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verse all the different measures that had been employed in Greek and Latin, and accordingly we have in the Arcadia, Hexameters, or, at least, what were intended by the author as such ; Elegiacs, Sapphics, Anacreontics, Phaleuciacks, Asclepiades, and, in short, every thing but poetry. The effect, indeed, is perfectly abominable.
Another affectation of the times, and to which in particular Sir Philip Sidney was led by his imitation of Sannazzaro, was the adoption of all the various quaint devices which have been introduced into Italian poetry. We have the Terza rima, the Sestina, Canzone, Sonnets and Echos, the greater part of which, owing to the constraint to which they reduced the author, are almost, and some of them altogether, unintelligible. In the whole Arcadia I recollect only two poems which reach mediocrity, and these have at least the merit of being truly in the Italian style. The first is a Sonnet on a Lady Sleeping; the other is a Madrigal addressed to the Sun.
* I. Lock up, fair lids, the treasure of my heart,
Preserve those beams this age's only light ; To her sweet sense, sweet Sleep, some ease impart
Her sense too weak to bear her spirits might.
And while, o Sleep! thou closest up her sight,
(Her sight where love did forge his fairest dart,) O harbour all her charms in easeful plight!
Let no strange dream make her fair body start. But yet, o Dream ! if thou wilt not depart
In this rare subject from thy common right,
But wilt thyself in such a seat delightThen take my shape, and play a lover's part, Kiss her from me, and say unto her sprite, Till her eyes shine I live in darkest night.
Such are the best productions of an author whom Sir William Temple, in the land that had already
given birth to Shakspeare, and Spenser, and Milton, scrupled not to pronounce“ the greatest poet and the noblest genius of any that have left writings behind them, and published in ours or any other modern language.” (Miscellanea, part II.) The Arcadia was also much read and admired by Waller and Cowley, and has been obviously imitated in many instances by our early dramatists. The story of Plangus in the Arcadia, is the origin of Shirley's Andromana or Merchant's Wife, and of Cupid's Revenge, by Beaumont and Fletcher. That part of the pastoral where Pyrocles agrees to command the Helots, seems to have suggested those scenes of the Two Gentlemen of Verona, in which Valentine leagues himself with the outlaws. An episode in the second book of the Arcadia, where a king of Paphlagonia, whose eyes had been put out by a bastard son, is described as led by his rightful heir, whom he had cruelly used for the sake of his wicked brother, has furnished Shakspeare with the underplot concerning Gloster and his two sons, in King Lear. There are in the romance the same description of a bitter storm, and the same request of the father, that he might be led to the summit of a cliff, which occur in that pathetic tragedy
The Arcadia was also, as we learn from Milton, the companion of the prison hours of Charles I., whom that poet, in his Iconoclastes, reproaches with having stolen a prayer of Pamela to insert in his Ikon Basiliké. But whether the author of that production actually fell into this inadvertence, or whether his antagonist, who seems to have believed in its authenticity, procured the interpolation of the passage, that he might enjoy an opportunity of reviling his sovereign for impiety, and of taunting him with literary plagiarism, has been the subject of much controversy among the biographers of the English bard. (See Symmons's Life of Milton, p. 278, &c.)
Heroic Romance.- Polexandre.-Cleopatra.
Boileau, and several other French writers, have deduced the origin of the heroic from the pastoral romance, especially from the Astrea of D'Urfé; and indeed Mad. Scuderi, in her preface to Ibrahim, one of her earliest productions, affirms that she had chosen the Astrea as her model. To that species of composition may, no doubt, be attributed some of the tamést features of the heroic romance, its insipid dialogues and tedious episodes ; but many of the elements of which it is compounded must be sought in anterior and more spirited compositions.
Thus, we find in the heroic romance a great deal of ancient chivalrous delineation. Dragons,