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Page:The Pentamerone, or The Story of Stories.djvu/17

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PREFACE.

posed extravagance of metaphor, to burlesque the faults of the Seicentisti; thus skilfully drawing from them a new source of amusement, turning absurdity into humour, and legitimizing the follies of his age by giving them a different and original character.

I may here observe, that Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, one of our earliest specimens of heroic romance, offers several points of comparison with Basile's writings. In that jar of sweets we find continually recurring metaphors and expressions scarcely less extravagant, and often remarkably similar to those which Basile is so fond of employing. Take for instance the following:—

"It was in the time that the Earth begins to put on her new apparel against the approach of her lover, and that the Sun, running a most even course, becomes an indifferent arbiter between Night and Day," &c.

"O my Claius, hither we are now come to pay the rent for which we are so called unto by over-busie Remembrance."

"Upon this place where we last (alas that the word last should so long last),". . .

"To leave those steps unkissed where Urania printed the farewell of all beauty."

"Where the care of cunning chirurgions had brought Life to the possession of his own right, Sorrow and Shame, like two corrupted servants," &c.

"In the time that the Morning did strew roses and violets in the heavenly floor against the coming of the Sun, . . . rising from under a tree, which had been their pavilion, they went," &c.

"You have beaten your sorrow against such a wall, which with the force of rebound may well make your sorrow stronger."

"His joys so held him up, that he never touched ground."

Besides this similarity of style and language, we may note other points of coincidence,[1] such as the "twenty specified shepherds, some for exercises and some for eclogues," in

  1. Sir Philip Sidney attempted to introduce the Italian versification into England, and his songs "to the tune of a Neapolitan Villanell," and "to the tune of a Neapolitan song," may be mentioned here in connection with the class of songs referred to by Baaile at page 336.