صور الصفحة

Had ye been there—for what eould that have done?

What eould the Muse herself that Orpheus bore,

The Muse herself, for her enehanting son,

Whom universal Nature did lament, to

When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,

His gory visage down the stream was sent,

Down the swift Ilebrus to the Lesbian shore?

Alas! what boots it with ineessant eare
To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trado, 85
And strietly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it not better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Nesera's hair?

Fame is the spur that the elear spirit doth raise, 70

(That last infirmity of noble mind)

To seorn delights, and live laborious days;

But the fair guerdon when we hope to lind,

And think to burst out into sudden blaze,

Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, 75

And slits the thin-spun life. "But not tho praise,"

Phoebus replied, and toueh'd my trembling ears:

"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,

Nor in the glistering foil

Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies; 80

But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,.

And perfeet witness of all-judging Jove:

As he pronounees lastly on eaeh deed,

Of so mueh fame in heaven expeet thy meed."

O, fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd llood, 85
Smooth-sliding Mineius, erown'd with voeal reeds!
That strain I heard was of a higher mood:
But now my oat proeeeds,
And listens to the herald of the sea

That eame in Neptune's plea: 0u
He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain?

58. Orphens, torn in pieees by the Baeehanaiian women, ealled the reut.

07. As others use. Warton supposes that Miiton here had referenee to tho 8eoteh poet Buehanan, who unbeeomingly prolonged his amorous deseant to graver years, Amaryll,s and AV,ers art. ' two of Buehanan's lady-loves, and the golden hair of the latter makes qnite a figure in his verses. ln his last Elegy he raises the following exiravagant fietion on the luxuriant tanglesot this lady's haiv. Cupid is puzzled how to subdoe the iey poet. His arrews ean do nothing, At length ho hits upon th.- stratagem of eutting a golden loek, fr

than these; nor more justly instruet,ve and inspiring, 75. Fnry. Destiny.

70. Rut not the praise. "But the praise is not intereepted." Whiie the pr,et, in the eharaeter of a shepherd, is moraiixing on the uneertainty of human iite, Phu'bus interposes with asuhiime strain, above the tone of pastoral poetry. Ho then in an abrupt and elllptieal npostrophe, at "O fonutain Aretbuse." hastiiy reeolleets himself, and apolog)zes to bis rural Muse, or in other words to Arethusa n nd .Mineins, tho eelebrated stream' of Bueoiie song, for having so snddenly departed from i ast ,ral allusiona, and the tenor of his subjeet.—T. War1

Nen,ra's head, whiie she is asleep, with 8o. Arethuse: ree note t, iine ::l of whieh the poet is hound, and thus enbn,- l « Areades." Mineins is a stream inCisalyled he is deiivered a prisoner to Neters. pine ,Jaul, that flows into the Pe. near 70. Fame is tbe spue. No iines have Mantna, and Lsoften mentioned by Virgii been more often eited and more popular | 01. The felon winds, the ernel winds.

And question'd every gust of rugged wings

That blows from off eaeh beaked promontory:

They knew not of his story; 05

And sage Hippotades their answer brings,

That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd;

The air was ealm, and on the level brine

Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd.

It was that fatal and perfidious bark, 100

Built in the eelipse, and rigg'd with eurses dark,

That sunk so low that saered head of thine.

Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,
His mantle hairy, and his bounet sedge,
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 105
Like to that sanguine flower, inseribed with woe.
Ah! who hath reft, qnoth he, my dearest pledge?
Last eame, and last did go,
The pilot of the Galilean lake:

Two massy keys he bore of metals twain; no

The golden opes, the iron shuts amain:

He shook his mitred loeks, and stern bespake:—

How well eould I have spared for thee, young swain,

Enow of sueh, as for their bellies' sake

Creep, and intrude, and elimb into the fold! 115

Of other eare they little reekoning make,

Than how to seramble at the shearers' feast,

And shove away the worthy bidden guest!

Blind mouths! that searee themselves know how to hold

A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least 130

That to the faithful herdman's art belongs!

What reeks it them? What need they? They are sped;

And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs

04. Beaked promontory r one projeeting iike the beak of a bird.

00. lHpp'dades, a patronynde noun, appiied to .Dolus, the ged of winds, and son of Hippotas.

00. Panope, one of the Nereids.

100. That fatal hark. The ship in whieh "Lyeidas'' was wreeked.

103. Camus, the river Cam, that flowed oy Cambridge university, where Lyeidas Me. Ringl was edueated.

104. The hairy mantle and sedge bonnet may refer to the rushy or reedy hanks of the Cam; and the figuret dim, to the inlistinet and dusky streaks or sedge leaves or flags, when begiuning to wither, Wurton remarks that perhaps the poet himself had no very elear or deterndnate ldea; but in obseure and mysterious expressions, leaves something to be suppiied or explained by the reader's in,ngintGon.

lo0. 8angaineflowev. Commentators.'1 es Coleridge says, "have a notable triek ef passing sieeissimu pedibus {'with the driest feet'1 over really diffieult plaees.'' and no one hns remarked upon U:e "flower" here allnded te. l think it is

the Hyaeinth, said to have sprung from the bloed of the youth of that name, kiiled by Apolle. Ovid, a favourite author with Miiton, in deseribing this event, lMet . Lib. x. Fab. vi. iine 54.) uses almost the same langnage:—

"lpue Buos foiiU ,'r. r; et, at. il.

Flos Babel iilaorl)14mu."

That is, "the Ged himself inserIl,et his own lamentations upon ,ts leaves, and the flower has ai. ai. written upon R;" or, as Piiny explains it, its veins und fibres so run as to make the figure at, the Greek lnterjeetion of grief.

307. Drurtst plrdge. Chiidren were ealled by the Romans pignora, u pledgee."

100. The pilot: Petee. Tuu massykeyt: Allnding to Matt. xvi. 10.

114. Miiton here animadverts on the endowments of the ehureh, at the same time insinnating that they were shared by those only who songht the emolu ments of the saered offiee, to the exelusion of a learned and eonseientious elergy. Thus in Par,uiise Lost )iv. 102:)

8o elomB the Ilnt (rand «def into Oo0Vs .'old: 8o, ,inee, into bU rhumb lovd Btrellufte0tntb

Grate on their serannel pipes of wretehed straw:

The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed; 120

But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,

Rot inwardly, and foul eontagion spread:

Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw

Daily devours apaee, and nothing sed:

But that two-handed engine at the door 130

Stands ready to smite onee, and smite no more.

Return, Alpheus; the dread voieo is past,
That shrunk thy streams; return Sieilian Muse,
And eall the vales, and bid them hither east
Their bells, and flowerets of a thousand hues. 130
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart-star sparely looks;
Throw hither all your quaint enamell'd eyes,
That on the green turf suek the honied showers, 140
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
The tufted erow-toe, and pale jessamine,
The white pink, and the pansy freak'd with jet,
The glowing violet, 140
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
With eowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
And every flower that sad embroidory wears:
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,

And dalfadillies fill their eups with tears, 150

To strew the laureat herse where Lyeid lies.

For, so to interpose a little ease,

Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise;

Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas

Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd; 100

Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,

Where thou, perhaps, under the whelming tide,

Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;

Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied,

Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, leo

124. 8eraunel, thin, lean, meagre.

120. Nothing sed. Here Miiton prohably allndes to those prelates and elergy of the estabiished ehureh who enjoyed fat salaries without performing any duties; who -'sheared the sheep bat did not feed them." 8ed, for said.

100 and 131. ln these iines onr author antieipates the exeeution of Arehbishop Land, by a twoJ,anded engine, that is, the axe; insinnating that his death would remove all grievanees in reiigion, and eomplete the reformation of the ehureh.—Warton. Tho sense is, "Bat there wiil soon be an end of all these eviis; the axe is at hand to take off the head of him who has been the great abettor of these eorruptions of the gospei. This wiil be done by one stroke/'

133. Tkat sbrunk. ln other words, "that siieneed my pastoral poetry." The 8ieiiian muse is now to return, with all her store of rural imagery.—T. Warton.

130. Use, to freqoent, to inhabit.

138. 8wart-star, the dog-star, so ealled beeause it turns the eomplexion swart, or brown. )k, Browne, in his pastorals, "tho swart plowman."

154. Ah me) Here Me. Dunster observes, the burst of grief is infinitely beantiful, when properly eouneeted with what preeedes it, and to whieh it refers.

158. Monstrous world; that is, the sea, the world of monsters.

15:,I. Moist vows, onr vows aeeompanied with tears.

l)Xh liellerus was the name of a Cor-, nish giant. On the south-western shores

Where the great vision of the guarded mount
Looks toward Namaneos and Bayoha's hold;
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth:
And, 0 ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.

Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more; 10S
For Lyeidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor:
So sinks the day-star in the oeean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And trieks his beams, and with new-spangled ore n0
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lyeidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of Him that walk'd the waves;
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With neetar pure his oozv loeks lie laves, 170
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet soeieties,

That sing, and, singing, in their glory move, 180

And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.

Now, Lyeidas, the shepherds weep no more:

Heneeforth thou art the Genius or the shore,

In thy large reeompense, and shalt be good

To all that wander in that perilous flood. 180

Thus sang the uneouth swain to the oaks and rills,
While the still morn went out with sandals gray;
He toueh'd the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doriek lay:
And now the sun had streteh'd out all the hills, IIN
And now was dropt into the western bay:
At last he rose, and twiteh'd his mantle blue:
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new.

of Cornwall there is a stupendous piie of roek-work ealled the "giant's ehair;" and not for from Land's End is another most ro,nautie projeetion of roek, ealled 8t. Miehael's Monnt. There was a tradition that the "Vision" of 8t. Miehael, moated on this erag, or 8t. Miehael's ehair, appeared to some herndts. The sense of this and the following iines eouneeted with the preeeding, is this:—" Let every flower bo strewed on the hearse where Lyeidas iies, so as to flatter ourselves for a moment with the notion that his eorpse is present; and this lah mel) whiie the sens are wafting it here and there, whether beyond the Hebrides, or near these shores of Cornwall, 4e.

102. NuntoUtos is marked in the early editions of Merentor's Atlas a" in OaliiTia, on the north-we,t eoast of 8pain, near Cape Finisterre. Itayona is the strong eastle of the Freneh, in the southwestern extrendty of Franee, near the Pyrenees. ln that same atlas this eastle makes a very eonspienous figure.

103. Here is an apostrophe to the angel Miehael, seated on the gnarded mount. '' Oh angel, look no longer seaward to Namaneos and Bayona's hold: rather turn your eyes to another objeet: look homeward or landward: look towards your own eoast now. and view with pity the eorpse of the shipwreeked Lyeidas, floaiing thither."—T. Warton.

100. Hrep no more, Miiton, in this sndden and beautiful transition from the gloomy and mournful strain into that of hope and eomfort, indtates 8penser, in his Eleventh Eeloqne, where, VewaiiIng the death of s, me m)dden ef "/reat bloed ln terms of the utmost grief and dejeetion, he breaks out all at onee in the same mauner.—Tb)rr.

181. And wipe the tears. Lhl xxv. 8; Rev. vii. 17.

188. 8tops, the holes of a flnte.

180. This is a Doriek lay beeause Theoeritus and Mosehus had respeetively written a Bueoiie on the deaths of haphnis and Bion.

Tne partieular beanties of this eharming pastoral are too striking to need mueh deseanting upon; but what gives the greatest graee to the whole, is that natural and agreeable wildness and irregularity whieh run qnite through it, than whieh nothing eould be better suited to express the warm affeetion whieh Milton had for his friend, and the extreme grief he was in for the loss of him. Grief is eloqnent, but not formai.—Tuybel

Addison says, that he who desires to know whether he has a trne taste for history or not, should eonsider whether he is pleased with Livy's manner of telling a story; se, perhaps it may be said, that he who wishes to know whether he has a trne taste for poetry or not, should eonsider whether he is highly delighted or not with the perusal of Milton's "Lyeidae." If I might venture to plaee Milton's works, aeeording to their degrees of poetie exeellenee, it should be perhaps in the following order: Paradise Lost, Comus, 8amson Agonistes, Lyeidas, L'Allegro, I1 Penserose. The last three are in sueh an exqnisite strain, says Fen ton, that thongh he had left no other monuments of his genins behind him, his name had been immortai.—Jos. Warton.

In this pieee there is perhaps more poetry than sorrow: bnt let us read it for its poetry. It is trne, that passion plueks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, nor ealls upon Arethuse and Mineins, nor tells of "rough 8atyrs with eloven heel:" bnt poetry does this; and in the hands of Milton does it with a peeuliar and irresistible eharm. 8ubordinate poets exereise no invention, when they tell how a shepherd has lost his eompanion, and must feed his lloeks alone, withont any judge of his skill in piping: bnt Miiton dignifies and adorns these eommon artifieial ineidents with unexpeeted touehes of pieturesqne beanty, with the graees of sentiment, and with the novelties of original genins. It is objeeted "hero is no art, for there is nothing new." To say nothing that there may be art withont novelty, as well as novelty withont art, I must reply that this objeetion will vanish, if we eonsider the imagery whieh Milton hns raised from loeal eireumstanees. Not to repeat the use he has made of the mountains of Wales, the Isle of Man, and the river Dee, near whieh Lyeidas was shipwreeked; let us reeolleet the introduetion of the romantie superstition of 8t . Miehael's Mount in Cornwall, whieh overlooks the Irish 8ea, the fatal seene of his friend's disastev.

Rnt the poetry is not always uneouneeted with passion. The poet lavishly deseribes an aneient sepulehral rite, bnt it is made preparatory to a stroke of tenderness: he ealls for a variety of flowers to deeorate his friend's hearse, supposing that his body was present, and forgetting for a while that it was floating far off in the oeean. If he was drowned, it was some eonsolation that he was to reeeive the deeeneies of buriai. This is a pleasing deeeption: it is natural and pathetie. But the real eatastrophe reeurs; and this eireumstanee again opens a new vein of imagination.

Dv. Johnson eensures Milton for his allegorieal mode of tolling that he and Lyeidas studied together, under the fietitious images of rural employments, in whieh, he says, there ean bo no tenderness; and prefers Cowley's lamentation of the loss of Harvey, the eompanion of his labours, and the partuer of his diseoveries. I know not, if in this similarity of subjeet Cowley has more tenderness; I am sure he has less poetry: I will allow that he has more wit, and more smart simiies. The sense of our anthor's allegory on this oeeasion is obvions, and is just as intelligible as if he had used plain terms. It is a fietion, that, when Lyeidas died, the woods and eaves were deserted, and overgrown with wiid thyme and luxuriant vines, and that all their eehoes monrned; and that the green eopses

« السابقةمتابعة »