Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

716

I of brute human, ye of human Gods.
So
ye

shall die perhaps, by putting off
Human, to put on Gods ; death to be wish’d,
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’offence, that Man should thus attain to know? What can your knowledge hurt him, or this tree Impart against his will if all be his ? Or is it envy, and can envy dwell

714. ---to put on Gods;] The uses the singular number in the Scripture expression as in 1 Cor. very next preceding sentence, xv. 53. For this corruptible must ver, 722. put on incorruption, and this mor

who inclos'd tal must put on immortality. Knowledge of good and evil in this 727. What can your knowledge

hurt him, or this tree So that him and his here refer to Impart against his will if all him, who inclosed &c. Pearce. be his?]

He seems to use both numDr. Bentley says that Milton had bers promiscuously, sometimes said Gods in all the argument speaking of God, sometimes of before, and therefore designed Gods; and I think we may obhere.

serve that he generally speaks

of Gods, when the sentiment What can your knowledge hurt them, would be too horrid, if it was

or this tree Impart against their will, if all be spoken of God.

729.

can envy dwell

In heav'nly breasts ?] But Milton had said God in ver. Like that in Virgil, Æn. i. 11. 692. and 700: and I think he Tantæne animis cælestibus iræ ?

tree?

theirs?

730

740

In heav'nly breasts ? these, these and many more
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 785
Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound
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
So savoury 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 are thy virtues, doubtless, best of fruits,
Though kept from man, and worthy to be admir'd,
Whose taste, too long forborne, at first assay
Gave elocution to the mute, and taught
The tongue not made for speech to speak thy praise :
Thy praise he also who forbids thy use,

750 Conceals not from us, naming thee the tree Of knowledge, knowledge both of good and evil; Forbids us then to taste, but bis forbidding Commends thee more, while it infers the good

745

739. Mean while the hour of monstrous.

noon drew on, and wak'd 750. -he also who forbids] An eager appetite,]

As if it had not been God who This is a circumstance beauti- had forbidden; but God was fully added by our author to the not now in all her thoughts. Scripture account, in order to She afterwards professes herself make the folly and impiety of ignorant of bim, ver. 775. Eve

appear less extravagant and VOL. II.

M

7.5

By thee communicated, and our want:
For good unknown, sure is not had, or had
And yet unknown, is as not had at all.
In plain then, what forbids he but to know,
Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise ?
Such prohibitions bind not. But if death

760
Binds us with after-bands, what profits then
Our inward freedom ? In the day we eat
Of this fair fruit, our doom is, we shall die.
How dies the Serpent ? he hath eat'n and lives,
And knows, and speaks, and reasons, and discerns, 765
Irrational till then. For us alone
Was death invented ? or to us denied
This intellectual food, for beasts reserv’d ?
For beasts it seems : yet that one beast which first
Hath tasted, envies not, but brings with joy
The good befall’n him, author unsuspect,
Friendly to man, far from deceit or guile.
What fear I then, rather what know to fear
Under this ignorance of good and evil,
Of God or death, of law or penalty ?

775
Here grows the cure of all, this fruit divine,
Fair to the eye, inviting to the taste,
Of virtue to make wise: what hinders then
To reach, and feed at once both body and mind?

So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:

770

780

777. Fair to the eye inviting to tree was good for food, and that the taste,

it was pleasant to the eyes, and a Of virtue to make wise:] tree to desired to ake one Gen.jii. 6. The woman saw that the wise.

785

Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat
Sighing through all her works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost. Back to the thicket slunk
The guilty Serpent, and well might, for Eve
Intent now wholly on her taste, nought else
Regarded, sạch delight till then, as seem'd,
In fruit she never tasted, whether true
Or fancied so, through expectation high
Of knowledge, nor was Godhead from her thought. 790
Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,
And knew not eating death : satiate at length,
And highten'd as with wine, jocund and boon,
Thus to herself she pleasingly began.

792. And knew not eating death :) 793. And_highter'd as with It is a Greek phrase, used often wine, &c.] That secret intoxicaby the Latins too. Oppian Ha- tion of pleasure, with all those lieut. ii. 106.

transient flushings of guilt and coude svonour lov ozsudovris odoo joy, which the poet represents Agor.

in our first parents upon their They knew not hastening their eating the forbidden fruit, to death. Eating the fruit which those flaggings of spirit, damps brought death was eating death of sorrow, aud mutual accusaas being virtually contained in tions which succeed it, are conit. Richardson.

ceived with a wonderful inagin792. See Eurip. Hippol. 1. ation, and described in very

natural sentiments. Addison. 304.

794. Thus to herself &c.] As -ne apodvou

our author had in the preceding where Valckenaer, in his edi- conference betwixt our first pation of the Hippolytus, p. 196, rents described with the greatest has ably illustrated this usage art and decency the subordinaof the participle in the nomina- tion and inferiority of the female tive case after verba quwgrotixa. character in strength of reason It is very remarkable that Mil- and understanding; so in this ton should adopt this Grecism soliloquy of Eve's after tasting in his English poetry, and neg- the forbidden fruit, one may oblect it in a Greek composition. serve the same judgment, in his See the lines Philosophus ad Re- varying and adapting it to the gem quendam, &c. 1. 2. C. Bur- condition of her faller. nature. ney.

Instead of those little defects in

O sovran, virtuous, precious of all trees

795 In Paradise, of operation blest To sapience, hitherto obscur’d, infam’d, And thy fair fruit let hang, as to no end Created ; but henceforth my early care, Not without song, each morning, and due praise, 800 Shall tend thee, and the fertile burden ease Of thy full branches offer'd free to all ; Till dieted by thee I

grow mature

her intellectual faculties before Serpent, to whom in her then the fall, which were sufficiently notion of things she must think compensated by her outward herself the most indebted ? I charms, and were rather soften- do not doubt but Milton was ings than blemishes in her cha- sensible of this, but had he racter, we see her now running made Eve mention the Serpent, into the greatest absurdities, and he could not have avoided too indulging the wildest imagina- making her observe that he was tions. It has been remarked slunk away, which might have that our poet in this work seems given her some suspicions, and to court the favour of his female would consequently have much readers very much, yet I cannot altered the scene which follows help thinking, but that in this betwixt Adam and her. Thyer. place he intended a satirical as 795. —precious of all trees) well as a moral hint to the ladies, The positive for the superlative; in making one of Eve's first the most precious of all trees; as thoughts after her fatal lapse to Virg. Æn. iv. 576. Sequimur te be, how to get the superiority Sancte Deorum; and Hom. Iliad. and mastery over her husband. v. 381. Abc diam, &c. RichardThere is, however, I think, a defect in this speech of Eve's, 799. —but henceforth my early that there is no notice taken

care, of the Serpent in it. Our author Not without song, each morning, very naturally represents her in

and due praise, the first transports of delight ex Shall tend thee, &c.] pressing her gratitude to the I conceive the construction to fruit, which she fancied had be, not My early care and due wrought such a happy change praise shall tend thee, but My in her, and next to experience her early care shall tend thee not best guide : but how is it possi- without song and due praise; and ble that she should in these rap- therefore have added a comma turous acknowledgments forget after due praise to make the sense her guide and instructor the plainer.

son.

« AnteriorContinuar »