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Their lady to her couch with gushing eyes;

Of herbs and cordials they produced their store, But she defied all means they could employ, Like one life could not hold, nor death destroy.


Days lay she in that state unchanged, though chill —

With nothing livid, still her lips were red; She had no pulse, but death seem'd absent still ;

No hideous sign proclaim'd her surely dead; Corruption came not in each mind to kill

All hope; to look upon her sweet face bred New thoughts of life, for it seem'd full of soulShe had so much, earth could not claim the whole.


The ruling passion, such as marble shows

When exquisitely chisell'd, still lay there, But fix'd as marble's unchanged aspect throws

O'er the fair Venus, but for ever fair ;(1)

Vol. XII. p. 211.) at the age of eighty years, when “ Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?" Before I was xteen years of age, I was witness to a melancholy instance of the same effect of mixed passions upon a young person, who, however, did not die in consequence, at that time, but fell a victim some years afterwards to a seizure of the same kind, arising from causes intimately connected with agitation of mind.

(1) [See antè, Vol. VIII. pp. 213. 295. The view of the Venus of Medicis instantly suggests the lines in the “ Seasons,”

“ With wild surprise,
As if to marble struck, devoid of sense,
A stupid moment motionless she stood :
So stands the statue that enchants the world." - HOBHOUSE.]

O'er the Laocoon's all eternal throes, (TM)

And ever-dying Gladiator's air, (2) Their energy

like life forms all their fame, Yet looks not life, for they are still the same.(3)


[-“illi agmine certo,
Laocoönta petunt; et primum parva duorum
Corpora natorum serpens amplexus, uterque
Implicat,” &c. - Virg. Æn. I. ii.

“ their destin'd way they take,
And to Laocoon and his children make :
And first around the tender boys they wind,
Then with their sharpen'd fangs their limbs and bodies grind.
The wretched father, running to their aid
With pious haste, but vain, they next invade :
Twice round his waist their winding volumes rollid,
And twice about his gasping throat they fold.
With both his hands he labours at the knots,

His holy fillets the blue venom blots,” &c. — DRYDEN. *
(2) [See antè, Vol. VIII. p. 249.]
(3) [MS. — “ Distinct from life, as being still the same.”]

[“ The sublime mark of a great soul shines forth, in all its beauty, through those affecting expressions of pain and anguish that appear in the countenance of the famous Laocoon, and diffuse their horrors through his convulsed members. The bitterness of his torment seems to be imprinted on each muscle, and to swell every nerve; and it is expressed with pecu. liar energy, by the contraction of the abdomen and all the lower parts of his body: this expression is so lively, that the attentive spectator partakes, in some measure, of the anguish it represents. The sufferings of the body and the elevation of the soul are expressed in every member with equal energy, and form the most sublime contrast imaginable. Laocoon suffers it, but he suffers like the Philoctetes of Sophocles ; his lamentable situation pierces the heart, but fills us, at the same time, with an ambitious desire of being able to imitate his constancy and magnanimity in the pains and sufferings that may fall to our lot.” — WINKELMANN.

“ In the group of the Laocoon, the frigid ecstasies of German criticism have discovered pity like a vapour swimming on the father's eyes; he is seen to suppress in the groan for his children the shriek for himself - his nostrils are drawn upward, to express indignation at unworthy sufferings, whilst he is said at the same time to implore celestial help. To these are added the winged effects of the serpent-poison, the writhings of the body,


She woke at length, but not as sleepers wake,

Rather the dead, for life seem'd something new, A strange sensation which she must partake

Perforce, since whatsoever met her view Struck not on memory, though a heavy ache

Lay at her heart, whose earliest beat still true Brought back the sense of pain without the cause, For, for a while, the furies made a pause.


She look'd on many a face with vacant eye,

On many a token without knowing what ;
She saw them watch her without asking why, (')

And reck'd not who around her pillow sat;
Not speechless, though she spoke not; not a sigh

Reliev'd her thoughts ; dull silence and quick chat Were tried in vain by those who served; she gave No sign, save breath, of having left the grave.

.. (1) [MS.

-“She took their medicines without asking why.”]

the spasms of the extremities: to the miraculous organisation of such ex. pression, Agesander, the sculptor of the Laocoon, was too wise to lay claim. His figure is a class : it characterises every beauty of virility verging on age; the prince, the priest, the father are visible, but, absorbed in the man, serve only to dignify the victim of one great expression; though poised by the artist for us, to apply the compass to the face of the Laocoon is to measure the wave fluctuating in the storm : this tempestuous front, this contracted nose, the immersion of these eyes, and, above all, that longdrawn mouth, are, separate and united, seats of convulsion, features of nature, struggling within the jaws of death.” — Fuseli.]

Her handmaids tended, but she heeded not ;

Her father watch'd, she turn'd her eyes away; She recognised no being, and no spot

However dear or cherish'd in their day ; They changed from room to room,

but all forgot, Gentle, but without memory she lay ; [ing At length those eyes, which they would fain be weanBack to old thoughts, wax'd full of fearful meaning.

And then a slave bethought her of a harp ;()

The harper came, and tuned his instrument ;
At the first notes, irregular and sharp,

On him her flashing eyes a moment bent, Then to the wall she turn'd as if to warp

Her thoughts from sorrow through her heart reAnd he begun a long low island song [sent; Of ancient days, ere tyranny grew strong.


Anon her thin wan fingers beat the wall

In time to his old tune ; he changed the theme, And sung of love; the fierce name struck through all

Her recollection ; on her flash'd the dream Of what she was, and is, if ye could call

To be so being; in a gushing stream The tears rush'd forth from her o'erclouded brain, Like mountain mists at length dissolved in rain.

(1) [MS. — “At last some one bethought them of a harp.”]


Short solace, vain relief !- thought came too quick,

And whirl'd her brain to madness; she arose As one who ne'er had dwelt among the sick,

And flew at all she met, as on her foes ; But no one ever heard her speak or shriek,

Although her paroxysm drew towards its close ;Hers was a phrensy which disdain’d to rave, Even when they smote her, in the hope to save.


Yet she betray'd at times a gleam of sense ;

Nothing could make her meet her father's face, Though on all other things with looks intense

She gazed, but none she ever could retrace; Food she refused, and raiment; no pretence

Avail'd for either ; neither change of place, Nor time, nor skill, nor remedy, could give her Senses to sleep-the power seem'd gone for ever.


Twelve days and nights she wither'd thus; at last,

Without a groan, or sigh, or glance, to show A parting pang, the spirit from her past :

And they who watch'd her nearest could not know The very instant, till the change that cast

Her sweet face into shadow, dull and slow, Glazed o'er her eyes — the beautiful, the blackOh! to possess such lustre - and then lack ! (1)

(1) [" And then he drew a dial from his poke,

And looking on it with lack-lustre eye." - - As you Like It.] VOL. XVI.


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