Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Girzy of Peterhead full of oil; “Now came still evening on, and twiyet ichthyologists tell a still stranger

light grey story, and class the whale, as well as Had in her sober livery all things clad; the above whalers, among the mam- Silence accompanied; for beast and bird, malia.

They to their grassy couch, these to their By the way, Mr Prendeville quotes

nests, from Newton a facetious note, in

Were slunk ;-all but the wakeful nightinillustration of what Milton says of the

gale ; fishes, that

She, all night long, her amorous descant

sung ; ( under rocks their food, Silence was pleased; now glow'd the firIn jointed armour watch."

mament 66 The shells of lobsters and old

With living såpphires ; Hesperus, that led

The starry host, rode brightest ; till the armour," quoth Lawnsleeves, “very

moon, much resemble one another." In Rising in clouded majesty, at length, the civil wars there was a regiment Apparent queen, unveild her peerless of horse so completely armed that

light, they were called “ Sir Arthur Hasel. And o'er the dark her silver mantle rig's lobsters." So, too, at Waterloo, threw." Shaw the life.guardsman, and others,

A beautiful passage, beyond ques. cracked the cuirassiers like lobsters.

tion-on which we have the following Nay, lobsters and soldiers are now

pote. synonymous and convertible terms

" This is the first evening in the poem; whence oecasional confusion; but in

and to this description of it I know nothe case of oysters 'tis otherwise, the

thing parallel or comparable in the trea. great distinction being kept up be.

sures of ancient or modern poetry. I can tween natives and settlers.

only recollect one description to be men. A page or two back we find Mr

tioned after this, a moonshiny night in Prendeville praising Milton for beat- Homer (II. viii. 551), where Mr Pope has ing Homer and Virgil out and out, by taken pains to make the translation as exmerely saying thrice, in place of twice cellent as the original :or once ; yet on a somewhat similar

“Ως δ' ότ' εν ουρανο αστρα φαεινήν αμφι σεληνην occasion he finds fault with Virgil for

Φαινετ' αριπρεπεα, ότε σ' επλετο νηνεμος αιθης, being too specific about the size of a Εκτ' εφανον πασαι σκοπιαι, και πρωονες ακρού, giant. Virgil, Æneid, vi. 596, describes Και ναπαι· ουρανοθεν δ' αρ' υπερράγη ασπιστος him as extending over nine acres ni Ang, “per tota novem cui jugera corpus Παντα δε τ' ειδεται άστρα γεγηθε δε φρένα porrigitur." Milton says of Satan, «ποιμη».

Milton leaves off where Homer begins.“ Lay floating many a rood.”

(N.)” Mr Prendeville says,-" The indefi- The pains taken by Mr Pope with nite description which Milton gives is this moon-shiny night" are too far better, in my opinion, than the pre. well-known to be much further nocise specification of dimensions in Vir- ticed ; but in what particulars are the gil, as the reader's imagination is not passages to be compared? They have confined to any particular measure. not a single image in common except We humbly think that nine acres of the shining of the moon; and as Milgiant is a fair allowance for any rea- ton leaves off where Homer begins, sonable reader's imagination. Sup. we think the note might be left out pose yourself jogging along on a con- altogether. Milton was more indebted stitutional drive, by the side of a giant to Nonnus, whom we shall have occaa quarter of an acre broad, and « ex

sion again to quote, than to Homer. tending over nine acres," and pulling Another censure of the old bard is to up at the waistband of his breeches, to be found in a note on Book v. c. 396. pay toll at a turnpike clapped down

"No fear lest dinner. cool.' These by the county since your last excụr

words have been censured as very undig. sion-pray, would you accuse Virgil nified; but I think Milton, who was very of too precise specification of dimen- temperate in his diet, wished to convey sions ? Homer is again brought in question and epicurean habits of his time. There

by them his low opinion of the luxurious in a note upon Book iv. c. 598. It is the celebrated description of Night. more undignified."

are many allusions in Homer and Virgil

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

man!

[ocr errors]

3

[ocr errors]

More undignified! God help the ing, and thence the ultimate cause of all

Voltaire is the critic who the mischief done during the evening sterimin makes the objection to Milton's want of Shrovetide-or with the etymolo

, 3 of dignity; and clever, witty, and gist mentioned in the first volume of cand shrewd as he was, we may holdth e the Diversions of Purley, who dedu

epical criticism of the author of the ced King Pepin from owig, by the inHenriade cheap enough.

genious genealogy of "brøsg, nais, We shall notice only one other se diaper, napkin, nipkin, pipkin, home , dem Homeric bit in Mr Prendeville. P. pippin.king, King Pippin.' " At alí L. Book i. 609.

events, we recommend him to adopt Millions of spirits for his fault amerced the theory that unscathed is derived Of Heaven."

from coxnong. Sir Walter Scott's “ Amerced here means deprived, from And hopest thou hence unscathed to the Greek αμερδω, αμερσω,

go.' How kind to conjugate for us, lest being clearly from the coxn@ny d'usvas El al we should not suspect whence comes

of Homer. We may clap it as a the

note on the first book of « Paradise

Lost,” line 613
Οφθαλμων μεν αμερσε, διδου δ'ηδειαν αοιδης!

“ Hath scathed the lofty pines”.
This note is taken from Patrick
Hume; but not xactly as Hume on which Newton has given an anno-
wrote it. He says, Amerced has tation, marked by the usual sagai ty
here a strange affinity with the Greek of that right reverend divine.
a quigdw to deprive, to take away," and Feeling less concerned for Virgil,
he translates the line from the Odys- we shall only rescue him from Mr
sey-" The muse amerced him of his · Prendeville on one occasion:-
eyes, but gave him the faculty of sing-

“ As the opening of hell's gates was an ing sweetly." Hume merely notices the

event so important to the future history of queer

coincidence of words drawn from such different sources-Prende

the poem, he describes it minutely and with

the most masterly force of expression; the ville boldly derives our word of Nor

laborious motion of the feet, and the harsh man law from the Greek. Amerce

discordant sound of the versification, and comes from amercier, signifying to the sudden breaks, heightened by the fine a man, to take from him his merx, frequent use of the letter r, are admirably as it does this very day in law, and expressive of the sense; and then when has as much to do with a pegaw, as it they are once flung open and for ever, the has with the river Mersey.

lines flow on with a pomp and swell wbich Poor Homer-or rather poor Saxon it requires a volume of breath to read with differs in another word. P. L. Book adequate effect. So after, when he de. viii. 258.

scribes the illimitable ocean, the various

pauses which the mind is obliged to make, “Gazed awhile the ample sky.' Here

express so many sections, so to speak, 'gazed' is classically used aetively, as

of its boundless proportions, and its many aya souan (from which it is derived,) some

ingredients. How petty, says Newton times is in Homer, to survey with won

very justly, is the following description of der.

hell's gates by Virgil compared with this ? Derived from «yozorecen! Why, it is

Æn. vi.nothing more nor less than Ge-sean,

Lis Horrisono stridentes cardine sacræ

Panduntur portæ."
the Anglo-Saxon for to see, and it is
used in its ordinary Anglo-Saxon con-

very pretty, though struction. It is treating us poor Sas.

we rather think it is quite the resenaghs badly, for this Hibernian edi. verse; but Virgil was not the poet

here imitated. Listen to Nonnustor to carry our indigenous roots to

the Greek market, already sufficiently Χειρι δ' ανοχλιζων αιδης ορφναιον οχηα Babae stocked and magnificently furnished Ευρυτερους πολεωνας εων' ωιξε μελαθρων forth with native commodities of its

διεσσυμενων δε βερεθρου own. If Mr Prendeville proceeds

Ταρταριον μυκημα Χαρωνιδες εκτυπου etymologizing in this manner, we shall

ogdan
soon expect to find pancake derived, in So sings the Panopolitan; and
the old Joe Miller fashion, from any

thus Milton
omne,
and xaxoy, malum, as being theim-

« On a sudden open fly mediate provocative of brandy-drink. With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,

.

te

here Him

[ocr errors]

6

emek

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

This may

be

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The infernal doors, and on their hinges fantry, used in the armies of Macedon, so grate

close as to present one solid mass, and very Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom formidable on even ground, but inferior to shook

the Roman legion on uneven ground, Of Erebus.”

where it was comparatively incapable of It is pretty plain that Virgil is not quick evolutions or steady' action. The to be blamed for not doing what he soldiers used immenselylong spears, whence did not want to do, or for not supply- the name, some think, (as Homer calls long ing the images borrowed by Milton poles or pikes phalanges,) and held their from Nonnus. Mr Prendeville might shields closely locked and clasped together, have noticed that among the books

or 'serried,' from

serrer, to which, in his “ Tractate on Education,

lock: some again derive phalanx from addressed to Samuel Hartleb,” he re

πελαζειν αγχι to approach closely. commended to be read, was this

φαλαγξ from πελαζειν αγχι! It is scarcely looked at poet; and perhaps,

a mighty pretty derivation as it if he had known where to read out of stands. Just as much as breeches the track pointed out by the herd of

comes from bear riches, or news from commentators, he might have found

N.E.W.S., North, East, West, and that Nonnus has not a little contribu. South, or toad.eater from toad and ted to “ Paradise Lost.” If he had eater, or Napoleon from Aw6120w, or also looked into that book which he arcint thee from a rowan tree, or learnedly calls Aratus's Diosemeia, avsgwos from arw sursum, triuw verto p. xvi., he there, too, might have dis- and at oculus, or any other of the incovered something wherewith better to genious conundrums with which dicenrich his notes. However, he was

tionaries and lexicons are stuffed. determined not to look beyond his

Somewhat further on we have some

more nose, not even so far as his Todd, thing about the phalanxlimited as that Miltonian prospect

Book vi. 1. 399. must be allowed to be.

"Cubic.' Though, strictly, to have been Where did Mr Prendeville learn cubic, it must have been as high as it was that Milton had ever any notion of broad; yet by poetic license it here means writing a poem upon Alfred ? In his four-square only, having that property of epistle to Mansus, he mentions his a cube to be equal in length on all sides. design of writing an epic poem on the P." subject of Arthur,(Prince Arthur here,

P. signifies Pearce. It might with promoted afterwards, p. 337, to the

no impropriety signify Poor Pedant. rank of King Arthur,) in which he

He wrote a paltry pamphlet cutting promises

up Bentley's edition of Milton, in Frangam Saxonicus Britonum sub which he thought he had the criticoMarte phalanges,

rum longe maximus at his mercy, and and his early fancy seems to have clung that such a twenty-fifth rate scholar to him to the very end ; the only allu- as he might insult on a peculiar dungsion to British affairs in all Paradise hillLost being to

The mighty scholiast, whose unwearied 66 What resounds

pains In fable or romance of Uther's son, Made Horace dull, and humbled MilBegirt with British or Armoric

ton's strains." koights." Let us remark, that of the peculiar his own particular ignorance. Bent

But in so doing he merely exposed kind of battalion-the phalanx--which Milton was to smash, Mr Prendeville ley had been idle enough to change has a somewhat strange idea.

in this line, cubic phalanx into mar

He derives the word in the following plea- above. Now, there certainly is some

tial phalanx, and Pearce replied as sant manner :

thing extremely ludicrous in the con“ Homer describes his warriors moving ception of an army of any kind, on in close phalanx, horrent with spear and angelic or gigantic, or merely human, shield. Il. iv. 281,

being as high in stature as it is long Δηϊον ες πολεμον πυκιναι κινυντο φαλαγγες and broad in depth and extent.

The Κυανεαι, σακεσιν τε και εγχεσι πεφρικυιαι.

angelic battle in Paradise Lost-dis(See after, of this Book, 563—565.) The plays little “judgment” enough in all phalanx was a compact.square body of in- conscience, as we have it, without

sure.

the clogging it with extraneous absurdi- mind the cheering persuasion, that in

ties; and Milton, who was beyond their affliction “ Providence was their

doubt a complete scholar, “ absolute guide.” This is very amiable in dear, - in all numbers," must not be accused kind, good Mr Prendeville ; but let toe of not understanding either Greek or us indulge the old blind poet in his

English words. “ Cubic" then, here, whim of ending Paradise Lost other. a has nothing to do with space. The

wise. And let Mr Prendeville rest ascubic phalanx is the phalanx cubic sured, that the memory of mankind is of numberas an editor of Livy (Mr not so weak as to be unable to retain Prendeville, we perceive by the title- the thought of “ Providence their page of his Milton, has edited Titus guide," for two seconds after it has Livius,) might know, was formed by been so solemnly enunciated by the cubic arithmetic-not by cubic mea. inspired bard.

“ Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the Let us, now our hand is in, give a

brooks few more samples of Mr Prendeville's

In Vallombrosa." critical powers.

Good old Bishop Newton opined “ that loss of Eden" “ It has been urged,” Mr Prendeville meant only loss of Paradise, which informs us," by some critics, that as in was in Eden, the whole being put for Vallombrosa the trees are mostly evera part, as a part is sometimes put for green, and therefore do not shed their the whole by the figure synecdoche. leaves all at once in the autumn, Mil

For,” said he," the last we read of ton is botanically wrong." Todd, it our first parents is, that they were still seems, justifies Milton by observing. in Eden

that the leaves drop off by degrees, as • Through Eden took their solitary way.'

the same leaves do not always con

tinue, and accumulate continually, and “ This explanation," says Mr Pren- this is tolerably clever in Todd.

But deville, though we can hardly believe Mr Prendeville comes to the defepce him, “ has been adopted in the best like a giant bold on Beamish's best, modern editions-most improperly," and exclaims, “ Milton must have seen quoth he ; and most improperly, quoth this famous valley, and, as being a

The poet plainly shows,” con- botanist, must have been aware of the tinues Mr Prendeville, « that it was nature of evergreens, and of the au. to the outer world, or part of the tumnal state of the foliage there, and earth outside Eden, to which they therefore made the comparison knowwere proceeding by the shortest route.ingly!” From this it would appear

This is not quite consistent with what that the objectors had not been aware he says in the last note of all, that that Milton had ever visited Tuscany, “ their steps were wandering, as they or that he was a botanist, or knew any did not know any particular way to thing of the nature of evergreens. take.” It seems that the four con. Having thus got the objectors on the cluding lines of the Paradise Lost hip, Mr Prendeville gives them all so have been the subject of much dis- many crossbuttocks thus-" In addi.. putem

tion I may state, that, besides ever56 The world was all before them, where greens, there are many other kinds of to choose

trees there, whose leaves drop off Their place of rest, and Providence their autumnally.” This note, it is eviguide.

dent, could, on no account, have been They hand in hand, with wandering steps spared. and slow,

- Tears such as angels weep,” Through Eden took their solitary way.”

“ That is, of a different kind from the Addison, it seems, thought the poem, tears of mortals,-so vi. 332, when from the want of sufficient dignity in

Satan is wounded by Michael, from the the last two lines, would better end

wound with the two preceding ; but Mr Prendeville fully agrees with those "A stream of nectarcus humour issuing who would retain these last lines, as

flow'd, conveying a melancholy picture, quite Sanguine, such as celestial spirits may in character with the condition of

bleed.' Adam and Eve, but would transpose “ So in Homer, Iliad, v. 340, the them, and thus leave on the reader's wounded divinity does not yield blood,

we.

[ocr errors]

;

their spears,

arms

[ocr errors]

ed up.

but a thinner substance called xwe.. It is not in the Introduction-nor is When the soldier pierced the side of there an Introduction. There are, our crucified Saviour with a spear, indeed, four stanzas of invocation. forthwith came there out water and The Red-Cross Knight was not in blood." Does Mr Prendeville mean to full career. If he had been, how say, that in that awful verse of St could poor Una, on her milk white John there is any allusion to other ass, have kept by bis side? They than a human issue? If he does, he were travelling along, quite leisurely, is most grossly ignorant of what up and down hill, at a steady avethe wound in the blessed side im

rage pace of about five miles an plied.

hour. Not even does “prick forth " 66. As when to warn proud cities, war

in prick forth the aëry knights,"

r6 appears

mean full career; for, don't you obWagod in the troubled sky, and armies. serve that they have not yet couched rush

their spears ? That done, then they To battle in the clouds ; before each van are in full career, like Eglinton and Prick forth the aery knights, and couch Waterford at the Tournament.

« Serbonis was a lake of two hun. Till thickest legions close ; with feats of dred furlongs long, and one thousand

incompass, between the ancient Mount From either end of heaven the welkin

Cassius and Damietta, a city of Egypt, burns :

on one of the more eastern mouths of 6. The belief of these portentous the Nile. It was surrounded on all signs was very ancient. Ovid. Met.

sides by hills of loose sand, which, xv. 782:

carried into the waters by high winds, Signa tamen luctus dant haud incerta so thickened the lake as not to be diss futuri.

tinguished from part of the continent. Arma ferunt nigras inter crepitantia nubes, Here whole armies have been swallow, Terribilesque tubas, auditaque cornua coolo,

See Herod. üi.; Lucan, Præmonuisse nefas.'

Pharsal. viii. 539." (See Tibullus. ii. v. 71.) So Virgil, Herodotus says nothing of whole Geor. i. 474:

armies having been swallowed up in Armorum sonitum, toto Germania cælo, the lake of Serbonis, nor, to the best Audiit, insolitis tremuerunt motibus

of our recollection, does Lucan ; but if Alpes.'"

he does, let Mr Prendeville give us a Who can read the above lines of Mil rap over the knuckles. If a lake one ton without feeling that all is visual, thousand furlongs in compass be two nothing audible? The battle in the hundred furlongs long, it must be clouds is silent. We have seen such three hundred furlongs broad, that is, -80, we hope, have you--in West. one half broader than it is long-a moreland night-skies. Wind there shape so absurd that we should be slow must have been aloft, but it was not to attribute it even to Serbonis. to be heard. Now, Mr Prendeville

I Aed, and cried out Death ! never witnessed such a stormful silence.

Hell trembled at the hideous name, and He vainly imagines that there was a

sigh'd loud noise of war; therefore he quotes from all her caves, and back resounded the trumpets and horns of Ovid, and Death!” armorum sonitum"

” of Virgil

Æn. ii. 53 sublime passages both, but the first ad

Insonuere dressing the ear chiefly, and the

cavæ, gemitumque dedere,

cavernæ.” second the ear solely. So much for parallel passages.

« There is a beautiful repetition siPrick forth,” that is, forward with milar to this of Death, in Virgit, (Geor. his spur in full career. Faëry Queen, iv. 525,) where the floating head of Introduction

Orpheus called out-Eurydice, which “ The goodly knight was pricking o'er the

the banks of the river echoed all plain.

along:Mr Prendeville. cannot quote the • Tum quoque marmoreum caput, à cerfirst line of the Faëry Queen.

vice revulsum, ! A gentle knight was pricking on the Gurgite quum medio portans, Eagrius plain,"

Hebrus

a

the

[ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »