Page images
PDF
EPUB

For many are the trees of God that

grow In Paradise, and various, yet unknown To us, in such abundance lies our choice, 620 As leaves a greater store of fruit untouch'd, Still hanging incorruptible, till men Grow up to their provision, and more hands Help to disburden Nature of her birth.

To whom the wily Adder,o blithe and glad. Empress, the way is ready, and not long, Beyond a row of myrtles, on a flat, Fast by a fountain, one small thicket past Of blowing myrrh and balm ; if thou My conduct, I can bring thee thither soon. 630 Lead then, said Eve. He leading swiftly rollid

In

625

if thou accept

C

618. – trees of God) A Scrip. Hor rientra in se stesso, hor le po ture phrase, as in Pfal. CIV. 16.

dose 624. birth.] In Milton's own

Rote diftende, e se dopo se tira. editions this word is spelt bearth in

Tbyer. this place, but as in all other places

634. as when a wand'ring he spells it birth, we see no reason for an alteration here, and possibly mentioning any particular fimilitudes

fire, &c.] I have avoided this may be nothing but an error of the press.

in my remarks on this great worš,

because I have given a general ac631. He leading swiftly roll d count of them in my notes on the

In tangles,] This is Virgil's rapit first book. There is one however, orbes per bumum : but I think Talso in this part of the poem, which I much exceeds them both in describing shall here quote, as it is not only the rolling of a serpent. Cant. 15. very beautiful, but the closest of any

in the whole poem; I mean that

where

St. 48.

In tangles, and made intricate seem strait,
To mischief swift. Hope elevates, and joy
Brightens his crest; as when a wand'ring fire,
Compact of unctuous vapor, which the night 635
Condenses, and the cold environs round,
Kindled through agitation to a flame,
Which oft, they say, some evil Spi'rit attends,
Hovering and blazing with delusive light,
Misleads th’amaz'd night-wand'rer from his way 640
To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool,
There swallow'd up and lost, from succour far.
So glister's the dire Snake, and into fraud
Led Eve our credulous mother, to the tree
Of prohibition, root of all our woe;

Which

645

where the serpent is describ'd as lines. Philosophy and poetry are rolling forward in all his pride, ani- here mix'd together. mated by the evil Spirit, and condučting Éve to her destruction, while signifies hurt and damage, as well

643. and into fraud] Fraud Adam was at too great a distance from her to give her his affiftance. as deceit and delufion. Virg. Æn.

X. 72. These several particulars are all of them wrought into the following Quis Deus in fraudem, quæ dura fimilitude.

potentia nostra

Egit? - Hope elevates, and joy Brightens his crest ; as when a wan. And Milton often uses English words

d'ring fire, &c. Addison in the Latin fignification. And there is not perhaps any more

644.

the tree philosophic account of the ignis fa of probibition,] An Hebraism for fuus, than what is contain'd in these the prohibited or forbidden tree.

M 2

648. Fruit.

3

700

Rather

your

dauntless virtue, whom the pain Of death denounc'd, whatever thing death be, 695 Deterr'd not from achieving what might lead To happier life, knowledge of good and evil Of good, how just ? of evil, if what is evil Be real, why not known, since easier shunn'd? God therefore cannot hurt

ye,

and be just; Not just, not God; not fear'd then, nor obey'd ; Your fear itself of death removes the fear. Why then was this forbid? Why but to awe, Why but to keep ye low and ignorant, His worshippers; he knows that in the day 705 Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear, Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then Open’d and clear’d, and ye ihall be as Gods, Knowing both good and evil as they know. That ye shall be as Gods, since I as Man, 710

In

702. Your fear itself of death re 705.

he knows that in tbe mous ? fear ] Justice is day &c.] Gen. III. 5 For inseparable from the very being and God doth know, that in the day ye essence of God, so that could he be eat thereof, then your eses fball be unjust, he would be no longer God, open'd; and ye shall be as Gods, knowand then reither to be obey'd noring good and evil. So that where feared; so that the fear of death, the author comments and inlarges which does imply injustice in God, upon Scripture, he ftill preserves as destroys itself, becauie God can as much as may be the very words of well cease to be, as to be just. A Scripture. Satanic fyllogism. Hume,

710. That ye shall be as Gods, &c.]

Thele

Internal Man, is but proportion meet;
I of brute human, ye of human Gods.
So

ye shall die perhaps, by putting off
Human, to put on Gods; death to be with’d, 714
Though threaten’d, which no worse than this can bring.
And what are Gods that Man may not become
As they, participating God-like food ?
The Gods are first, and that advantage use
On our belief, that all from them proceeds;
I question it, for this fair earth I see,

720 Warm’d by the sun, producing every kind, Them nothing: if they all things, who inclos'd Knowledge of good and evil in this tree, That whoso eats thereof, forthwith attains Wisdom without their leave? and wherein lies 725 Th' offense, that Man should thus attain to know? What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree

ImThese three lines seem to be copied 53. For this corruptible must put on from Grotius, but with improve incorruption, and this mortal must put ment. Adamus Exul. A&. IV. on immortality. Rationis enim omnino paritas exigit, 727. What can your knowledge burt Ego bruta quando bestia evafi lo

bim, or this tree quens,

Impart againft bis will if all be Ex homine, qualis ante, te fieri hiss] Dr. Bentley says that Deam.

Milton had said Gods in all the argu714. – to put on Gods;] The ment before, and therefore design d Scripture expression as in Cor, xv. here,

What

Impart against his will if all be his ?
Or is it envy, and can envy dwell
In heav'nly breasts? these, these and many more 730
Causes import your need of this fair fruit.
Goddess humane, reach then, and freely taste.

He ended, and his words replete with guile
Into her heart too easy entrance won :
Fix'd on the fruit she gaz’d, which to behold

735 Might tempt alone, and in her ears the found Yet

rung of his persuasive words, impregn'd With reason, to her seeming, and with truth; Mean while the hour of noon drew on, and wak'd An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell

740 So savory of that fruit, which with desire, Inclinable now grown to touch or taste, Solicited her longing eye; yet first Pausing a while, thus to herself she mus’d.

Great

What can your knowledge hurt Knowledge of good and evil in this them, or this tree

tree? Impart against their will, if all be so that him and his here refer to him, theirs ?

who incles'd &c. Pearce,

He seems to use both numbers proBut Milton had said God in ver. 692. miscuously, sometimes speaking of and 700: and I think he uses the God and sometimes of Gods; and I fingular number in the very next think we may observe that he genepreceding sentence, ver. 722. rally speaks of Gods, when the fer

timent would be too horrid, if it wbo inclos'd was spoken of God.

729. - CAS

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »