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Prepar'd for Arras pictures, is no picture,
The Stars not able to foreshew any Thing. I am a nobler substance than the stars : And shall the baser over-rule the better? Or are they better since they are the bigger ? 20 I have a will, and faculties of choice, To do or not to do; and reason why I do or not do this: the stars have none. They know not why they shine, more than this
taper, Nor how they work, nor what. I'll change my I'll piece-meal pull the frame of all my thoughts, And cast my will into another mould: And where are all your Caput Algols then ? Your planets, all being underneath the earth At my nativity : what can they do?
30 Maliguant in aspects, in bloody houses ?
The Master Spirit.
There is no danger to a man, that knows
Vile Natures in High Places.
-foolish Statuaries, That under little Saints suppose* great bases, Make less (to sense) the saints: and so, where fortune Advanceth vile minds to states great and noble, 10 She much the more exposeth them to shame, Not able to make good, and fill their bases With a conformed structure.
Innocence the Harmony of the Faculties.
-Innocence, the sacred amulet
20 No motion in his will against his reason; No thought 'gainst thought; nor (as 'twere in the
* Put under.
BY THE SAME.
KING HENRY THE FOURTH of France blesses the young
That she may ever tarry by his throne.
as a man, match'd with a lovely wife,
30 (If it be just and worthy), dwells so dark, That it denies access to sun and moon : The soul's eye, sharpen'd with that sacred light, Of whom the sun itself is but a beam, Must only give that judgment. O how much Err those kings then, that play with life and death, And nothing put into their serious states But humour and their lusts ; for which alone
Men long for kingdoms : whose huge counterpoise
(The Selections which I have made from this poet are sufficient to give an idea of that “full and heightened style” which Webster makes characteristic of Chapman. of all the English Play-writers, Chapman perhaps approaches nearest to Shakspeare in the descriptive and didactic, in passages which are less purely dramatic. Dramatic Imitation was not his talent. He could not go out of himself, as Shakspeare could shift at pleasure, to inform and animate other existences, but in himself he had an eye to perceive and a soul to embrace all forms. He would have made a great epic poet, if, indeed, he has not abundantly shown himself to be one; for his Homer is not so properly a Translation as the Stories of Achilles and Ulysses re-written. The earnestness and passion which he has put into every part of these poems would be incredible to a reader of mere modern translations. His almost Greek zeal for the honour of his heroes is only paralleled by that fierce spirit of Hebrew bigotry, with which Milton, as if personating one of the Zealots of the old law, clothed him. self when he sate down to paint the acts of Samson against the Uncircumcised. The great obstacle to Chapman's Translations being read is their unconquerable quaintness. He pours out in the same breath the most just and natural and the most violent and forced expressions. He seems to grasp whatever words come first to hand during the impetus of inspiration, as if all other must be inadequate to the divine meaning. But passion (the all in all in Poetry) is everywhere present, raising the low, dignifying the mean, and putting sense into the absurd. He makes his readers glow, weep, tremble, take any affection which he pleases, be moved by words, or in spite of them, be disgusted and overcome their disgust. I have often thought that the vulgar misconception of Shakspeare, as of a wild irregular genius “in whom great faults are compensated by great beauties," would be really true applied to Chapman. But there is no scale by which to balance such disproportionate subjects as the faults and beauties of a great genius. To set off the former with any fairness against the latter, the pain which they give us should be in some proportion to the pleasure which we receive from the other. As these transport us to the highest heaven, those should steep us in agonies infernal.]