
Have seen a rustling tempest of delight."

The creation of man is then described. The spot in which it was determined is thus finely described :

“A place there is, retired far and high
In the bright tower of eternal rest,

Roofed, paved, and walled with immensity;
In at whose door no creature ever passed."

The whole proceeds in a manner which shows that Milton had his eye on our poem, till we come to Adam's desire to have an help meet for him. Then Beaumont enters the lists with Spenser: and the lines, though miserably out of place, are so graphic in themselves that, had I to decide between the Palace of Sleep, in the Fairy Queen, and the following, I should give the palm to Spenser, simply on the ground of priority. Pity is sent to Sleep's abode, in order that Adam may experience her strongest influence.

"Before the gate there stood a lazy lake,

Whose waters never yet were known to stir;

Upon the bank, Oblivion did make

His bed of sluggish moss and cankered fur:
And remoras and cramp-fishes groping lay,
About the bottom of the mud and clay.

"Up from the water crept a heavy cloud
Of dusky vapours, on whose back did ride

Gross Drowsiness, who rubbed her eyes, and bowed
Her dull and overladen head aside :

About the swarthy sides, which thick were spread,
Bats, owls, and other night-birds fluttered.

"Beyond the lake poppy and mandrakes grew,
Nodding unto their neighbour clump of trees,
Which were, the willow, cypress, box and yew;
Under whose boughs lay Quietness and Ease:
And nestling at their feet, a half-dead crowd
Of dormice and of bears-all snoring loud.

"By these passed Pity; and a gate of jet
Espied, whose ringle covered was with wool:
Silence for porter stood, with finger put

Close to his mouth who, when he saw her full
Of more than common business to his Queen,
He stole the bar aside, and let her in."

Notice the happy phrase of stealing aside the bar.

"There found she, on a bed of ebony,

Sleep laid at length: the pillow for her head
Was badger's hair: Night and Security
Were the two blankets for her body spread:
By the bedside a leaden pipe did drop;

A swarm of bees were humming at the top."

The state of Adam and Eve is thus described :


"In this condition did they live and love,
And each with other interchange the heart;
Fairly transcribing our sweet life above,
Where every angel's eye with soul doth dart
Into his fellow's breast, that they may be
In common blest with one felicity."



The mind of Satan, when bent on his mission of destruction, is compared to a heated caldron, of which the water, says our poet

"With boiling surges beats the brass, and leaves.

No way untried to vent its balmed waves.”

The most poetical description of boiling that I know. Adam's fall is made entirely voluntary. His love to Eve is so great, though he foresees all the consequences,—

“That rather he with heaven than her will part."

Having finished the history of the Fall, Phylax thus concludes:

"Think well on this, and, if thou canst, be proud,

Who, by the pride of thy first parents, art

With this destructive portion endowed,

And from thy birth betrothed to endless smart:

Think what vast distance lies 'twixt worthless thee,
And the Almighty King of Majesty !”

Our poet, so he obtain materials for description, is not very scrupulous how he comes by them: of which he gives a proof in the seventh canto. Psyche is deeply affected by the account which the angel has given: and, to dissipate her melancholy, he proposes to convey her to Palestine, that she may with her own eyes behold the scene of her Prince's sufferings. She gladly embraces the proposal. A chariot, drawn by Chastity and Devotion (Beaumont must always have his allegorical personages) attends her; they mount together; England-which we now for the first time discover to be the heroine's country-is soon left behind :—

"And climbing higher on their yielding way,
Eternal banks of obstinate frost and snow
Which Winter on the Alps' high banks did lay,

Spite of the nearer sun, she leaves below."

They reach Nazareth; and Phylax describes the Annunciation. He thus speaks of Gabriel :

"The candour of his wings was no such kind
Of glaring thing as is the Alpine snow,
Or on the purest cygnet's neck we find,

Or on the surface of soft milk doth flow:

But a celestial tincture, pure and bright,

Made, not by scorching, but by whitening light."

The blunder about the cygnets is rather amusing. The whole history is dwelt on at too great length. Instead of spinning out fifty-one stanzas, it would have been better had Beaumont contented himself with his first and fine verse

"Through mounts of miracles GOD broke a way."

The mind of S. Mary, taking its tone from the devotion of the Angel, though tinctured with her own feelings, is made the subject of a beautiful simile:


"Thus, when heaven's light doth through the windows press,

It bears the colours it found painted there."

I allow the bad taste of the following lines, as applied to the eyes of the Blessed Virgin: but in themselves they are exquisite :

"Those lovely Easts of gentle, living light;

Those diamond quivers of divinest love;

Those wells of ever-springing joys; those bright

Mirrors of purer beauties than do move

About the silver heavens when night is fine,

Or when the day at noontide height does shine."

At length the moment arrives for the Birth of our LORD.

"O mighty moment! at whose feet all days,
And months, and years, and ages, homage pay;

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