صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
Whilst the landskip round it measures;
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
Mountains, on whose barren breast
The labouring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim with daisies pide,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide:
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smoaks
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead:
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holyday,

Till the livelong daylight fail:
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,


and horns; the mower is whetting his scythe to begin his work; the milk-maid, whose business is of course at daybreak, comes abroad singing; the shepherd opens his fold, and takes the tale of his sheep, to see if any were lost in the night. Now for shepherds to tell tales, or to sing, is a circumstance trite, common, and general, and belonging only to ileal shepherds; nor do I know that such shepherds tell tales or sing more in the morning than at any other part of the day. Ahepherd taking the tale of his heep which are just unfolded, is a new image, correspondent and appropriate, beautifully descriptive of a period of time, is founded in fact, and is more pleasing as more natural.-WARTON. pide for pied, 77. Towers and battlements. This was the great mansion-house in Milton's early days. Lefore the old fashioned architeture had given way to modern arts and improvements. Turrets and battlements were conspicuous marks of the numerous new buildings of the reign of King Henry








VIII., and of some rather more ancient many of which yet remained in their original state, unchanged and undecayed. Where only a little is seen, more is left to the imagination. These symptoms of an old palace, especially when thus dis po ed, have a greater effect than a discovery of larger parts, and even a full display of the whole edifice. The embosomed battlements, and the spreading top of the tall grove, on which they reflect a reciprocal charm, still further interest the fancy, from the novelty of combination; while just enough of the towering structure is shown to make an accompaniment to the tuf.cd expanse of venerable verdure, and to compose a picturesque association. With respect to their rural residence, there was a coyres in our Gothic ancestors: modern seats are seldom so deeply ambushed-they disclose all their glories at once, and never excite expectation by en cealment. by gradual approaches, and by inter rupted appearances.-T. WARTON,

With stories told of many a feat,
How faery Mab the junkets eat:
She was pinch'd and pull'd, she sed;
And he, by friar's lantern led,
Tells how the drudging goblin swet,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-labourers could not end:
Then lies him down the lubbar fiend,
And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on;

102. Fuery Mab. See Shakspeare, Rom. and Juliet. Act I.. sc. iv. This bewitch ing fancy sketch of Queen Mab is quoted in “Compendium of English Literature," p. 139.

103. He was pinch'd. He and she are persons of the company assembled to spend the evening after a country wake at a rural junket.-T. WARTON.

104. Friar's lantern is the Jack-o'-lantern, which led people in the night into marshes and waters. Milton gives the philosophy of this superstition, "Para dise Lost." (ix. 634-642.) In the midst of a solemn and learned enarration, his strong imagination could not resist a romantic tradition consecrated by popular credulity.-T. WARTON,

105. Drudging goblin. This goblin is Robin Goodfellow. His cream-bowl was earned, and he paid the punctuality of those by whom it was duly placed for his refection, by the service of threshing with his invisible fairy flail, in one night, and before the dawn of day, a quantity







of corn in the barn, which could not have been threshed in so short a time by ten labourers. He then returns into the house, fatigued with his task; and, overcharged with his reward of the creambowl, throws himself before the fire, and, stretched along the whole breadth of the fire-place, basks till the morning.-T. WARTON.

117. Tower'd cities, &c. Then, that is, at night. The poet returns from his digression, perhaps disproportionately prolix, concerning the feats of fairies and goblins, which protract the conversation over the spicy bowl of a village-supper, to enumerate other pleasures or amusements of the night or evening. Then is, in this line, a repetition of the first Then," line 100. Afterwards, we have another "Then." with the same sense and reference, line 131. Here, too, is a transition from mirth in the country to mirth in the city.-T. WARTON.

120. Triumphs: Shows, masks, revels.

Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever, against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning;
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;

That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains, as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice.

These delights, if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

142. The melting voice, &c. Milton's meaning is not, that the senses are enchained or amazed by music; but that, as the voice of the singer runs through 'he manifold mazes or intricacies of sound, all the chains are untwisted





which imprison and entangle the hidden soul, the essence or perfection of har mony. In common sense, let music be made to show all, even her most hidden powers.-T. WARTON.



HENCE, vain deluding Joys,

The brood of Folly without father bred!
How little you bested,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless

As the gay motes that people the sun-beams;
Or likest hovering dreams,

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail, thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Hail, divinest Melancholy!
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue;
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above

The Sea-Nymphs, and their powers offended:
Yet thou art higher far descended:

Thee bright-hair'd Vesta, long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;

His daughter she; in Saturn's reign,
Such mixture was not held a stain:
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove.


19. That starr'd Ethiop queen. Cassiope, as we learn from Apollodorus, was the wife of Cepheus, King of Ethiopia. She bosted herself to be more beautiful than the Nereids, and challenged them to a trial, who, in revenge, persuaded eptune to send a prodigious whale into Ethiopia. To appease them, she was directed to expose her daughter An romeda to the monster; but Perseus delivered





10. Fickle: Transitory, perpetually | Andromeda, of whom he was enamoured, shifting. Pensioners: train, attendants. and transported Cassiope into heaven, 18. Memnon's sister: that is, an Ethi where she became a constellation. Hence opian princess, or sable beauty. Mem- she is called “that starr'd Ethicp queen.” non, King of Ethiopia, and an auxiliary-T. WARTON. of the Trojans, was slain by Achilles.

25. His daughter she. The meaning of Milton's allegory is, that Melancholy is the daughter of Genius, which is typified by the bright-hair'd" goddess of the eternal fire. Saturn, the father, is the god of saturnine dispositions, of pensive and gloomy minds.-T. WARTON.

30. Before Saturn was driven from his ancient kingdom by his son Jupiter. nursed on mount Ida.

Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestick train,
And sable stole of Cyprus lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait;
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
There, held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till
With a sad leaden downward cast
Thou fix them on the earth as fast:
And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring

Aye round about Jove's altar sing.
And add to these retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure:
But first and chiefest with thee bring,
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The Cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist along,
'Less Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night,
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke,
Gently o'er the accustom'd oak:

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy!
Thee, chauntress, oft, the woods among,
I woo, to hear thy even-song;
And, missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering moon
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way;

35. Cyprus lawn, a veil of a thin, transparent texture.

36. Decent: Not exposed, covered. 54. Cherub Contemplation. By contemplation, is here meant that stretch of thought, by which the mind ascends to the first good, first perfect, and first fair; and is therefore very properly said to "soar on golden wing, guiding the fiery wheeled throne:" that is, to take a high and glorious flight, carrying bright ideas of Deity along with it. But the whole imagery alludes to the cherubic forms

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

that conveyed the fiery-wheeled car in Ezekiel, x. 2. See also Milton himself, "Paradise Lost," (vi. 750:) so that nothing can be greater or juster than this idea of "divine Contemplation."-HURD.

55. Mute Silence. I always admired this and the seventeen following lines with excessive delight. There is a spell in it, which goes far beyond mere description: it is the very perfection of ideal and picturesque and contemplativ poetry.-BRYDGES. *

« السابقةمتابعة »