صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

His inmost counsels from their destin'd aim.
But see the angry victor hath recallid

[ocr errors]

.

169. But see the angry victor too proud and obstinate ever to hath recall'd, &c.] Dr. Bentley acknowledge the Messiah for hath really made a very material their conqueror; as their rebelobjection to this and some other lion was raised on his account, passages of the poem, wherein they would never own his suthe good angels are represented, periority; they would rather as pursuing the rebel host with ascribe their defeat to the whole fire and thunderbolts down host of heaven than to him alone; through Chaos even to the gates or if they did indeed imagine of hell; as being contrary to their pursuers to be so many in the account, which the angel number, their fears multiplied Raphael gives to Adam in the them, and it serves admirably to sixth book. And it is certain express how much they were that there the good angels are terrified and confounded. In ordered to stand still only and book the sixth, 830, the noise of behold, and the Messiah alone his chariot is compared to the expels them out of heaven; and sound of a numerous host; and after he has expelled them, and perhaps they might think that a hell has closed upon them, vi. numerous host were really pur880.

suing. In one place indeed we

have Chaos speaking thus, ii.
Sole victor from th' expulsion of his

996.
foes
Messiah bis triumphal chariot turo'd:

--and hear'n gates
To meet him all his saints, who silent Pour'd out by millions her victorious
stood

bands
Eye-witnesses of his almighty acts, Pursuing;
With jubilee advanc'd.

But what a condition was Chaos
These accounts are plainly con in during the fall of the rebel
trary the one to the other : but angels ? See vi. 871.
the author doth not therefore
contradict himself, nor is one

Nine days they fell; confounded

Chaos roar'd,
part of his scheme inconsistent And felt tenfold confusion in their
with another. For it should be
considered, who are the persons

Through his wild anarchy, so huge a
that give these different accounts.
In book the sixth the angel

Incumber'd him with ruin.
Raphael is the speaker, and We must suppose him therefore
therefore his account may be to speak according to his own
depended upon as the genuine frighted and disturbed imagina-
and exact truth of the matter. tion; he might conceive that so
But in the other passages Satan much
himself or some of his angels

Ruin upon ruin, rout on rout, are the speakers ; and they were Confusion worse confounded

fall

rout

170

175

180

His ministers of vengeance and pursuit
Back to the gates of heav'n : the sulphurous hail
Shot after us in storm, o’erblown hath laid
The fiery surge, that from the precipice
Of heav'n receiv'd us falling ; and the thunder,
Wing'd with red lightning and impetuous rage,
Perhaps bath spent his shafts, and ceases now
To bellow through the vast and boundless deep.
Let us not slip th’occasion, whether scorn,
Or satiate fury yield it from our foe.
Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,
The seat of desolation, void of light,
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend
Frorn off the tossing of these fiery waves,
There rest, if any rest can harbour there,
And re-assembling our afflicted Powers,
Consult how we may henceforth most offend
Our enemy, our own loss how repair,
How overcome this dire calamity,
What reinforcement we may gain from hope,
If not what resolution from despair.

185

190

could not all be effected by a -wbere very desolation dwells. single hand : and what a sublime

T. Warlon. idea must it give us of the ter .186. —our afflicted Powers,) rors of the Messiah, that he The word afflicted here is intendalone should be as formidable as ed to be understood in the Latin if the whole host of heaven

sense, routed, ruined, utterly were pursuing! So that this broken. Richardson. seeming contradiction, upon ex 191. If not what resolution] amination, proves rather a beauty What reinforcement; to which than any blemish to the poem. is returned If not: a vicious syo

181. The seat of desolation,] tax: but the poet gave it If none. As in Comus, 428.

Bentley.

195

Thus Satan talking to his nearest mate
With head up-lift above the wave, and eyes
That sparkling blaz'd, his other parts besides
Prone on the flood, extended long and large
Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as huge
As whom the fables name of monstrous size,
Titanian, or Earth-born, that warr’d on Jove,
Briareos or Typhon, whom the den
By ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beast

200

193. With head up-lift above nounced as four syllables; and the wave, and eyes

not Briareus, which is proThat sparkling blaz'd, his other. nounced as three. parts besides

Et centum geminus Briareus. Prone on the flood,]

Virg. Æn. vi. 287. Somewhat like those lines in

And Briareus with all his bundred Virgil of two monstrous ser

hands.

Dryden. pents. Æn. ii. 206.

199. —or Typhon, whom the den Pectora quorum inter fluctus arrecta,

By ancient Tarsus held,] jubæque

Typhon is the same with TyphoSanguineæ exuperant undas; pars

ëus. That the den of Typhoëus cætera pontum Pone legit.

was in Cilicia, of which Tarsus

was a celebrated city, we are 196. Lay floating many a rood,] told by Pindar and Pomponius A food is the fourth part of an

Mela. I am much mistaken, if acre, so that the bulk of Satan

Milton did not make use of Far. is expressed by the same sort of

naby's note on Ovid, Met. v. 347. measure, as that of one of the

to which I refer the reader. He giants in Virgil, Æn. vi. 596.

took ancient Tarsus perhaps from Per tota porem cui jugera corpus Nonnus :

Porrigitur.
And also that of the old dragon

Ταρσος αειδομενη πρωτοττολις, , in Spenser. Faery Queen, b. i. which is quoted in Lloyd's Diccant. ii. st. 8.

tionary. Jortin. That with bis largeness measured

-θεων πολεμιος much land.

Τυφως εκατοντακαρανος" του σοσι 198. Titanian, or Earth-born,]

Κιλικιον θρεψεν πολυω-
yupoy artgor.

Pind. Py. i. 30.
-Genus antiquum terræ, Titania

E. pubes. Æn. vi. 580.

200. that sea-beast 199. Briareos] So Milton Leviathan, ] writes it, hat it may be pro The best critics seem now to be

Leviathan, which God of all his works
Created hugest that swim th’ ocean stream:
Him haply slumb’ring on the Norway foam
The pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff
Deeming some island, oft, as sea-men tell,

205

agreed, that the author of the Dr. Bentley reads nigh-founbook of Job by the leviathan der'd; but the common reading meant the crocodile; and Milton is better, because if (as the Doc. describes it in the same manner tor says) foundering is sinking partly as a fish and partly as a by a leaking in the ship, it beast, and attributes scales to it: would be of little use to the and yet by some things one pilot to fix his anchor on an would think that he took it island, the skiff would sink notrather for a whale, (as was the withstanding, if leaky. By nightgeneral opinion,) there being no founder'd Milton means overcrocodiles upon the coasts of taken by the night, and thence Norway, and what follows being - at a loss which way to sail. That related of the whale, but never, the poet speaks of what befel as I have heard, of the crocodile. the pilot by night, appears from

202. Created hugest, &c.] This ver. 207. while night invests the verse is found fault with as being sea. Milton, in his poem called too rough and absonous, but the Mask, uses the same phrase: that is not a fault but a beauty the two brothers having lost here, as it better expresses the their way in the wood, one of hugeness and unwieldiness of them says, the creature, and no doubt was

-for certain designed by the author.

Either some

one, like us, night202. -th'

stream :) founder'd, bere, &c. The Greek and Latin poets fre

Pearce. quently turn substantives into

205.

sea-men

tell,] adjectives. So Juvenal xi. 94. Words well added to obviate the according to the best copies,

incredibility of casting anchor

in this manner. Hume. Qualis in oceano Auctu testudo pa

That some fishes on the coast Littore ab oceano Gallis venientibus of Norway have been taken for

Jortin. islands, I suppose Milton had

learned from Olaus Magnus and 204.-night-founder'd skiff] other writers; and it is amply Some little boat, whose pilot confirmed by Pontoppidan's de. dares not proceed in his course scription of the Kraken in his for fear of the dark night; a account of rway, which are metaphor taken from a foundered authorities sufficient to justify a horse that can go no farther. poet, though perhaps not a pa. Hume.

tural historian.

ocean

as

taret : ver. 113.

210

With fixed anchor in his scaly rind Moors by his side under the lee, while night Invests the sea, and wished morn delays : So stretch'd out huge in length the Arch-Fiend lay Chain’d on the burning lake, nor ever thence Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will And high permission of all-ruling heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs, That with reiterated crimes he might Heap on himself damnation, while he sought Evil to others, and enrag'd might see How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shown On Man by him seduc'd, but on himself Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour’d.

215

220

207. Moors by his side under speaking of the moon, iv. 609. the lee,] Anchors by his side under wind. An instance this

And o'er the dark her silver mantle

threw among others of our author's affectation in the use of technical

209. So stretch'd out huge in terms.

length the Arsch-Fiend lay] The 207. —while night length of this verse, consisting Invests the sea,]

of so many monosyllables, and A much finer expression than pronounced so slowly, is excelumbris nor operit terras of Virgil, jently adapted to the subject that Æn. iv. 332. But our author it would describe. The tone is in this (as Mr. Thyer remarks) upon the first syllable in this alludes to the figurative de- line, the Arch-Fiend lay; wherescription of night used by as it was upon the last syllable the poets, particularly Spenser. of the word in ver. 156. th. ArchFaery Queen, b. i. cant. ii. st. 49. Fiend replied; a liberty that MilBy this the drooping day-light 'gan ton sometimes takes to proto fade,

nounce the same word with a And yield his room to sad succeeding different accentin different places.

night,
Who with her sable mantle 'gan to

We shall mark such word
shade

are to be pronounced with an The face of earth.

accent different from the common Milton also in the same taste

as

use.

« السابقةمتابعة »