Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

gray

the gray

His longitude through Heav'n's high road ; the
Dawn, and the Pleiades before him danc'd
Shedding sweet influence : less bright the moon, 375
But opposit in level'd west was set
His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
From him, for other light she needed none
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
Till night, then in the east her turn she shines, 380
Revolv'd on Heav'n's great axle, and her reign

With 373.

fun at his creation, intimates very Dawn, and the Pleiades before him plainly that the creation was in the danc'd

spring according to the common Shedding fweet influence :] These opinion. Virg. Georg. II. 338, &c. are beautiful images, and very much Ver illud erat; ver magnus resemble the famous picture of the

agebat morning by Guido, where the fun

Orbis, et hibernis parcebant flatibus is represented in his chariot, with

Euri, the Aurora flying before him shed

Cum primæ lucem pecudes hauding flowers, and seven beautiful

sere, &c. nymph-like figures dancing before and about his chariot, which are And when he farther adds shedding commonly taken for the Hours, but fweet influence, it is in allusion to posibly may be the Pleiades, as they Job XXXVIII. 31. Canft thou bind are seven in number, and it is not the sweet influences of Pleiades ? easy to assign a reason why the Hours should be signified by that number 387. And God said, &c.] This particularly. The picture is on a and eleven verses following are alcieling at Rome; but there are copies most word for word from Genesis I. of it in England, and an excellent 20, 21, 22. And God said, Let the print by Jac. Frey: The Pleiades waters bring forth abundantly the are seven stars in the neck of the moving creature that hath life, and constellation Taurus, which rising fowl ihat may fly above the earth in about the time of the vernal equi- the open firmament of Heaven. And nox, are called by the Latins Ver- God created great whales, and every giliæ. Oar poet therefore in faying living creature that moveth, which that the Pleiades danc'd before the the waters brought forth abundantly,

With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand stars, that then appear'd
Spangling the hemisphere: then first adorn’d
With their bright luminaries that set and rose, 385
Glad evening and glad morn crown'd the fourth day..

And God said, Let the waters generate
Reptil with spawn abundant, living soul:
And let fowl fly above the earth, with wings
Display'd on the open firmament of Heaven.

390

And efter their kind, and every winged creatures as move in the waters, fowl after bis kind: and God saw (see Le Clerc's note on Gen. I. 20.) that it was good. And God bleffed and by creeping thing mention'd in tbem, saying, Be fruitful and multi- the fixth day's creation he means ph, and fill the waters in the seas, creeping things of the earth; for so and let fowl multiply in the earth. both in Milton's account, ver. 452. This is the general account of the and in Gen. I. 24. the words of the fifth day's creation, and the poet earth are to be join'd in construction afterwards branches it out into the to creeping thing. Hence the Doctor's several particulars.

objection is answer'd by saying that

they were not the same creeping 389. Reptil with spawn abundant, things which Milton mentions in the

living soul:] By reptil is two places. But let us hear how meant creeping thing; and according the Doctor proposes to mend the to the marginal reading of our Eng passage, lih verfion, Gen. I. 20. (which fol.

Let the waters generate, lows the LXX verfion here) creeping Replete with spawn abundant, living things are said to have been created

soul : on this fifth day. Le Clerc too with the generality of interpreters renders This reading cannot possibly be adthe Hebrew word by reptil. To this mitted, without making Milton's Dr. Bentley objects that creeping words imply (contrary to the fact) things were created on the fixth that the spawn was præexistent to day, according to the account given this fifth day's creation, and the us both by Moses and by Milton waters were replete with it, before himself. But by repril or creeping God said Let the waters generate &c. ibing here Milton means all luch

Pearce.

400, With

And God created the great whales, and each
Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously
The waters generated by their kinds,
And

every bird of wing after his kind; 394
And saw that it was good, and bless’d them, saying,
Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas
And lakes and running streams the waters fill;
And let the fowl be multiply'd on th' earth.
Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay
With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals 400

Of 400. With fry innumerable fwarm, 402: - in sculls that oft

&c.] One would wonder Bank the mid sea :) Shoals of fish how the poet could be so concise in fo vast, that they appear like mighty his description of the six days works, banks in the midst of the sea. Sculís as to comprehend them within the and shoals are valt multitudes of fish, bounds of an episode, and at the of the Saxon freole, an assembiy. same time so particular, as to give

Hume. as a lively idea of them. This is Shoals in sculls seems an odd exprefAill more remarkable in his account fion; would not shoals and sculls be of the fifth and fixth days, in which

better? he has drawn out to our view the whole animal creation from the rep- 404. - and through groves til to the behemoth. As the lion Of coral ftray,] Coral is a proand the leviathan are two of the duction of the sea, and is commonly noblest productions in the world of rank'd among the number of marine living creatures, the reader will find plants. The learned Kercher fupa molt exquisite spirit of poetry in poses entire forests of it to grow at the account which our author gives the bottom of the sea, which may us of them. The fixth day concludes justify our author's expression of with the formation of Man, upon groves of Coral. The Ancients bewhich the Angel takes occafion, as liev'd that it was soft under the wahe did after the battel in Heaven, ter and harden'd in the air. Ovid to remind Adam of his obedience, has express'd this notion very pret. which was the principal design of tily in Met. IV. 750. this his visit. Addi for.

Nunc

Of filh that with their fins and shining scales
Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft
Bank the mid sea : part single or with mate
Graze the sea weed their pasture, and through groves
Of coral stray, or sporting with quick glance 405
Show to the sun their wav'd coats dropt with gold,
Or in their pearly shells at ease, attend
Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food
In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal,
And bended dolphins play: part huge of bulk

410

WalNunc quoque curaliis eadem natura much resemble one another; and in remansit,

the civil wars there was a regiment Duritiem tacto capiant ut ab aëre ; of horse so completely arm'd, that quodque

they were call'd Sir Arthur Halle. Vimen in æquore erat, fiat super rig's lobflers. Poflibly Milton might

be thinking of them at this very time,

409. on smooth the seal, The pliant sprays of coral yet de

And bended dolphins play:) The clare Their ftifning nature, when exposid observed to sport on fmooth seas in

seal or sea-calf and the dolphin are to air. Those sprays, which did like

calm weather. The dolphin is called

bended, not that he really is so more bending ofiers move,

than any other fish, but only appears Snatch'd from their element, obdurate prove,

crooked, as he forms an arch by And Arubs beneath the waves,

leaping out of the water and instantly

dropping into it again with his head grow stones above, Eufden.

foremost. Ovid therefore describes But later discoveries have shown that him tergo delphina recurvo. Falt. II. only the extremities of the branches 113. and his sportive nature is al. are a little loft in the water, and luded to by Virgil

. Æn. V. 594. foon petrify in the air.

Delphinum fimiles; qui per maria 409. In jointed armour] The rea

humida nando der cannot but be pleas'd with the Carpathium Libycumque fecant, beauty of this metaphor. The shells

luduntque per undas, of lobsters &c, and armour very

And

æquora saxum.

Wallowing unwieldy', enormous in their gate
Tempest the ocean: there leviathan,
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep
Stretch'd like a promontory sleeps or swims
And seems a moving land, and at his gills

413
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out a sea.
Mean while the tepid caves, and fens and shores
Their brood as numerous hatch, from th'

ess

that foon

Bursting And how smooth is the verse that beft critics and commentators upon describes the seal and dolphin sport- Job by the leviathan understand the ing upon the smooth water! crocodile, and Milton in several paron smooth the seal,

ticulars describes the leviathan like And bended dolphins play:

the author of the book of Job, and

yet by others it seems as if he It is much finer than if it had all meant the whale. See the note upon been express 'd in a single line. The Book I. 200. verse is bent, as I may fay, to be 416. and at his trunk spouts out better suited to the bended dolphin:

a sea.] as in the rough measures following Et acceptum patulis mare naribus one almoft fees porpoiles and other

efflant. Ovid. Met. III. 686. unwieldy creatures cumbling about in the ocean.

421. They fumm'd their pens,] Pens 4!2. Tempest the ocean:) Milton from penna a feather. Summ'd is a has here with very great art and term in falconry; a hawk is said to

be full summ'd, when his feathers propriety adopted the Italian verb tempeftare. He could not possibly are grown to their full strength. So have expressed this idea in mere

Par. Reg. I. 14: English without some kind of cir- With prosp'rous wing full summ’d. cumlocution, which would have

Richardson. weaken'd and enervated that energy 422. With clang despis'd the ground, of expression which this part of his under a cloud description requir'd. Besides no In propeat;] That is, the birds were word could be more proper in the so many that the ground, from whence beginning of the verse to make it they rose, would have appeared to labor like the troubled ocean, which be under a cloud, if one had seen he is painting out. Thyer. it at a distance: in this sense we have 412, there leviathan,] The ver. 555 bow it (the world) fhow'd

« НазадПродовжити »