Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Songs and Sonnets of William Shakespeare illustrated by Charles Robinson

Hark, hark ! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise.'

On a day alack the day !
Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air.

These lovers cry Oh! oh! they die!

How much more praise deserved thy beauty's use,
If thou couldst answer ' This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,'
Proving his beauty by succession thine !

Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing :
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming
Sings this to thee :
' thou single wilt prove none.'

Mine eye and heart are at a mortal
How to divide the conquest of
thy sight ;
Mine eye my heart thy picture's
sight would bar,
My heart mine eye the freedom
of that right.

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this
powerful rhyme ;
But you shall shine more bright
in these contents
Than unswept stone besmear'd
with sluttish time.

SOME glory in their birth, some in
their skill,
Some in their wealth, some in
their bodies' force,
Some in their garments, though
new-fangled ill,
Some in their hawks and hounds,
some in their horse .

Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see do lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.

This I do vow and this shall ever be ;
I will be true, despite thy scythe and thee

My mistress' eyes are nothing like
the sun ;
Coral is far more red than her
lips' red ;
If snow be white, why then her
breasts are dun ;
If hairs be wires, black wires
grow on her head.

She burn'd with love, as straw with fire flameth ;
She burn'd out love, as soon as straw out-burneth ;
She framed the love, and yet she foil'd the framing ;
She bade love last, and yet she fell a-turning.
Was this a lover, or a lecher whether ?
Bad in the best, though excellent in neither.

From off a hill whose concave
womb re-worded
A plaintful story from a sistering
My. spirits to attend this double
voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sadtuned
tale ;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.

Monday, August 31, 2015

A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne illustrated by Arthur Rackham

This frontispiece is only found in the edition of  Hodder & Stoughton, 1922, opposite page 3. Later editions have a reduced number of colour plates and show other pictures as a frontispiece.

George H.Doran & Company, first US edition

 And when Perseus was a very little boy, some wicked people put his mother and himself into a chest, and set them afloat upon the sea. The wind blew freshly, and drove the chest away from the shore, and the uneasy billows tossed it up and down; while Danaë clasped her child closely to her bosom...

 As Perseus walked along, therefore, the people pointed after him, and made mouths, and winked to one another, and ridiculed him as loudly as they dared.

The Three Gray Women: But here the third sister, whose name was Shake joint, began to complain, and said that it was her turn to have the eye, and that Scarecrow and Nightmare wanted to keep it all to themselves. To end the dispute, old Dame Scarecrow took the eye out of her forehead, and held it forth in her hand.

 Edition:  Hodder & Stoughton, London 1922

When Jack Frost stretches out his finger and turns all the trees to red and gold, he will tell you of King Midas and the golden touch.

 To his great perplexity, however, excellent as the glasses were, he discovered that he could not possibly see through them. But this was the most natural thing in the world;  for, on taking them off, the transparent crystals turned out to be plates of yellow metal, and, of course, were worthless as spectacles, though valuable as gold.

 Their delicate blush was one of the fairest sights in the world; so gentle, so modest, and so full of sweet tranquillity, did these roses seem to be.  But Midas knew a way to make them far more precious, according to his way of thinking, than roses had ever been before. So he took great pains in going from bush to bush, and exercised his magic touch most indefatigably; until every individual flower and bud, and even the worms at the heart of some, were changed to gold.

"My precious, precious Marygold!" cried he. But Marygold made no answer. Alas, what had he done? How fatal was the gift which the stranger bestowed! The moment the lips of Midas touched Marygold's forehead, a change had taken place. Her sweet, rosy face, so full of affection as it had been , assumed a glittering yellow colour, with yellow tear-drops congealing on her cheeks.

The above picture was also used as bookcover in the edition of  Garden City Publishing Co.

...there was no danger, nor trouble of any kind, and no clothes to be mended, and there was always plenty to eat and drink.

What was most wonderful of all, the children never quarrelled among themselves ; neither had they any crying fits ; nor, since time first began, had a single one of these little mortals ever gone apart into a corner, and sulked. Oh, what a good time was that to be alive in !

As Pandora raised the lid, the cottage grew very dark and dismal; for the black cloud had now sweptquite over the sun, and seemed to have buried it alive....It seemed as if a sudden swarm of winged creatures brushed past her, taking flight out of the box...

So, with one consent, the two children again lifted the lid. Out flew a sunny and smiling little personnage, and hovered about the room, throwing a light wherever she went...
"Pray, who are you, beaurtiful creature?" inquired Pandora. "I am to be called Hope!" answered
the sunshiny figure.

So he journeyed on and on, still making the same inquiry, until, at last, he came to the brink of a river where some beautiful young woman sat twining wreaths of flowers.

"Why, the Old One!" repeated Hercules, laughing at this odd name. "And, pray, who may the Old One be?"
"Why, the Old Man of the Sea, to be sure!" answered one of the damsels. "He has fifty daughters, whom some people call very beautiful; but we do not think it proper to be acquainted with them, because they have sea-green hair and taper away like fishes.

The Old Man of the Sea.  At one end of the beach, however, there was a pleasant spot,  where some green shrubbery clambered up a cliff, making its rocky face look soft and beautiful. A carpet of verdant grass, largely intermixed with sweet-smelling clover, covered the narrow space between the bottom of the cliff and the sea. And what should Hercules espy there, but an old man, fast asleep!

"Well, then", answered Hercules, "I will climb the mountain behind you there, and relieve you of your burden"....Accordingly, without more words, the sky was shifted from the shoulders of Atlas, and placed upon those of Hercules.

"And as for those foolish people ," said Quicksilver, with his mischievous smile, "they are all transformed to fishes. There needed but little change,  for they were already a scaly set of rascals,  and the coldest-blooded beings in existence..."

And then there was a deep, broad murmur in the air, as if the two mysterious trees were speaking.
"I am old Philemon!" murmered the oak. "I am old Baucis!" murmered the linden-tree.

The Chimaera, on the other hand, raised itself up so as to stand absolutely on the tip-end of its tail, with itsb talons pawing fiercely in the air, and its three heads spluttering fire at Pegasus and his rider.