Saturday, April 3, 2010

Charles Lamb's Beauty and the Beast

I was going to save this post for later-I try to alternate posts about my favorite tale with other tales, but while looking for images for my last post I found the entire Lamb version online and had to link it. You can read the entire text and see the illustrations here.

Lamb wrote the whole story of Beauty and the Beast in rhyming verse in 1811. The illustrator is anonymous. The story is nearly identical to Beaument's, only Lamb chose to set it in Persia. The Prince actually has a name: Orasmyn. (Fun fact-there's a rumor that, according to the Disney Encyclopedia, the Beast's real name is Adam. But this is false and the Disney Beast has no name.)

(Beauty requesting a gift from her father)
"Such wants and wishes now appear'd,
To make them larger Beauty fear'd;
Yet lest her silence might produce
From jealous sisters more abuse,
Considerately good, she chose
The emblem of herself-a Rose."
(First meal with the Beast)
"At noon's repast, she heard a sound
Breathing unseen sweet music round;
But when the evening board was spread
The voice of Beast recall'd her dread:
'May I observe you sup?' he said;
'Ah! tremble not; your will is law;
One question answer'd, I withdraw.
Am I not hideous in your eyes?'
'Your temper's sweet,' she mild replies.
'Yes, but I'm ugly, have no sense:'
'That's better far than vain pretense'
'Try to be happy, and at ease,'
Sigh'd Beast, 'as I will try to please.'
'Your outward form is scarcely seen
Since I arriv'd, so kind you've been.' "

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