Page images
PDF
EPUB

Last came, and last did

go, The pilot of the Galilean Iake, Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,

110 (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,) He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake, How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain, Enow of such as for their bellies sake

my hart.

And reft from me my sweet com. And hence perhaps the two

panion, And reft from me my love, my life,

keys, although with a different

application, which Nature, in T. Warton. Gray's Ode on the Power of Poe

try, presents to the infant Shake107.-my dearest pledge ?] My speare. In Comus, an admired dearest child, as children were poetical image was perhaps sugsimply called by the Latins gested by Saint Peter's golden pignora, pledges. Richardson.

key, v. 13. Where he mentions 109. The pilot of the Galilean

-That golden key lake, &c.] Milton finely raises

That opes the palace of eternity. the character of St. Peter by

T. Warton. making him the pilot of the lake of Genesareth in Galilee. See 112. He shook his miter'd locks,] how artfully he takes this hint It is much that this inveterate from Luke v. The two keys (which enemy of prelaey would allow he hath likewise painted poeti- Peter to be a bishop. But the cally) Christ himself gave him. whole circumstance is taken from Matt. xvi. 19. But the mitre, the Italian satirists. Besides I which has so fine an effect in this suppose he thought it sharpened picture, Milton would not have his satire to have the prelacy allowed him a very

few
years

condemned by one of their own afterwards. See his treatise of order. Warburton. PrelaticalEpiscopacy. Richardson. King was intended for the

It seems somewhat extraordi, church. T. Warton. nary to introduce St. Peter after 114. Enow of such &c.] As Apollo, Triton, &c. a Christian Milton has frequently imitated bishop among heathen deities; his master Spenser in this poem, but here Milton's imagination so in this place particularly he was dazzled, his taste corrupted, has had an eye to Spenser's inand his judgment perverted by vectives against the corruptions reading the Italian poets. of the clergy in his fifth, seventh,

110. The golden opes,] Saint and ninth Eclogues. Peter's two keys in the Gospel,

114. Thus in P. L. b. iv. 193. seem to have supplied modern So clomb this first grand theif into poetry with the allegoric ma- God's fold: chinery of two keys, which are

So since into his church lewd hirevariously used. See Dante's In

lings climb. ferno, cant. xiii. and c. xxvii. Where lewd signifies ignorant.

Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold? 115
Of other care they little reck’ning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearer's feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learn’d ought else the least 120
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs!
What recks it them! What need they? They are sped;
And when they list, their lean and flashy songs

means

Even after the dissolution of the 15. Wickliffe's pamphlets are hierarchy, he held this opinion. full of this pastoral allusion. T. In his sixteenth Sonnet, written Warton. 1652, he supplicates Cromwell, 191. That to the faithful herd-To save free conscience from the man's art belongs !] Peck would paw

read shepherd, because a herdman Of hireling wolves, whose Gospel is does not keep sheep. But herdman their m'iw.

(not herdsman) has a general During the usurpation, he pub- sense in our old writers; and lished a pamphlet entitled “The often occurs in Sydney's Ar« likeliest

to remove cadia, a book well known to Hirelings out of the church,” Milton. In our old Pastorals, against the revenues transferred heard-groome sometimes occurs from the old ecclesiastic esta- for shepherd. T. Warton. blishment to the presbyterian 122. See pote on Comus, 404. ministers. See also his book of He might here use reck as a pasReformation in England, Prose toral word occurring in SpenWorks, vol. i. 28. T. Warton. ser's Kalendar, Decemb. “ What 119. Blind mouths! that scarce recked I of wintry age's waste.”

themselves know how to hold T. Warton. A sheep-hook, &c.]

123. And when they list, their See instances of the like con

lean and flashy songs struction in Paradise Lost, v.711. Grate on their scrannel pipes of and the note there. I will here

wretched straw ;] add another from Horace, Sat. ii. No sound of words can be more

expressive of the sense: and how Porrectum magno magnum spectare finely has he imitated, or rather catino

improved, that passage in Virgil! Vellem, ait Harpyiis gula digna ra Eci. iii. 26.

pacibus. 120. A sheep-hook,] In the -non tu in triviis, indocte, solebas tract on the Reformation he says,

Stridenti miserum stipula disperdere

carmen ? “Let him advise how he can re

ject the pastorly rod and sheep- I remember not to have seen the hook of Christ. Pr. W. vol. i. word scrannel in any other au

99

ii. 39.

125

Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoll'n with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw

woont,

thor, nor can I find it in any They talk not widely as they were dictionary or glossary that I

For fear of raungers and the great have consulted; but I presume hoont: it answers to the stridenti of

But privily prolling to and fro, Virgil.

Enaunter they mought be inly know. 124. Scrannel is thin, meagre. And nothing said, this agrees very “A scrannel pipe of straw” is

well with the popular clamours contemptuously for Virgil's “te“ nuis avena. T. Warton.

of that age against the supposed

connivance of the court at the Scrannel is vile, worthless. Johnson.

propagation of popery. In Mil128. Besides what the grim ted out, and it is corrected by

ton's Manuscript nothing is blotwolf &c.] We offered some ex

his own hand-and little said, plication of this difficult passage which is juster and better. But in the Life of Milton, that the poet meant to accuse Archbishop is, the axe of reformation, is upon

that two-handed engine &c. that Laud of privily introducing po, the point of smiting once for all. pery, and therefore in his zeal It is an allusion to Matt. iii. 10. threatened him with the loss of Luke iii. 9. And now also the axe his head; which notion was sug

is laid unto the root of the trees. gested to me by Dr. Pearce, the An axe is properly a two-handed Lord Bishop of Bangor. We exhibit too Mr. Warburton's ex

engine. At the door, that is, this

reformation is now ripe, and at planation of this

passage in the note on v. 130. But if neither of Matt. xxiv. 33. Behold the judge

hand; near, even at the doors, these accounts seem satisfactory standeth before the door, James v. to the reader, we will lay before him another, in which we have 9. And it was to be a thorough

and effectual reformation, Stands the concurrence of Mr. Thyer and Mr. Richardson. Besides

ready to smite once, and smite no

more, in allusion to the language

. what the popish priests privately of Scripture, 1 Sam. xxvi. 8. Let

me smite him, I pray thee, with pervert to their religion: and Spenser, in his ninth Eclogue,

the spear, even to the earth at describes them under the same

once, and I will not smite him the image of wolves, and complains second time. This explication is much in the same manner.

so well with Milton's sentiments Yes but they gang in more secret wise,

and expressions in other parts of And with sheep's clothing doen hem

his works. His head was full of disguise.

these thoughts, and he was in

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

Daily devours apace, and nothing said,

, But that two-handed engine at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.

130

door.

expectation of some mighty al- serving, that Spenser puts these teration in religion, as appears words into the mouth of his from the earliest of his prose righteous shepherd, “not withworks, which were published not out some presage of these refour years after this poem. In forming times.” Animadv. on the second book of his treatise of the Remonstr. Def. ubi

supr.

vol. Reformation in England, he em- i. p. 98. T. Warton. ploys the same metaphor of the 130. But that two-handed enaxe of God's reformation, hewing gine at the door at the old and hollow trunk of pa- Stands ready to smite once, and pacy, and presages the time of

smite no more.] the bishops to be but short, and These are the last words of Peter compares them to a wen that is predicting God's vengeance on going to be cut off. Vol. i. p. his church by his ministry. The 17, 18. edit. 1738. And in his making him the minister is ir Animadversions upon the Re- imitation of the Italian poets, monstrants' Defence, addressing who in their satiric pieces against himself to the Son of God, he the church, always make Peter says, -but thy kingdom is now at the minister of vengeance. The hand, and thou standing at the two-handed engine is the two

Come forth out of thy handed Gothic sword with which royal chambers, O Prince of all - the painters draw him. Compare the kings of the earth, for P. L. vi. 251, where the sword now the voice of thy bride calls of Michael is “ with huge twothee, and all creatures sigh to be handed sway brandished aloft.” renewed, p. 91. The reading of Stands ready at the door was then these treatises of Milton will suf- a common phrase to signify any ficiently make appear what his thing imminent.

To smite once, meaning must be, and how much and smite no more, signifies a about this time he thought of final destruction, but alludes to lopping off prelatical episcopacy. Peter's single use of his sword

128. It has been conjectured, in the case of the high priest's that Milton in this passage has

servant. Warburton. copied the sentiments of Piers, In these lines our author an. a protestant controversial shep- ticipates the execution of Archherd, in Spenser's Eclogue, May. bishop Laud by a two-hunded Of this there can be no doubt: engine, that is, the axe;

insinufor our author, in another of his ating that his death would repuritanical tracts, written 1641, move all grievances in religion, illustrates his arguments for and complete the reformation of purging the church of its rapa- the church. Doctor Warburton's cious hirelings and insidious supposition only embarrasses the wolves, by a quotation of almost passage. Michael's sword "with the whole of Piers's speech; ob- “ huge two-handed sway" is evi

Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; return Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells, and flowrets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,

135

ence.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

dently the old Gothic sword of were at their height. Milton, chivalry. This is styled an en- under pretence of exposing the gine, and the expression is a peri- faults or abuses of the episcopal phrasis for an axe, which the clergy, attacks their establishpoet did not choose to name in ment, and strikes at their existplain terms. The sense therefore

T. Warton. of the context seems to be, “ But 132. Return Alpheus, &c.] As “ there will soon be an end of he had before distinguished the “ all these evils: the axe is at voice of Apollo, so here he far

hand, to take off the head of more exalts that dread one of St. “ him who has been the great Peter, that quite shrinks up the “ abettor of these corruptions of stream of Alpheus. Now this is “ the Gospel. This will be done past, return Sicilian Muse, Siceby one stroke."

lides Musæ. Virg. Ecl. iv. 1. In the mean time, it coincides Now comes pastoral poetry again, just as well with the tenour of and calls the vales to cast their Milton's doctrine, to suppose, flowers on Lycidas's hearse, acthat he alludes in a more general cording to the custom of the acceptation to our Saviour's me- ancients. Richard. un. taphorical axe in the Gospel, 136. —where the mild whispers which was to be laid to the root use] The word use is employed of the tree, and whose stroke was in the same sense by Spenser, to be quick and decisive. Faery Queen, b. vi. st. 2.

It is matter of surprise, that this violent invective against the

Guide ye my footing, and conduct me Church of England and the hie- In these strange ways, where never rarchy, couched indeed in terms a little mysterious yet sufficiently

Ne none can find, but who was taught

them by the Muse. intelligible, and covered only by a transparent veil of allegory, 138. On whose fresh lap the should have been published un- swart star sparely looks,] The der the sanction and from the swart star is the dog-star, Sirius press of one of our Universities; ardens, burning and drying up or that it should afterwards have things, and making them look escaped the severest animad- black and swarthy. But he versions, at a period when the sparely looks on these valleys, as proscriptions of the Star-cham- he approaches not Horace's founber, and the power of Laud, tain of Blandusia, Od. iii. xii. 9.

well

foot did use,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »