« AnteriorContinuar »
Ceas'd warbling, but all night tun'd her soft lays:
Sings darkling, and in shadiest co- From branch to branch the smaller vert bid
birds with song Tunes her nocturnal note.
Solac'd the woods, and spread their
painted wings In that charming description of
Till ev'n, nor then the solemn evening, iv. 598. nothing can nightingale be more charming than what is Ceas'd warbling, but all night tun'd said of the nightingale.
her soft lays. Silence accompanied; for beast and And upon Adam's and Eve's bird,
first coming together the nightinThey to their grassy couch, these to gale sung the epithalamium or their nests
wedding song, viii. 518. Were slunk; all but the wakeful nightingale;
-The amorous bird of night She all night long her amorous dese Sung spousal, and bid haste the evencant sungi
ing star Silence was pleas'd.
On his hill top to light the bridal
lamp. In that tender speech of Eve's to Adam, iv. 639.
Other poets mention the nightinWith thee conversing I forget all gale perhaps by way of simile, time, &c.
but none of them dwells, or de
lights to dwell, so much upon it Amongst other pleasing images
as our author.
And he exhe mentions twice
presses the same fondness and the silent night
admiration in other parts of his With this her solemn bird.
works. We will give an inAnd Adam and Eve are made
stance out of the Il Penseroso, as to sleep lulled by nightingales, it is rather more particular than iv. 771.
the rest. And when the evil Spirit
And the mute silence hist along, tempts Eve in her dream, he
'Less Philomel will deign a song, mentions this as
one of the
In her sweetest, saddest plight, strongest temptations to induce Smoothing the rugged brow of night. her to walk out in the cool even
Sweet bird that shunn'st the noise of
folly, ing, v. 38.
Most musical, most melancholy ! Why sleep'st thou, Eve? now is the Thee chauntress oft the woods among pleasant time,
I woo to hear thy even song; The cool, the silent, save where si. And missing thee, I walk unseen lence yields
On the dry smooth-shaven green, To the night warbling bird, that now To behold the wand'ring moon awake
Riding near her highest noon. Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song. And in his sonnets, the first is And here when the poet is de- address'd To the nightingale. scribing the creation of all the 438. ---the swan with arched sorts and species of fowl, of neck] The ancient poets have singing birds he particularizes not hit upon this beauty, so the nightingale alone.
lavish as they have been in
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
The sixth, and of creation last arose
their descriptions of the swan, Here is an affected and unHomer calls the swan long- natural conceit, like too many necked dovasyodrigor, but how others, even in Milton. He much more picturesque if he had means that the swan in swim. arched this length of neck! herming forms a superb canopy tings muntling proudly, her with her neck and head, under wings are then a little detached which she floats, or which she from her sides, raised and spread rows forward with her feet. (See as a mantle, which she does with the note, Par. Lost, X. 445.] an apparent pride, as is also T. Warton. seen in her whole figure, atti- 443. —the crested cock-] So tude, and motion. Richardson. Ovid calls him cristatus ales.
Dr. Bentley wonders that he Fast. i. 455. should make the swan of the
Nocte Deæ Nocti cristatus cæditur feminine gender, contrary to ales, both Greek and Latin. I sup- Quod tepidum vigili provocat ore
diem. pose he did it because he thought it would be more agreeable to 450. -when God said, &c.] the ear.
Rows his state sounds So Gen. i. 24. And God said, Let rather too rough.
the earth bring forth the living 439. Between her white wings creature after his kind, cattle and
mantling proudly, rows creeping thing, and beast of the Her state with oary feet;] earth after his kind. We obA state signified a canopy over served before, that when Milton a throne or chair of state. makes the divine Person speak, In this peculiar sense, and not he keeps closely to Scripture. under the general and popular Now what we render living creaidea of pomp or dignity, state ture is living soul in the Heis to be understood in this pas- brew, which Milton usually folsage.
lows rather than our translation ;
Let th' earth bring forth soul living in her kind,
and soul it should be here as in than things, because it is more ver. 318. living soul, and 392. conformable to the text of Scripsoul living. It is indeed fowl in ture. all the printed copies.
Cattle and creeping thing, and beast
of th' earth. Let th' earth bring forth fowl living in her kind:
455. Innumerous living crea
tures-] Innumerous is uncombut Dr. Bentley, Dr. Pearce,
mon. He has the expression Mr. Richardson, and common sense, all condemn this reading; which Pope has adopted into
innumerous boughs, Comus, 349. it is manifestly nothing but an his Odyssey. T. Warton. error of the press that has run
456. -out of the ground up through all the editions ; for fowl were all created the day
As from his lair the wild beast before, and not on this day.
where he wons We have therefore restored the
In forest wild,] true genuine reading.
Lair, or layer, an old Saxon Let th' earth bring forth soul living word signifying a bed. The use in her kind.
of this word is still kept up We are very cautious in admit- among us, as when we call the ting any alterations into the text different strata or beds of earth, of Milton; but in correcting some of clay, some of chalk, such mistakes as this we con- some of stone, &c. lairs. Wons ceive we do no more than Mil- is an old Saxon word signifying ton himself would have us do; to dwell or inhabit. Dr. Bentwho, after the table of errata in ley reads In forest wide, instead the first edition, says, Other of wild, wild beast going before; literal faults the reader of himself but Milton does not dislike such may correct. And for the same a repetition of the same word. reason we agree with Dr. Bent- 461. Those rare and solitary, ley, that in the next verse it these in flocks] Those, that is, should be creeping thing rather the wild beasts mentioned in
Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung,
grassy clods now calv'd, now half appear'd The tawny lion, pawing to get free His hinder parts, then springs as broke from bonds, 465 And rampant shakes his brinded mane; the ounce, The libbard, and the tiger, as the mole Rising, the crumbled earth above them threw In hillocs: the swift stag from under ground Bore
up his branching head: scarce from his mould 470
ver. 457. these the tame, the of the beasts rising out of the cattle ; and it is a very signal earth, though Dr. Bentley conact of Providence that there are demns it as an insertion of the so few of the former sort, and editor's, is certainly not only so many of the latter, for the worthy of the genius of Milton, use and service of man.
but may be esteemed a shining 462. —broad herds] This will part of the poem. He supposes sound a little strange to the ear the beasts to rise out of the of an English reader, who must earth, in perfect forms, limbed therefore be told that he follows and full grown, as Raphael had Homer literally. Jliad. xi. 678. painted this subject before in -αισολια πλαστι’ αιγων.
the Vatican; and he describes Virgil hath a long herd, Æn. i. and attitudes, and in numbers
their manner of rising in figures 186.
too, suited to their various naet longum per salies pascitur tures. agmen.
467. The libbard,] The same Richardson.
as the leopard ; a word used by 463. The grassy clods now Spenser and the old poets, Faery calv'd,] Dr. Bentley quarrels Queen, b. i. cant. vi. st. 25. with this expression, and says,
from his mould that calred is a metaphor very Behemoth biggest born of earth heroical, especially for wild upheav'd beasts. But, as Dr. Pearce His vastness :) justly observes, to calve (from The numbers are excellent, and the Belgic word Kalven) signi- admirably express the heaviness fies to bring forth : it is a ge- and unwieldiness of the elephant, neral word, and does not relate for it is plainly the elephant to cows only; for hinds are said that Milton means. Behemoth to calve in Job xxxix. 1. and and leviathan are two creatures, Psalm xxix. 9. Mr. Addison par- described in the book of Job, ticularly commends this meta- and formerly the generality of phor: and the whole description interpreters understood by them
Behemoth biggest born of earth upheav'd
the elephant and the whale : but It is the same style of sound, and the learned Bochart and other the verse labours as much with later critics have endeavoured to broad bare backs and behemoth shew, that behemoth is the river biggest born as with metuens, horse, and leviathan the crocodile. molem, montes. And the labour It seems as if Milton was of the of these lines appears greater in former opinion, by mentioning contrast with the ease of the leviathan among the fishes, and following measures, which dethe river horse and scaly crocodile, scribe the lesser animals springver. 474. as distinct from behe- ing up as lightly and as thick as moth and leviathan; and there plants; is surely authority sufficient to justify a poet in that opinion. - fleec'd the flocks and bleating rose, Behemoth biggest born. The al
As plants. literation, as the critics call it, is very remarkable, all the words here and not a participle
478. —deck'd] It is a verb beginning with b. We had an. other instance a little before in decked their smallest lineaments
exact in all the liveries &c. the production of the mountains,
482. Minims of nature ;] This ver. 286.
word minims is formed from the —and their broad bare backs up- adjective minima, and in allusion
heave Into the clouds.
to the Vulgar Latin of Prov. It is the same kind of beauty
xxx. 24. Quatuor ista sunt minithat is admired in Virgil, Æn. i. ma terræ. The word was in use 61.
before for an order of friars, Hoc metuens, molcmque et montes in. Minim, minimi, so called from
affected humility super altos Imposuit.