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Nec satis hoc visum est in utrumque, et nec pia cessant
Innocenti, and other poems. See p. 68, 82, 89, 90. Marino died at Naples in 1625, aged fiftysix.
22.-Mycalen qui natus ad altam, &c.] Herodotus, who wrote the Life of Homer. He was a native of Caria, where Mycale is a mountain. It is among those famous hills that blazed in Phaeton's conflagration, Ovid, Metam. ii. 223. The allusion is happy, as it draws with it an implicit comparison between Tasso and Homer.
22. I have corrected the note on this verse after Bp. Mant in his Life of Warton. It is, however, doubtful whether the lonic Life of Homer was written by Herodotus; it is often ascribed to Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Mycale, which is on the coast of
Ionia, is little connected with either of them. E.
28. Quæ nuper gelida, &c.] An insinuation, that cold climates are unfriendly to genius. As in Par. Lost, b. ix. 44.
Climate, or years damp my intended wing, &c.
See note on El. v. 6.
30. Nos etiam in nostro modulantes flumine cygnos, &c.] We northern men are not so unpoetical a race. Even we have the melodious swan on our Thames, &c.
32. Qua Thamesis, &c.] Spenser. Hurd.
This very probable supposition may be further illustrated. Spenser was born in London, before described as the "Urbs reflua " quam Thamesis alluit unda."
Oceani glaucos perfundit gurgite crines:
Sed neque nos genus incultum, nec inutile Phoebo,
El. i. 9. And he is properly ranked with Chaucer. And the allusion may be to Spenser's Epithalamium of Thames, a long Episode in the Fairy Queen, iv. xi. 8. See also his Prothalamium.
34. Quin et in has quondam pervenit Tityrus oras.] Like me too, Chaucer travelled into Italy. In Spenser's Pastorals, Chaucer is constantly called Tityrus.
38. Nos etiam colimus Phobum, &c.] He avails himself of a notion supported by Selden on the Polyolbion, that Apollo was worshipped in Britain. See his notes on Songs, viii. ix. Selden supposes also, that the British Druids invoked Apollo. See the next note. And Spanheim on Callimachus, vol. ii. 492. seq.,
41. Misimus, et lectas Druidum de gente choreas.] He insinuates, that our British Druids were poets. As in Lycidas, v. 53. Where your old Bards the famous Druids lie.
The poetical character of the
43. Heroum laudes, imitandaque gesta canebant ;] See almost the same verse Ad Patrem, v. 46.
45. -Graiæ de more puellæ,] Ovid, Metam. ii. 711.
Illa forte die castæ de more puellæ, &c.
46. Our author converts the
three Hyperborean Nymphs who sent fruits to Apollo in Delos, limachus, Hymn. Del. v. 292. into British goddesses. See Cal
Ουσις τι, Λόξωσι, και ευαίων Εκπεργκ,
Milton here calls Callimachus's Loxo, Corineis, from Corineus, a Cornish giant. Some writers hold, that Britain, or rather that part of it called Scotland, was the fertile region of the Hyperborei.
Fatidicamque Upin, cum flavicoma Hecaërge,
Fortunate senex, ergo quacunque per orbem
Et parili carpes iter immortale volatu.
Dicetur tum sponte tuos habitasse penates
52. Tu quoque in ora frequens venies, plausumque virorum,] So Propertius, as Mr. Bowle observes, iii. ix. 32.
-Venies tu quoque in ora virum. This association of immortality is happily inferred.
56. At non sponte domum tamen, &c.] Apollo, being driven from heaven, kept the cattle of king Admetus in Thessaly, who also entertained Hercules. This was in the neighbourhood of the river Peneus, and of mount Pelion, inhabited by Chiron. It has never been observed, that
the whole context is a manifest imitation of a sublime Chorus' in the Alcestis of Milton's favourite Greek dramatist, Euripides, v. 581. seq.
Σε τον και ο Πύθιος
Ετλη δε σοισι μηλονομας
57. See Ovid, Fast. ii. 239. Cynthius Admeti vaccas pavisse Phereas, &c.
And Epist. Heroid. Ep. v. 151. Pheretiades Occurs more than once in Ovid. From Homer, Il ii. 763. xxiii. 376.
60. Nobile mansueti cessit Chironis in antrum,] Chiron's cavern was ennobled by the visits and education of sages and heroes. Chiron is styled mansuetus, because, although one of the CenB b
Irriguos inter saltus, frondosaque tecta,
Tum neque ripa suo, barathro nec fixa sub imo
Diis dilecte senex, te Jupiter æquus oportet
taurs, and the inhabitant of a cave in a mountain, he excelled in learning, wisdom, and the most humane virtues. See a beautiful Poem in Dodsley's Miscellanies, by the late Mr. Bedingfield, called the Education of Achilles. Mr. Steevens adds, "The most endearing instance "of the mansuetude of Chiron, "will be found in his behaviour "when the Argo sailed near the "coast on which he lived. He "" came down to the very margin "of the sea, bringing his wife "with the young Achilles in her "arms, that he might shew the "child to his father Peleus who "was proceeding on the voyage "with the other Argonauts. "Apollon. Rhod. lib. v. 553.
« Πηλείδην Αχιληα φιλο δειδίσκετο πα τρι 64. Exilii duros, lenibat voce labores.] Ovid and Callimachus say, that he soothed the anxieties of love, not of banishment, with his music. But Milton uniformly follows Euripides, who says that
Apollo was unwillingly forced into the service of Admetus by Jupiter, for having killed the Cyclopes, Alcest. v. 6. Thus, v. 56.
At non sponte domum tamen idem, &c.
The very circumstanee which introduces this fine compliment and digression.
The bank of the river Peneus, 65. Tum neque ripa suo, &c.] just mentioned.
Mount Eta, connected with the 66. -nutat Trachinia rupes,] Chiron's cave, and Othrys menmountains, Pelion in which was tioned in the passage just cited from Euripides. See Ovid, Metam. vii. 358. But with no impropriety, Milton might here mean Pelion by the Trachinian rock; which, with the rest, had immania pondera silvas, and which Homer calls seriQuaλov, frondosum. Its Orni are also twice mentioned by V. Flaccus, Argon. b. i. 406. and b. ii. 6.
72. Atlantisque nepos;] See
Diis superis, poterit magno
De Id. Platon. Note on v. 27.
73. magno favisse poetæ.] The great poet Tasso. Or a great poet like your friend Tasso. Either sense shews Milton's higli idea of the author of the Gerusalemme.
74. lento sub flore senectus Vernat, &c.]
There is much elegance in lento sub flore. I venture to object to
79. Phobos decorasse viros, &c.] Phabaos is intirely an Ovidian epithet. Epist. Heroid. xvi. 180. Metam. iii. 180. And in numerous other places.
80. Siquando indigenas revocabo in carmina reges, Arturumque etiam sub terris bella moventem! &c.] The indigena reges are the ancient kings of Britain. This was the subject for an epic poem that first occupied the mind of Milton. See the same idea repeated in Epitaph. Damon. v. 162. King Arthur, after his death, was supposed to be carried into the subterraneous land of Faerie or of Spirits, where he still reigned as a king, and whence
he was to return into Britain, to renew the Round Table, conquer all his old enemies, and reestablish his throne. He was, therefore, etiam movens bella sub terris, still meditating wars under the earth. The impulse of his attachment to this subject was not entirely suppressed: it produced his History of Britain. By the expression, revocabo in carmina, the poet means, that these ancient kings, which were once the themes of the British bards, should now again be celebrated in verse.
Milton in his Church Government, written 1641, says, that after the example of Tasso, "it
haply would be no rashness, "from an equal diligence and " inclination, to present the like "offer in one of our own ancient "stories." Prose Works, i. 60. It is possible that the advice of Manso, the friend of Tasso, might determine our poet to a design of this kind.
82.-sociali fædere mensæ, &c.] The knights, or associated champions, of King Arthur's Round Table.