Зображення сторінки

But neither here seek I, no nor in Heaven
Todwell, unless by mast'ring Heav'n's Supreme; 125
Nor hope to be myself less miserable
By what I seek, but others to make such
As I, though thereby worse to mę rędound :
For only in destroying I find ease
To my relentless thoughts ; and him destroy'd, 130
Or won to what may work his utter loss,
For whom all this was made, all this will soon
Follow, as to him link'd in weal or woe,
In woe then ; that destruction wide may range:
To me shall be the glory sole among

Th’infernal Pow'rs, in one day to have marr'd
What he Almighty stild, six nights and days
Continued making, and who knows how long
Before had been contriving, though perhaps
Not longer than since I in one night freed 140
From servitude inglorious well nigh half
Th’angelic name, and thinner left the throng


and in the preceding book we have remarks) that the syntax requires to it upon an adjective, VIII. 472. make such as me: But may not the That what seem'd fair in all the verb fubftantive am be understood, world, seem'd now

to make others fuch as I am ? and is Mean.

such an abbreviation uncommon? 127. but others to make such 146.

if they at least As I,] It is true (as Dr. Bentley Are his created,] He questions whe


Of his adorers: he to be aveng'd,
And to repair his numbers thus impair’d,
Whether such virtue spent of old now fail'd 145
More Angels to create, if they at least
Are his created, or to spite us more,
Determin’d to advance into our room
A creature form'd of earth, and him endow,
Exalted from so base original,

With heav'nly spoils, our spoils : What he decreed
He'effected; Man he made, and for him built
Magnificent this world, and earth his seat,
Him lord pronounc'd, and, O indignity!
Subjected to his service Angel wings,

155 And flaming ministers to watch and tend Their earthly charge; Of these the vigilance I dread, and to elude, thus wrapt in mist Of midnight vapor glide obscure, and pry In every bush and brake, where hap may find 160 The serpent sleeping, in whose mazy


To ther the Angels were created by God; By our own quick’ning pow'r. he had before afferted, that they were not, to the Angels themselves, He maketh his Angel: spirits, and

156. And flaming minifters] For We know no time when we were

his ministers & flaming fire. Pfal. not as now; Know none before us, self-begot, Dr. Bentley reads, in bis mazy folds.

in whose mazy folds] felf-rais'd

164. — am


CIV. 4


Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The sun was sunk, and after him the star Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter


'Twixt 50. fort arbiter

find an abridgement of the whole Twixt day and night,] This ex- story as collected out of the ancient pression was probably

borrow'd from historians, and as it was received the beginning of Sir Philip Sidney's among the Romans, in Dionyfius Arcadia, where speaking of the sun Halicarnaffeus. Since none of the about the time of the equinox, he critics have consider'd Virgil's fable, calls him an indifferent arbiter be- with relation to this history of Æneas; tween the night and the day. it may not perhaps be amiss to exa

53. When Satan who late fled &c.] min it in this light, so far as regards If we look into the three great my present purpose. Whoever looks heroic poems which have appeared into the abridgement above menin the world, we may observe that tiond, will find that the character they are built upon very slight foun- of Æneas is filled with piety to the dations. Homer lived near 300 years Gods, and a superstitious observation after the Trojan war; and, as the of prodigies, oracles and predictions. writing of hiitory was not then in Virgil has not only preserved this use among the Greeks, we may very character in the person of Æneas, well fuppose, that the tradition of but has given a place in his poem to Achilles and Ulysses had brought those particular prophecies, which down but very few particulars to his he found recorded of him in history knowledge; tho’ there is no question and tradition. The poet took the but he has wrought into his two matters of fact as they came down poems such of their remarkable ad- to him, and circumitanced them ventures, as were still talked of after his own manner, to make them among his contemporaries. The story appear the more natural, agreeable of Æneas, on which Virgil founded or surprising. I believe very many his poem, was likewise very bare of readers bave been shocked at that circumstances, and by that means ludicrous prophecy which one of the afforded him an opportunity of em. Harpyies pronounces to the Trojans bellishing it with fiction, and giving in the third book, namely, that bea full range to his own invention. fore they had built their intended We find however that he has inter- city, they should be reduced by hunwoven in the course of his fable ger to eat their very tables. But the principal particulars which were when they hear that this was one generally believed among the Ro- of the circumstances that had been mans of Æneas's voyage and settle transmitted to the Romans in the ment in Italy. The reader may history of Ænoas, they will think


'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd th' horizon round:
When Satan who late fled before the threats
Of Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd

In the poet did very well in taking whole Æneid, and has given offense

notice of it. The historian above to several critics, may be accounted : mention'd acquaints us, a prophetess for the same way. Virgil himself,

had foretold Æneas, that he Tould before he begins that relation, pretake his voyage westward, till his mises, that what he was going to companions should eat their tables ; tell appeared incredible, but that it

and that accordingly, upon his land- was justified by tradition. What :ing in Italy, as they were eating farther confirms me that this change

their flesh upon cakes of bread, for of the feet was a celebrated circumwant of other conveniencies, they stance in the history of Æneas is, afterwards fed on the cakes them that Ovid has given a place to the

felves ; upon which one of the com- same metamorphosis in his account · pany said merrily, We are eating our of the Heathen mythology. None

tables. They immediately took the of the critics I have met with hint, says the historian, and concluded having considered the fable of the the prophecy to be fulfill'd. As Æneid in this light, and taken noVirgil did not think it proper to tice how the tradition, on which it

omit fo material a particular in the was founded, authorizes those parts - history of Æneas, it may be worth in it which appear most exceptiona

while to consider with how much ble; I hope the length of this rejudgment he has qualified it, and flection will not make it unacceptable takes off every thing that might to the curious part of my readers. have appeared improper for a paf- The history, which was the bafis of fage in an heroic poem. The pro- Milton's poem, is still shorter than phetess who foretells it is an hungry either that of the Iliad or Aneid. Harpy, as the person who discovers The poet has likewise taken care to it is young Ascanius :

insert every circumstance of it in

The ninth Heus etiam mensas consumimus, in the body of his fable. quit lülus.

book, which we are here to consider,

is raised upon that brief account in Sach an observation, which is beau- Scripture, wherein we are told that tiful in the mouth of a boy, would the Serpent was more fubtle than have been ridiculous from any other any beast of the field, that he tempted of the company. I am apt to think the woman to eat of the forbidden that the changing of the Trojan fruit, that she was overtone by this fleet into water-nymphs, which is temptation, and that Adam followed the most violent machine in the her example. From these few par

I 2


In meditated fraud and malice, bent

55 On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd. By night he fled, and at midnight return'd From compassing the earth, cautious of day, Since Uriel regent of the sun descry'd

60 His entrance, and forewarn’d the Cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven, The space of sev’n continued nights he rode With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line

He ticulars, Milton has formed one of nature of every creature, and found the mot entertaining fables that in- out one which was the most proper vention ever produced. He has dif- for his purpose, he again returns to posed of these several circumstances Paradise ; and to avoid discovery, among so many beautiful and natu- sinks by night with a river that ran ral fičtions of his own, that his under the garden, and rises up again whole story looks only like a com- through a fountain that issued from ment upon sacred Writ

, or rather it by the tree of life. The poet, seems to be a full and complete re- who, as we have before taken notice, lation of what the other is only an speaks as little as possible in his own epitome. I have infifted the longer person, and after the example of on this consideration, as I look upon Homer fills every part of his work the disposition and contrivance of with manners and characters, introthe fable to be the principal beauty duces a soliloquy of this infernal of the ninth book, which has more agent, who was thus restless in the story in it, and is fuller of incidents, destruction of Man. He is then than any other in the whole poem. described as gliding through the Satan's traversing the globe, and still garden, under the resemblance of a keeping within the thadow of the milt, in order to find out that creanight, as fearing to be discover'd by ture in which he design'd to tempo the Angel of the fun, who had be- our first parents. This description has fore detected him, is one of those something in it very poetical and beautiful imaginations, with which surprising. Addison. he introduces this his second series of 63. The space of fev'n continued adventures. Having examin’d the nights be rode

« НазадПродовжити »