Page images

Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, 165 For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the coast,

now for the first time exhibit Are won with pity and unwonted

ruth. properly pointed.

Fairfax, cant. ii. st. 11.
Look homeward, Angel, now, and
melt with ruth.

All ruth, compassion, mercy he

forgot. Here is an apostrophe to the Angel Michael, whom we have

164. And, O ye dolphins, waft just seen seated on the Guarded the hapless youth] Alluding to Mount. O Angel, look no

what Pausanias says of Palæmon longer seaward. to Namancos toward the end of his Attics, " and Bayona's hold: rather turn

" that a dolphin took him up,

" and laid his body on the shore your eyes to another object. Look homeward, or landward,

" at Corinth where he look towards your own coast

" deified.” Richardson. now, and view with pity the

165. Weep no more, &c.] Milcorpse of the shipwrecked ton in this sudden and beautiful

Lycidas floating thither.” But transition from the gloomy and I will exhibit the three lines mournful strain into that of hope together which from the context.

and comfort seems pretty plainly Lycidas was lost on the seas near

to imitate Spenser in his 11th Eclogue, where bewailing the

death of some maiden of great (Where the great vision of the blood, whom he calleth Dido,

guarded mount Looks toward Namancos and Bay. dejection, he breaks out all at

in terms of the utmost grief and ona's hold; Look homeward, Angel, now, and once in the same manner. Thyer. melt with ruth.

165. Spenser's November, Écl. The Great Vision and the Angel

xi. are the same thing: and the verb Cease now my Muse, now cease thy look in both the two last verses

sorrowes sourse !

She raignes a goddess now amid the has the same reference. The

saints, poet could not mean to shift the That whilom was the saint of shepapplication of look, within two

heards light; lines. Moreover if in the words And is enstalled now in heavens

hight.Look homeward angel now—the

No danger there the shepheard can address is to Lycidas, as Mr.

astert, Thyer supposed, 'a violent, and

Fayre fields and pleasant leas there too sudden, an apostrophe takes beene, place; for in the very next line

The fields aye fresh, the groves aye

greene.Lycidas is distinctly called the

There lives she with the blessed gods hapless youth. To say nothing, in blisse, that this new angel is a hapless There drinks she nectar with ambro. youth, and to be wafted by dol- sia mixt, &c. phins. T. Warton.

See the Epitaphium Damonis, 163. -and melt with ruth:] v. 201-218. and Ode on the „ With pity. Spenser, Faery Queen, Death of a fair Infant, st. x. T. b. i. cant. vi. st. 12.

Warton. VOL. IV.



Sunk though he be beneath the wat’ry floor;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves,
Where other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,

175 And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,

166. —is not dead, &c.] See diate reference to the subject of Ode on the Death of a fair In- the poem. T. Warton. fant, v. 29. note. E.

174. Where other groves and 168. So sinks the day-star] other streams along,] Virgil, Æn. The thought of a star's being vi. 641. washed in the ocean, and thence solemque suum, sua sidera norunt. shining brighter, is frequent And Ariosto, cant. xxxiv. st. 72. among the ancient poets: and

There other rivers stream, smile at the first reading I conceived

other fields that Milton meant the morning Than here with us, and other plains star, alluding to Virgil, Æn, viii. are stretch'd, 589.

Sink other valleys, other mountains

rise. &c. Qualis ubi oceani perfusus Lucifer

175. With nectar pure his oozy unda &c.

locks he laves,] Like Apollo in but upon

farther consideration I Horace, Od, iii. iv. 61. rather think that he means the

Qui rore puro Castaliæ lavit sun, whom in the same manner Crines solutos. he calls the diurnal star in the

176. And hears the unexpressive Paradise Lost, X. 1069: and Homer, if the hymn to Apollo nuptial song,] In the Manuscript

it was at first List' ning the unexbe his, compares Apollo to a star in mid-day, ver. 441.

pressive &c. This is the song in

the Revelation, which 10 Αστερι ειδομενος μεσω ηματι.

could learn but they who were not 169. Compare Gray's Bard. defiled with women, and were vir--Hath quench'd the orb of day?

gins: Rev. xiv. 3, 4. The au

thor had used the word unexpresTo-morrow he repairs the golden flood.

T. Warton. sive in the same manner before

in his Hymn on the Nativity, 172. Through the dear might st. 11. of him that walk'd the waves,] A

Harping in loud and solemn quire designation of our Saviour by a

With unexpressive notes to heav'n's miracle which bears an imme.

new-born heir.



In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and singing in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;
Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood.

the uncouth swain to th' oaks and rills,




Nor are parallel instances want- 179. In solemin troops, and swert ing in Shakespeare. As you like societies,] Compare Par. Lost, xi. it, act iii. s. 2.

82. The fair, the chaste, and unexpressive By the waters of life wheree'er they

she. And in like manner insuppressive

In fellowships of joy, the sons of light,

&c. is used for not to be suppressed.

T. Warton. Julius Cæsar, act ii. s. 2.

183. Henceforth thou art the Nor th' insuppressive mettle of our genius of the shore,] This is said spirits.

in allusion to the story of Meli176. So in the Latin poem, certa, or Palæmon, who with his Ad Patrem, v. 37.

mother Ino was drowned, and Immortale melos, et inenarrabile car.

became a sea-deity propitious to

mariners. Oyid, Met. iv. Fast.

T. Warton. vi. Virgil, Georg. i. 436. 177. In the blest kingdoms meek

Votaque servati solvent in littore of joy and love.] That is, in the

Glauco, et Panupeæ, et Inoo Meliblest kingdoms of meek joy and love; a transposition of the adjective, which we meet with also And as Mr. Jortin observes, it is in the Paradise Lost, ix. $18.

pleasant to see how the most

antipapistical poets are inclined So spake domestic Adam in his care,

to canonize and then to invoke in which verse domestic is with their friends as saints. See the out doubt to be joined to care, poem on the fair Infant, st. 10. and not to Adam, as the common

184. -and shalt be good &c.] opinion is. So also in the same The same compliment that Virgil book, ver. 225.

pays to his Daphnis, Ecl. v. 64. and th' hour of supper comes un. -Deus, deus ille, Menalca. earn'd.

Sis bonus o felixque tuis! &c.




While the still morn went out with sandals

He touch'd the tender stops of various quills,
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay:
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills,



you, these

188. He touch'd the tender stops and Moschus had respectively of various quills,] By stops he written a bucolic on the deaths means not such stops as belong of Daphnis and Bion. And the to the organ, but what we now name Lycidas, now first imported call the holes of any species of into English pastoral, was adoptpipe or Aute. Thus Browne, ed, not from Virgil, but from Britan. Past. b. ii. s. 3.

Theocritus, Idyll. vii. 27. What musicke is there in a shep- -ΛΥΚΙΔΑ φιλε, φανει το παντες herd's quill,

Εμμεν ΣΥΡΙKΤΑΝ μεν υπειροχον, ενός If but a stop or two therein we spie?

Εν τ' αμητηρεσσι.
And Drayton, Mus. Elys.
Teaching every stop and kay,

His character is afterwards fully To those that on the pipe do play. justified in the Song of Lycidas. So in Hamlet, where the Players

« dear to the

And he is styled enter with the Recorders, “Govern

“ Muses,” v. 95. And our au“these ventages with your finger

thor's shepherd Lycidas could " and thumb:-look

“ build the lofty rhyme.". A are the stops.T. Warton.

Lycidas is again mentioned by

Theocritus, Idyll. xxvii. 41. And 189. With eager thought warbling his Doric lay :) He calls it a Lycidas supports a Sicilian di

] Doric lay, because it imitates alogue in one of Bion's Bucolics, Theocritus and other pastoral

vii. See Epitaph. Damon. v. 132.

T. Warton. poets, who wrote in the Doric

190. And now the sun had dialect. Though Milton calls himself as yet uncouth, he war

stretch'd out all the hills,] He bles with eager thought his Doric had no doubt Virgil in his eye,

Ecl. i. 83. lay; earnest of the poet he was to be, at least; as he promises Et jam summa procul villarum cul.

mina fumant, in the motto to these juvenile

Majoresque cadunt altis de montibus poems of edit. 1645.

umbræ. -baccare frontem Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua Virgil's is an admirable descripfuturo.

tion of a rural evening, but I

know not whether Milton's is not This looks very modest, but see what he insinuates. The first setting so by degrees,

better, as it represents the sun part of Virgil's verse is,

And now the sun had stretch'd out Aut si ultra placitum laudarit baccare

all the hills, frontem &c.

And now was dropp'd into the western Richardson.

bay : See note on v. 2. This is a though it must be said that the Doric lay, because Theocritus image of the smoke ascending

And now was dropp'd into the western bay;
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue:
To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.


[ocr errors]


from the village-chimneys, which to express the warm affection Milton has omitted, is very na

which Milton had for his friend, tural and beautiful.

and the extreme grief he was in 190. But Milton, if he had for the loss of him. Grief is. this passage of Virgil in his eye, eloquent, but not formal. judiciously omitted the image It must be owned, however, which Dr. Newton praises, as it that grief is not so learned as was unsuitable to the solitary is this poem, nor does it incline scene, “ the oaks and rills," the heart to bitter sarcasms upon which he describes. E.

person's little, if at all, connected 193. To-morrow to fresh woods with the subject of sorrow. E. and pastures new.] Theocritus, I see no extraordinary wildness Idyll. i. 145.

and irregularity, according to Xarpes syes d' ipagese reus es vorsport this little poem. It is true there

Dr. Newton, in the conduct of údroy

Jortin, is a very original air in it, al

though it be full of classical imi193. So Phineas Fletcher, Pur- tations: but this, I think, is ple Isl. c. vi. st. 77.

owing, not to any disorder in To-morrow shall ye feast in pastures the plan, nor entirely to the vi

gour and lustre of the expresAnd with the rising sunne banquet sion, but, in a good degree, to on pearled dew.

the looseness and variety of the T. Warton.

metre. Milton's ear was a good Mr. Richardson conceives, that second to his imagination. Hurd. by this last verse the poet says

Addison says, that he who (pastorally) that he is hastening desires

desires to know whether he has to, and eager on new works: a true taste for history or not, but I rather believe that it was should consider, whether he is said in allusion to his travels into pleased with Livy's manner of Italy, which he was now medi- telling a story; so, perhaps, it tating, and on which he set out may be said, that he who wishes the spring following. I will to know whether he has a true conclude my remarks upon

this taste for poetry or not, should poem with the just observation consider whether he is highly of Mr. Thyer. The particular delighted or not with the perusal beauties of this charming pastoral of Milton's Lycidas. If I might are too striking to need much venture to place Milton's Works, descanting upon; but what gives according to their degrees of the greatest grace to the whole poetic excellence, it should be is that natural and agreeable perhaps in the following order ; wildness and irregularity which Paradise Lost, Comus, Samson runs quite through it, than which Agonistes, Lycidas, L'Allegro, nothing could be better suited Il Penseroso. The three last are

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »