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Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil, Athens the eye of Greece, mother of arts

calls it a well built city, sxTisvoy Tоλgov. Iliad. ii. 546. pure the air, and light the soil, Attica being a mountainous country, the soil was light and barren, and the air sharp and pure, and therefore said to be productive of sharp wits. την ευπρασίαν των ερων εν αυτῷ κατιδουσα, ότι φρονιμωτατους ανδρας οισει. Plato in Timæo, p. 24. vol. iii. edit. Serr. Athenis tenue cœlum, ex quo acutiores etiam putantur Attici. Cicero de Fato. iv. Athens the eye of Greece, and so Demosthenes somewhere calls it opus Exλados, but I cannot at present recollect the place; and in Justin it is called one of the two eyes of Greece, Sparta being the other, lib. v. cap. 8; and Catullus calls Sirmio the eye of islands, xxxii.

1.

Peninsularum Sirmio, insularumque
Ocelle:

but the metaphor is more properly applied to Athens than any other place, as it was the great seat of learning.

238. I cannot discover the passage in Demosthenes referred Aristotle to by Bp. Newton. (Rhetoric. lib. iii. c. x. s. 3.) cites a passage from a speech of Leptines, in which he conjures the

Athenians not to suffer Greece to become srgoplanuos, deprived of one of her eyes, by the extinction of Sparta. The Greek poets frequently used opeλμs in a metaphorical sense, for the lustre of superior excellence. As Aristophanes, Nub. 284. calls the sun σίδερος ομμα. Sappho describes the rose as οφθαλμος ανθέων, (see

240

Achilles Tatius De Leucip. and Clitoph. 1. ii.) and Pindar, Ol. 2. calls the ancestors of Theron Σικελιας οφθαλμος. The Latins have the same metaphor; as Cicero, Pro Leg. Manil. c. v. and in Catilin. iii. c. 10. and Velleius Paterculus, speaking of Pompey's defeat at Pharsalia. And so Ben Jonson terms Edinburgh,

The heart of Scotland, Britain's other eye. Dunster.

239.pure the air, and light the soil,] This is from Dio Chrysostom. See Spanheim on Callimachus, p. 444. De Attica cæteroquin dicit Dio Chrysost. Orat. vii. p. 87. var gae and xwear agatav, za tov aɛga novpov, esse enim regionem tenui solo, ac levem aerem, prout una voce λπтуsws eadem Attica, post Thucydidem nempe, pag. 2. a Galeno dicitur, goTgETT. cap. 7. Aeris autem λπτότητα eidem tribuit Aristides, Serm. Sacr. vi. p. 642. Athens

was built between two small hence it is called, in the Medea rivers, Cephisus and Ilissus; and of Euripides, ἱερων ποταμων πολις. See the chorus at the end of the third act. The effect of these waters upon the air is very poetically represented in the same

beautiful chorus.

Καλλιναου τ' επί Κηφισου ροας. Ταν Κυπριν κληίζουσιν αφύσαμεναν χωραν καταπνευσαι Μέτριας ανεμων ‘Ηδύπνοους αυρας.

Pulchrifluique ad Cephisi fluenta Venerem ferunt [ex Cephiso] exhaurientem, regionem perflasse,

And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City' or suburban, studious walks and shades;
See there the olive grove of Academe,

Mediocres ventorum Dulce spirantes auras.

Calton.

240.

-mother of arts And eloquence] Justin (1. v. c. 9.) terms Athens Patria communis Eloquentiæ. And (1. ii. c. 6.) he says, Literæ certe et facundia veluti templum Athenas habent. Cicero abounds in panegyrics upon this celebrated seat of learning and eloquence. See Cic. De Orator. 1. i. 13. ed. Proust. Brutus, s. 39, 26, 49. Orat. pro L. Flacc. 26. See also Roger Ascham, (English Works, Lond. 1771. p. 235.) Dunster.

242. -hospitable] So Diodorus describes the Athenians, πατριδα κοινον παιδευτήριον παρεχομενους πασιν ανθρωποις. 1. xiii. c. 27. The Athenians indeed were remarkable for their general hospitality towards strangers, for whose reception and accommodation they had particular officers called govor. Whilst the Lacedæmonians were noted for their ξενηλασίαις, or driving all strangers from their city. Thus Pericles according to Thucydides, Hist. ii. c. 39. την τε πολιν κοινήν παρεχοότε ξενηλασίαις απειργομεν τινα η μαθηματος, η θεαμα τος. Dunster.

μεν, και ουκ ἐστιν

244. See there the olive grove of Academe,

Plato's retirement, &c.] Επανελθών δε εις Αθήνας, διέτριβεν εν Ακαδημία, το δ' εστι γυμνασιον, προαστείον αλσώδες, απο τινος ήρωος ονο

ματθεν Ακαδήμου, καθα και Ευπολις εν Αστράτευτοις φησιν,

Εν ευσκιοις δρομοισιν Ακαδημου θεου. - και ετάφη εν τη Ακαδημία, ενθα par óber nai Aradnμaïen whornyoτον πλείστον χρόνον διετέλεσε φιλοσοreturned to Athens from his ρεύθη ή απ' αυτου αίρεσις. Being journey to Egypt, he settled himself in the Academy, a gymnasium or place of exercise in the suburbs of that city, beset with woods, taking name from Academus, one of the heroes, as Eupolis,

In sacred Academus' shady walks.

and he was buried in the Academy, where he continued most of his time teaching philosophy, whence the sect which sprung from him was called Academic. See Diogenes Laertius, and Stanley in the life of Plato. The Academy is always described as a woody shady place, as here in Laertius, and in Horace, ep. ii. ii. 45.

Atque inter sylvas Academi quærere

verum:

but Milton distinguishes it by the particular name of the olive grove of Academe, for the olive was particularly cultivated about Athens, being sacred to Minerva the goddess of the city, and he has besides the express authority of Aristophanes, ÑQλ, act iii.

scene 3.

Αλλ' εις Ακαδημίαν κατιων, ὑπο ταις μοριαις αποθρίξεις.

Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;

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Ludovicus de la Cerda in his notes upon Virgil observes, how often the ancient poets have made use of the comparison of the nightingale; Sophocles has it no less than seven times, Homer twice, and Euripides and several others: and we observed upon the Paradise Lost, how much Milton was delighted with the nightingale; no poet has introduced it so often, or spoken of it with such rapture as he; and perhaps there never was a verse more expressive of the harmony of this sweet bird than the following,

Trills her thick-warbled notes the

summer long.

So that upon the whole I believe it may be asserted, that Plato's Academy was never more beautifully described than here in a few lines by Milton. Cicero, who has laid the scene of one of his dialogues there, De Fin. lib. v. and had been himself upon the spot, has not painted it in more lively colours.

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245

244. Akenside has well sketched this Athenian scene in his Pleasures of Imagination, i. 715. The reader will find a good account of the Academy and of the other public gardens which were the resort of the learned at Athens, in Falconer's Historical view of the Taste for Gardening and laying-out Grounds among the nations of Antiquity, p. 30. The nightingale is with peculiar propriety introduced in the description of the Academe; in the neighbourhood of which (see Pausanias, 1. i. c. 30.) lay the scene of the Edipus Coloneus of Sophocles, and which he celebrates as particularly abounding in nightingales. Ed. Col. 17. and 703. Homer has a description of the song of this bird not unlike Milton's trills her thickwarbled notes;

-Πανδαρίου κουρη χλωρηίς αηδων

Ητε θαμα τρωπωσα χει πολυηχία pany. Odyss. xix. 521.

It is remarkable that Milton de

scribes the nightingale singing the summer long, when it is commonly supposed to sing only in the spring. Sappho calls it, (see the Scholiast on Soph. Electr. 148.)

Προς δ' αγγελος ιμερόφωνος αηδων. And Pliny says that its song continues in its greatest perfection only fifteen days, "afterwards, as summer advances, it loses all its variety and modulation." (1.x. 29.) So Shakespeare describes it as ceasing to sing as

There flow'ry hill Hymettus with the sound
Of bees industrious murmur oft invites

To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls

His whisp❜ring stream: within the walls then view 250
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:

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247. There

tus &c.] And so Valerius Flaccus calls it Florea juga Hymetti, Argonaut. v. 344. and the honey was so much esteemed and celebrated by the ancients, that it

was reckoned the best of the Attic honey, as the Attic honey was said to be the best in the world. The poets often speak of the murmur of the bees as inviting to sleep, Virg. Ecl. i. 56.

Sæpe levi somnum suadebit inire su

surro:

but Milton gives a more elegant turn to it, and says that it invites to studious musing, which was more proper indeed for his purpose, as he is here describing the Attic learning. 249. there Ilissus rolls His whisp'ring stream:] Mr. Calton and Mr. Thyer have observed with me, that Plato hath laid the scene of his Phæ

drus on the banks and at the spring of this pleasant river.χαριεντα γουν και καθαρα και διαφανη τα ύδατια φαινεται, Nonne hinc aquulæ puræ ac pellucidæ juSerr. vol. iii. p. 229. The philocundo murmure confluunt? Ed. sophical retreat at the springhead is beautifully described by Socrates and Phædrus are reprePlato in the next page, where sented sitting on a green bank shaded with a spreading plantain, of which Cicero hath said very prettily, that it seemeth to have grown not so much by the water which is described, as by Plato's eloquence; quæ mihi videtur non tam ipsa aquula, quæ describitur, quam Platonis oratione crevisse. De Orat. 1. 7.

253. Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next] Lyceum was another gymnasium of the Athenians, and was the school of Aristotle, who had been tutor to Alexander the Great, and was the founder of the sect of the Peripatetics, so called απο του περιπατειν from his walking and teaching philosophy. Stoa was the school of Zeno, whose disciples from the place had the name of Stoics; and this Stoa or portico, being adorned with variety of paintings, was called in Greek Пoixiλn or various, and here by Milton very

There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various-measur'd verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,

properly the painted Stoa. See
Diogenes Laertius in the lives of
Aristotle and Zeno. But there
is some reason to question, whe-
ther the Lyceum was within the
walls, as Milton asserts. For
Suidas says expressly, that it was
a place in the suburbs, built by
Pericles for the exercising of sol-
diers: and I find the scholiast
upon Aristophanes in the Irene
speaks of going into the Lyceum,
and going out of it again, and
returning back into the city:-
εις το Λυκειον εισιόντες-- και παλιν
εξίοντες εκ του Λυκείου, και απιοντές

εις την πολιν.

253. That the Lyceum stood without the walls clearly appears from the beginning of Plato's Lysis; see also Strabo, 1. ix. p. 397. Its establishment has been attributed both to Pisistratus and Pericles. (See Meursius, Athenæ Atticæ, l. ii. c. 3. and Plutarch's Life of Pericles.) The same writer (Sympos. viii. q. 4.) says, that it was dedicated to Apollo, as the god of healing, because health alone can furnish the requisite strength for the corporeal exercises of the place. From the epithets of Apollo, Auxios, Avenysyns, AUKOK Tovos, (not the wolfslaying God, but the extender of light, from Avxes or duzŋ, lux, and Exrew, as also Auxnyans signifies not born in Lyciu, but producer of light,) the Lyceum probably derived its name. The Stoa was

255

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257. Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,] Eolian charms, Eolia carmina, verses such as those of Alcæus and Sappho, who were both of Mitylene in Lesbos, an island belonging to the Æolians. Hor. Od. iii. xxx. 13.

Princeps Eolium carmen ad Italos
Deduxisse modos.

Od. iv. iii. 12.

Fingent Eolio camine nobilem. Dorian lyric odes, such as those of Pindar, who calls his Aegian oguryya the Dorian harp, Olymp. 1. 26. Δωρίῳ πεδίλῳ Dorian buskin, Olymp. iii. 9. Ang zou Dorian hymn, Pyth. viii. 29.

257. -charms] Our English word charm is derived from carmen; as are inchant and inDunster. cantation from canto. 258. And his who gave them breath, &c.] Our author agrees with those writers, who speak of Homer as the father of all kinds

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