Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

And surging waves, as mountains, to assault

214 Heav'n's highth, and with the center mix the pole..!

Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, peace, Said then th' omnific Word, your discord end : : Nor stay'd, but on the wings of Cherubim in Uplifted, in paternal glory rode

Far 214. And surging waves,] We is of the same strain with the fame have already given fome instances omnific Word's calming the tempeft where we thought that and and in in the Gospel, when he said to the have been misprinted the one for the raging fea, Peace, be fill, Mark IV. other: and I question whether in 39. And how elegantly has he turn'd this place we should not read in the commanding words filence and surging waves as mountains; for it peace, making one the first and the

seems better to say of the sea, Up other the lalt in the sentence, and from the bottom turn'd in surging thereby giving the greater force and waves, than Up from the bottom emphasis to both! And how nobly turn'd by surging waves.

has he concluded the verse with a 215

and with the center mix spondee or foot of two long syllables,

the pole) '['is certain that which is not a common measure in in Chaos was neither center nor pole; this place, but when it is used, it fo neither were there any mountains necessarily occasions a power proas in the preceding line; the Angel nunciation, and thereby fixes more does not say there were: He tells the attention of the reader! It is a Adam there was such confusion in beauty of the same kind as the sponChaos, as if on earth the sea in dee in the fifth place in Greek or mountainous waves Mould rise from Latin verses, of which there are its very bottom to assault Heaven, some memorable examples in Virgil, and mix the center of the globe as when he speaks of low valleys, with the extremities of it. The Georg. III. 276. apteft illustration he could possibly Saxa per et scopulos et depreffas have thought of to have given Adam

convalles : some idea of the thing Richardson. 216. Silence, ye troubled waves, or when he would describe the ma

and thou deep, peace,] How jesty of the Gods, Ecl. IV. 49. much does the brevity of the com Cara Dellm soboles, magnum Jovis mand add to the sublimity and ma

incrementum : jesty of it! It is the same kind of beauty that Longinus admires in the Æn. VIII. 679. Mosaic history of the creation. It - Penatibus, et magnis Diis:

[ocr errors]

Far into Chaos, and the world unborn;

220 For Chaos heard his voice: him all his train Follow'd in bright proceffion to behold Ceation, and the wonders of his might. Then stay'd the fervid wheels, and in his hand , He took the golden compasses, prepar'd

225

In a great caption and circumspection, They round the Chaos, round the En. II. 68.

world unborn Conftitit, atque oculis Phrygia ag

First deign'd their golden compasses

to turn ; mina circumspexit :

They thro' the deep chalk d out or a great interval between two men

our ample road, running, Æn. V. 320.

And broke the lawless empire of Proximus huic, longo sed proximus

the flood. intervallo,

Kennet's Life of Dionyfius. The learned and ingenious Mr. Up- The thought of the golden compasses

Richardfont. ron, in his Critical Observations, is conceived altogether in Homer's hath given us a parallel instance out of Shakespear, and says that no poet in this wonderful description. Ho

{pirit, and is a very noble incident did ever equal this beauty but Shake

mer, when he speaks of the Gods, spear. In Macbeth, Aá II.

ascribes to them several arms and What hath quench'd them, hath indruments with the same greatness giv'n me fire. Hark, peace.

of imagination. Let the reader only

peruse the description of Minerva's 224. - the fervid wheels,] Ho- Ægis or buckler in the fifth book, race's epithet, Od. I. I. 4.

with her spear which would overturn Metaque fervidis evitata rotis. whole squadrons, and her helmet

Hume. that was sufficient to cover an army 225. He took ebe golden compasses) drawn out of a hundred cities. The Prov. VIII. 27. When he prepared golden compasses in the above menthe Heavens I was there; when be tion'd paslage appear a very natural fet a compass upon the face of the deep. inftrument in the hand of him, Dionyf. Perieg. ad finem.

whom Plato somewhere calls the di.

vine geometrician. As poetry deΑυτοι γας τα πρωτα θεμειλια lights in clothing abtracted ideas in τορνωσανο, ,

allegories and sensible images, we Και βαθυν οιμον εδειξαν αμετρη- ind a magnificent defcription of the 7010 Jaacons.

creation form'd after the same man

ner

In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
This universe, and all created things:
One foot he center'd, and the other turn'd
Round through the vast profundity obscure,
And said, Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, 2:0
This be thy just circumference, O world.
Thus God the Heav'n created, thus the Earth,
Matter unform'd and void: Darkness profound
Cover'd th’abyss: but on the watry calm

His ner in one of the Prophets, wherein dise Loft may be called a larger fort he describes the almighty architect of paraphrase upon the first chapter as measuring the waters in the hol- of Genefis, Milton not only observes low of his hand, meting out the the same series and order, but preHeavens with his span, comprehend serves the very words as much as ing the dust of the earth in a mea. he can, as we may see in this and sure, weighing the mountains in other instances. In the beginning God fcales and the hills in a balance. created tbe Heaven and the Earth; Another of them describing the su- And the Earth was without form and preme Being in this great work of void, and darkness was upon tbe face creation represents him as laying the of the deep; and the Spirit of God foundations of the earth, and stretch- moved upon the face of the waters. ing a line upon it: and in another Gen. I. 1, 2. The poet says watry place as garnishing the Heavens, calm, as the Melliah had before îtretching out the north over the calmed the deep, ver. 216. and says empty place, and hanging the earth cutspread bis brooding wings inftead upon nothing. This last noble thought of moved, following the original Milton has express'd in the follow- rather than our translation. ing verse,

239. — then founded, then con And Earth self balanc'd on her that Meriah first purg'd downward

gleb'd &c.) Milton had faid center hung. Addison.

the infernal dregs which were ad232. Thus God the Heaven created, verse to life; and that then of things

&c] The reader will natu- friendly to life he founded and conrally remark how exactly Milton glob'd like to like, that is he caus'd copies Moses in his account of the them to assemble and associate togecreation. This seventh book of Para. ther: the reft, that is such things as

were

3

His brooding wings the Spi'rit of God outspread, 235
And vital virtue' infus’d, and vital warmth ?
Throughout the fluid mass, but downward purgid
The black tartareous cold infernal dregs
Adverse to life : then founded, then conglob'd
Like things to like, the rest to several place 240
Disparted, and between spun out the air,
And Earth self-balanc'd on her center hung.
Let there be light, faid God, and forthwith light

Ethereal, were not of the same nature and fit Cum paribus jungi res &c. for composing the earth, went off

Lucret. V. 438. to other places, perhaps to form the planets and fix'd stars. This seems

241.--and between spun out the air, to be Milton's meaning. Pearce.

And Earth self-balanc'd on her Here it will be of use to recar to the

center bung ] From Ovid Met. account in III. 708. The earthy, I. 12. but very much improv’d; watry, aery, and fiery particles, circumfuso pendebat in acre which before were blended promis. tellus cuously, were now combind and

Ponderibus librata suis. fix'd as a foundation ; for founded does either fignify that from fundare, 243. Let there be light, said God, or to melt from fundere ; this latter and forthwith light &c.} it cannot mean, 'twas already Auid. Gen. I. 3. And God said, Let' there Thus Pfal. LXXXIX. 11. As for be light; and there was light. This the world and the fulness thereof Thou is the passage that Longinus partibaft founded them. So Prov. III. 19. cularly admires; and no doubt its The Lord by wisdom bath founded the fublimity is greatly owing to its conearth. The rest must be something ciseness; but our poet inlarges upon different from the now elementary it, endevoring to give some account bodies, and that (III. 716.). is de- how light was created the first day, termin’d to be the ethereal quin- when the fun was not formed till teilence, of which the heavenly the fourth day. He says that it was luminous bodies were formid. fpher'd in a radiant cloud, and so

Richardson. journey'd round the earth in a cloudy Diffugere inde loci partes cæpere, tabernacle; and herein he is juftify'd paresque

by the authority of some commen

tators ;

[ocr errors]

250

Ethereal, firft of things, quintessence pure
Sprung from the deep, and from her native east 245
To journey through the aery gloom began,
Spher'd in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun
Was not; she in a cloudy tabernacle
Sojourn’d the while. God saw the light was good ;
And light from darkness by the hemisphere
Divided : light the day, and darkness night
He nam’d. Thus was the first day ev'n and morn:
Nor past uncelebrated, nor unsung
By the celestial quires, when orient light
Exhaling first from darkness they beheld;

Birthtators; though others think this light

249. God saw the light was was the light of the sun, which

good; &c.) What follows is shone as yet very imperfectly, and little more than the words of Moses did not appear in full lustre till the versify'd. And God saw the light that fourth day. It is most probable, it was good, and God divided ibe light that by light (as it was produc'd the from the darkness: Milton adds how firft day) we must not understand it was divided, by the bemisphere, the darting of rays from a luminous

And light from darkness by the body, such as do now proceed from the sun, but those particles of matter

hemisphere

Divided. which we call fire (whose properties we know are light and beat) which And God called the light day, and the Almighty produc'd, as a proper darkness be called night;

and the eveninftrument for the preparation and ing and morning were the firft day. digestion of other matter. So Bishop Gen. I. 4, 5. Patrick upon the text. However it 253. Nor paft uncelebrated, &c.] be, Milton's account is certainly very The beauties of description lie lo poetical, tho' you may not allow very thick, that it is almost imporit to be the most philosophical, and fible to enumerate them. The poet is agreeable to the description before has employ'd on them the whole quoted from Vida. See Mr. Thyer's energy of our tongue. The several note upon ver. 211.

great scenes of the creation rise up

to

225

« НазадПродовжити »