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Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
is the very
quantity of syllables, and the sense sure, and the country is supposed variously drawn out from one verje to be the same that was afterinto another.
wards called Mesopotamia; parti
cularly by our author in IV. 210. 1. Of Man's first disobedience,-) &c. Here the whole is put for a Mnyby 28106. lliad.
part, as sometimes a part for the
whole, by a figure called SynecΑνδρα μοι εντεπε. Odyfr. .
doche. Arma virumque cano. Æneid.
4. till one greater Man In all these instances, as in Milton, Refore us, and regain the blissful the subject of the poem
jeat,] As it is a greater Man, first thing offer'd to us, and pre- so it is a happier Paradise which cedes the verb with which it is con our Saviour promis'd to the peninected. It must be confessed that tent thief, Luke XXIII. 43. This Horace did not regard this, when day malt thou be with me in Parahe translated the first line of the dise. But Milton had a notion that Odyssey, Dic mihi Musa virum, &c. after the confiagration and the geDe Art. Poet. 141. And Lucian, neral judgment the whole Earth if I remember right, makes a jest would be made a Paradise, XII. 463. of this observation, where he introduces the shade of Homer as
for then the Earth expressly declaring that he had no Shall all be Paradise, far happier other reason for making the word place jennor the first in his poem, but Than this of Eden, and far hapthat it was the first which came in pier days. to his head. However the uniform practice of Homer, Virgil, and It should seem that the author, Milton in this particular, seems to speaking here of regaining ahe blissprove that it was not accidental, ful feat, had at this time formed but a thing really design’d by them. fome design of his poem of Para
4. With loss of Eden,] But Eden dife Regain'd. But however that was not lost, and the last that we be, in the beginning of that poem read of our first parents is that he manifestly alludes to the beginthey were still in Eden,
ning of this, and there makes Pa
radise to be regain'd by our SaThrough Eden took their folitary viour's foiling the tempter in the way.
wilderness. With loss of Eden therefore means I who ere-while the happy garden no more than with loss of Paradise, fung, which was planted in Eden, which By one Man's disobedience loft, word Eden signifies delight or plea now fing
Restore us, and regain the blissful feat,
Recover'd Paradise to all .man this sense therefore (tho' I believe kind,
it is not Milton's senie) the top of By one Man’s firm obedience fully it may be well said to be secret. In try'd,
Exod. XVII, it is said that the IfAnd Éden rais'd in the walle wil. raelites, when incamp'd at the foot derness.
of Horeb, could find no waters
from whence Dr. Bentley con6. that on the secret top, cludes, that Horeb had no clouds Of Oreb, or of Sinai,–] or mists about its top; and that
therefore secret top cannot be here Dr. Bentley says that Milton dicta meant as implying that high mounted sacred top: his reasons are such tains against rainy weather have their as follow : The ground of Horeb beads surrounded with mifts. I neis said to be boly, Exod. III. 5. and ver thought that any reader of MilHoreb is called the mountain of God,
ton would have understood secret 1 Kings XIX. 8. But it may be an- top in this sense. The words of fwer'd, that tho that place of Ho- Horeb or of Sinai imply a doubt of reb, on which Moses stood, was
which name was probely, it does not follow that the top perest to be given to that mountain, of the mountain was then kcły too: on the top of which Moses receiv'd and by the mouniain of God (Dr. his inspiration ; because Horeb and Bentley knows) may be meant only, Sinai are used for one another in in the Jewish ftile, a very great Scripture, as may be seen by commountain : Besides let the moun- paring Exod. III 1. with Acts VII. tain be never fo boly, yet according 30. but by naming Sinai laft, he to the rules of good poetry, when
seems to incline rather to that. Milton speaks of the top of the Now it is well known from Exod. mountain, he Mould give us an epi XIX. 16. Ecclus. XLV. 5. and thet peculiar to the top only, and other places of Scripture, that not to the whole mountain. Dr. when God gave his laws to Moses Bentley says farther that the epithet on the top of Sinai, it was cover'd jecret will not do here, because she with clouds, dark clouds, and thick top of this mountain is visible fe- Smoke; it was therefore secret at that veral leagues off. But Sinai and time in a peculiar sense : and the Horeb are the same mountain, with same thing seems intended by the two several eminences, the higher epithet which our poet uses upon the of them called Sinai : and of Sinai very same occasion in XII. 227. Josephus in his Jewish Antiquit. Book 3. Chap. 5. says that it is so God from the mount of Sinai, whose bigh, ihat the top of it cannot be
gray top jeen without straining the eyes. In Shall tremble, he descending, &c.
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire
Dr. Bentley shows that facred bill proach, and not to ascend it, nor
8. That shepherd, who first &c.]
bis father-in-law. Exod. I. 1, ferr'd to a general one, I have such have firfi taught the chosen Seed, bean effeem for our poet, that which of ing the most ancient writer among the two words is the better, That! the Jews, and indeed the most anJay (viz. fecret) was dictated by cient that is now extant in the Milton. Pearce.
world. We have given this excellent note at length, as we have met
9. In the beginning how the Heav'ns with several persons who have ap- firit words of Genesis.
ard Earth] Alluding to the proved of Dr. Bentley's emendation. It may be too that the poet !!. and Siloa's brook] Siloa was had a farther meaning in the usc of a small river that flow'd near the this epithet in this place ; for being temple at Jerusalem. It is menaccustomed to make use of words tion'd Isai. VIII. 6. So that in efin the signification that they bear feet he invokes the heavenly Muse, in the learned languages, he may that inspir’d David and the Provery well be fupposed to use the phets on mount Sion, and at Jeru. word secret in the lame sense as the falem, as well as Moses on mount Latin fecretus, set apart or separate, Sinai. like the secreto que pios in Virgil, 15. Above th Aonian mount,] A Æn. VIII. 670. and it appears poetical expression for foaring to a from Scripture, that while Moses highth above other poets. The was with God in the mount, the mountains of Bæotia, anciently calpeople were not to come near it or led Aonia, were the haunt of the touch it, till after a signal given, Mures, and thus Virgil, Ecl. VI. and then they were only to ap- 65.
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Aonas in montes ut duxerit una so It is evident enough that by rorum,
rhime in this place is meant verse
in general ; but I suppose Milton And again Georg, III. 11,
thought it would sound too low Aonio rediens deducam vertice Mu- and familiar to the ear to say in
prose or verle, and therefore chose
rather to say in prose or rhime. though afterwards, I know not by When he says in profé or verse, he what fatality, that country was fa- adds an epithet to take off from mous for the dulness of its inha- the commonness of the expression, bitants.
as in V. 150.
16. Tbings unattempted yet in profe or rhime.] Milton appears to
such prompt eloquence have meant a different thing by
Flow'd from their lips, in proje or rbime here, from rime in his pre
numerous verse. face, where it is fix times mention’d, and always spelt without It is said that Milton took the first an ” ; whereas in all the editions, hint of this poem from an Italian till Dr. Bentley's appear’d, rbime tragedy called Il Paradiso perso; and in this place of the poem was it is pretended that he has borspell’d with an b. Milton pro. row'd largely from Mafenius, a bably meant a difference in the German Jesuit, and other modern thing, by making fo constant a dif- authors; but it is all a pretence, ference in the spelling; and in- he made use of all authors, such tended that we should here under was his learning; but such is his stand by rhime, not the jingling genius, he is no copyer, his poem found of like endings, but verse in is plainly an original, if ever there general ; the word being deriv'd
His subject indeed of from rythmus, Ευθμος. Ariofto the fall of Man together with the
principal episodes may be said to
be old as Scripture, but his manCosa non detta in prosa mai, ne
ner of handling them is entirely in rima,
new, with new illustrations and new which is word for word the same beauties of his own; and he with what Milton says here. as justly boast of the novelty of his Pearce, poèm, as any of the antient poets
And chiefly Thou, O Spi'rit, that doft prefer
bestow that recommendation upon This address therefore is no mere their works; as Lucretius 1.925. formality. Yet fome may think
that he incurs a worse charge of Avia Pieridum peragro loca, nul- enthusiasm, or even profanenels, in lius ante
vouching inspiration for his perTrita solo : &c.
formance : but the Scriptures re
present inspiration as of a much and Virgil Georg. III. 3.
larger extent than is commonly apCætera quæ vacuas tenuissent car
prehended, teaching that every good mina mentes
gift, in naturals as well as in moOmnia jam vulgata.
rals, drfiendet b from the great Father Primus ego in patriam &c.
of lights, Jam. I. 17. And an ex
traordinary skill even in mechani292.- Juvat ire jugis, quà nul- cal arts is there ascribed to the illa priorum
lumination of the Holy Ghost. It Caltaliam molli divertitur orbita is said of Bezaleël who was to clivo.
make the furniture of the taber
nacle, that the Lord had filled him 17. And chiefly Thou, o Spirit, with the Spirit of God, in wisdom,
&c.] Invoking the Muse is in undirstanding, and in knowledge, commonly a matter of mere form, and in all manner of workmanjkip, wherein the poets neither mean,
and to devije curious works, &c. nor desire to be thought to mean
Exod. XXXV. 31. Heylin. any thing seriously. but the Holy Ghost here invok'd is too solemn It may be observed too in justificaa name to be used insignificantly: tion of our author, that other faand besides our author, in the be- cred poems are not without the like ginning of his next work Paradise invocations, and particularly SpenRegain'd, scruples no: to say to the ser's Hymns of Heavenly Love fame divine person
and Heavenly Beauty, as well as
fome modern Latin poems. But I Inspire,
conceive that Milton intended As thou art wont, my prompted something more, for I have been song, elle mute.