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305

Wise, perfect in himself, and all possessing,
Equals to God, oft shames not to prefer,
As fearing God nor man, contemning all
Wealth, pleasure, pain or torment, death and life,
Which when he lists he leaves, or boasts he can,
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas what can they teach, and not mislead,
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending ?
Much of the soul they talk, but all awry,
And in themselves seek virtue, and to themselves

310

Provident. c. 6. Ferte fortiter, and of Seneca again, epist. lxx. hoc est quo Deum antecedatio. Dunster. Ille extra patientiam malorum 303. Equals to God,] In Mil. est, vos supra patientiam. As ton's own edition, and all followfearing God nor, man. Seneca de ing, it is Equal to God: but I Beneficiis, iv. 19. Deos nemo sa- cannot but think this an error of nus timet. Furor est enim me- the

press,

the sense is so much tuere salutaria, nec quisquam improved by the addition only amat quos timet; and again, 1. of a single letter. vii. 1. Si animus Deorum homi

Equals to God, oft shames not to numque formidinem ejecit, et scit non multum esse ab homine

prefer. timendum, a Deo nihil, &c.— 307. For all his tedious talk is contemning all, wealth, pleasure, but vain boast, &c. These are the well known Or subtle shifts] doctrines of the Stoics; our au- Vain boasts relate to the Stoical thor in all probability had here paradoxes, and subtle shifts to in his mind the conclusion of their dialectic, which this sect Seneca de Providentia-contem- so much cultivated, as to be as nite paupertatem, &c. contemnite well known by the name Dialedolorem-fortunam -mortem ctici as Stoici.' Warburton. patet exitus. Si pugnare non 313. Much of the soul they talk, vultis licet fugere &c. Exactly but all awry,]

See what Mr. similar to which last passage is Warburton has said upon this the language of Epictetus, 1. iv. subject in the first volume of the c. 10. ει ουτω ταλας ειμι, λιμην το Divine Legation.

αποθανειν-δια τουτο ουδεν των εν τω 314. And in themselves seek βιω χαλεπον εστιν οταν θελης εξηλθες. virtue, and to themselves

315

All glory arrogate, to God give none,
Rather accuse him under usual names,
Fortune and Fate, as one regardless quite
Of mortal things. Who therefore seeks in these
True wisdom, finds her not, or by delusion
Far worse, her false resemblance only meets,
An empty cloud. However many books,
Wise men have said, are wearisome; who reads
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not

320

All glory arrogate, to God give and Nat. Quæst. ii. 45. and Senone,]

neca, the tragic poet, Edip. 980. Cicero speaks the sentiments of The Stoic poet, Lucan, freancient philosophy upon this quently terms the Deity, fate, or point in the following words:- fortune, as Pharsal. i. 87. iii. 96. propter virtutem enim jure lau- Dunster. damur, et in virtute recte gloria- 321. An empty cloud,] A memur: quod non contingeret, si taphor taken from the fable of id donum a Deo, non a nobis Ixion, who embraced an empty haberemus. At vero aut hono. cloud for a Juno ribus aucti, aut re familiari, aut 322. Wise men have said,] Alsi aliud quippiam nacti sumus luding to Eccles. xii. 12. Of fortuiti boni, aut depulimus mali, making many books there is no end, cùm Diis gratias agimus, tum and much study is a weariness of nihil nostræ laudi assumptum the flesh. arbitramur. Num quis, quod 322. Aiunt enim, says the bonus vir esset, gratias Diis egit younger Pliny ; multum legenunquam? At quòd dives, quod dum esse non multa, l. viii. ep. 9. honoratus, quod incolumis.-Ad It is indeed a Stoical precept, rem autem ut redeam, judicium ano de BiCrow dofter perfor. Antonin. hoc omnium mortalium est, fortu- Meditat. 1. xi. 3. And Seneca nam à Deo petendam, à se ipso has the same sentiment, ep. ii. sumendam esse sapientiam. De Nat. and De Tranquillitate Animi, c. Deor. ïïi. 36. Warburlon. 9. Dunster.

316. - under usual names ; 322. - who reads Fortune and Fate,]

Incessantly, &c.] Several of the ancient philoso- See the same just sentiment in phers, but especially the Stoics, Paradise Lost, vii. 126. thus characterised the Deity.

But knowledge is as food, and needs Sic hunc naturam vocas, fatum, fortunam ; omnia ejusdem Dei Her temp'rance over appetite, &c. nomina sunt, varie utentis sua

Thyer. potestate. De Beneficiis, iv. 8.

no less

330

A spirit and judgment equal or superior, (And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek ?) Uncertain and unsettled still remains,

326 Deep vers'd in books and shallow in himself, Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys, And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge; As children gathering pebbles on the shore. Or if I would delight my private hours With music or with poem, where so soon As in our native language can I find That solace? All our law and story strow'd With hymns, our psalms with artful terms inscrib'd, 385 Our Hebrew songs and harps in Babylon, That pleas'd so well our victor's ear, declare That rather Greece from us these arts deriv'd ;

arms.

325. And what he brings, what Shiggaion of David, Michtam of needs he elsewhere seek?] The David, &c. to denote the various poet makes the old sophister the kinds of psalms or instruments. Devil always busy in his trade. 336. Our Hebrew

songs

and It is a pity he should make Jesus harps in Babylon, (as he does here) use the same That pleas'd so well our victoris Warburton.

ear,] 329. —worth a sponge ;] Not This is said upon the authority worth seeing the light, not worth of Psalm cxxxvii. 1, &c. By the preserving; alluding to the use rivers of Babylon, there we sat of the sponge for blotting out down, yea we wept, when we reany thing written. So Augustus membered Sion. We hanged our said of his tragedy, which he harps upon the willows in the had attempted, but had laid midst thereof. For there they that aside, Ajacem suum in spongium carried us away captive, required incubuisse. Suetonius Vit. Aug. of us a song ; and they that wasted Dunster.

us, required of us mirth, saying, 335. - our psalms with artful Sing us one of the songs of Sion. terms inscrib'd,] He means the 338. That rather Greece from inscriptions often prefixed to the us these arts deriv'd;] This was beginning of several psalms, such the system in vogue at that time. as To the chief musician upon It was established and supported Nehiloth, To the chief musician with vast erudition by Bochart, on Neginoth upon Sheminith, and carried to an extravagant

340

Ill imitated, while they loudest sing
The vices of their deities, and their own
In fable, hymn, or song, so personating
Their gods ridiculous, and themselves past shame.
Remove their swelling epithets thick laid
As varnish on a harlot's cheek, the rest,
Thin sown with ought of profit or delight,
Will far be found unworthy to compare

345

and even ridiculous length by bably suggested the following Huetius and Gale. Warburton.

lines in the Duke of BuckingClemens Alexandrinus ascribes ham's Essay on Poetry, the invention of hymns and Figures of speech, which poets think songs to the Jews; and

says
that

so fine, the Greeks stole theirs from them. (Art's needless varnish to make na(Stromat. 1. i. p. 308. Ed. Colon.

ture shine,)

Are all but paint upon a beauteous 1688.) He also charges the

face, Grecian philosophers with steal- And in descriptions only claim a ing many of their doctrines from place. the Jewish prophets, (1. i. p. 312.) As Milton, perhaps, had ShakeDunster.

speare in his mind: 341. -personating,] This is

The harlot's cheek, beautied with in the Latin sense of persono, to plastering art, celebrate loudly, to publish or Is not more ugly to the thing that proclaim. Dunster.

helps it, 343. —swelling epithets] Greek

Than is my deed to my most painted

word. Hamlet, a. iii. s. 1. compounds. Warburton.

Dunster. The hymns of the Greek poets to their deities consist of very

345. Thin sown with ought of little more than repeated invoca- profit and delight,] In allusion to tions of them by different names Horace, Art. Poet. 333. and epithets. Our Saviour very Aut prodesse volunt, aut delectare probably alluded to these, where poetæ. he cautions his disciples against Plato also (De Repub. x. p. 607. vain repetitions and much speak. ed. Serran.) has said, that the ing (Bettonoglo) in their prayers, only justification of poetry is Matt. vi. 7. Thyer.

when it unites the power of Swelling epithets thick laid is pleasing with civil and moral particularly applicable to the instruction; ως ου μονον ήδεια αλλα Orphic hymns. Indeed gods and και ωφελιμη προς τας πολιτείας και heroes were scarcely ever men- τον βιον τον ανθρωπινον εστι. . Duntioned by the Greek poets with- ster. out some swelling or compound 346. Will far be found unworepithet. -thick lạid as varnish on

thy to compare a harlot's cheek ; these words pro

With Sion's songs,]

With Sion's songs, to all true tastes excelling, Where God is prais’d aright, and God-like men, The Holiest of Holies, and his saints ; Such are from God inspir'd, not such from thee, 350 Unless where moral virtue is express'd By light of nature not in all quite lost. Their orators thou then extoll’st, as those The top of eloquence, statists indeed, He was of this opinion not only scure, and liable to mistake. The in the decline of life, but like- meaning of them is, poets from wise in his earlier days, as ap- thee inspired are not such as pears from the preface to his these, unless where moral virtue second book of the Reason of is expressed &c. Meadowcourt. Church-Government. Or if The obscurity, if not caused, “ occasion shall lead to imitate is increased by departing from “those magnific odes and hymns the punctuation of the first edi6 wherein Pindarus and Calli- tion, which had a semicolon after “ machus are in most things not such from thee. Unless cer

worthy, some others in their tainly has no reference to the “ frame judicious, in their mat- line immediately preceding, but “ ter most an end faulty. But to v. 346. “ those frequent songs through- Will far be found unworthy to com*«s out the law and prophets be

pare yond all these, not in their di

With Sion's songs, &c.

Unless where moral virtue is ex. “ vine argument alone, but in

press'd “ the very critical art of compo

By light of nature, not in all quite “sition, may be easily made ap

pear over all the kinds of lyric I could wish however that the “ poetry, to be incomparable.”

passage had been otherwise ar948. Where God is prais'd ranged, and these two lines, v. aright, and God-like men,] The 351, 352, inserted in a parentheonly poetry which Plato recom

sis, after v. 345. Dunster. mends to be admitted into a state

353. --as those] I should preare hymns to the gods, and en- fer -as though. Calton. comiums on virtuous actions.

354. ---statists] Or statesmen. Eιδεναι δε οτι οσον μονον ύμνους θεοις A word in more frequent use και εγκωμια της αγαθης ποιησεως πα

formerly, as in Shakespeare, eadeixTEOV ELS FONW. De Repub. lib. Cymbeline, act ii. sc. 5. . x. p. 607. ed. Serran. Dunster.

I do believe, 350. Such are from God inspir'd, (Statist though I am none, nor like not such from thee,

to be ;) Unless where moral virtue is ex- and Hamlet, act v. sc. 3. press'd &c.]

I once did hold it, as our statists do, The sense of these lines is ob

&c.

lost.

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