Imágenes de páginas


For of celestial bodies first the sun
A mighty sphere he fram’d, unlightsome first,
Though of ethereal mould: then form’d the moon
Globose, and every magnitude of stars,
And sow'd with stars the heav'n thick as a field :
Of light by far the greater part he took,
Transplanted from her cloudy shrine, and plac'd 360
In the sun's orb, made porous to receive
And drink the liquid light, firm to retain
Her gather'd beams, great palace now of light.
Hither as to their fountain other stars

358. And sow'd with stars the peated so often, and in two heav'n thick as a field :] This places substitutes some other allusion is extremely elegant. expression in the room of it; Manil. v. 726.

but when Milton was describing Tunc conferta licet cæli fulgentia the creation of light, it was bettempla

ter (as Dr. Pearce judiciously Cernere seminibus densis, totisque observes) to keep strictly to the micare

word, though frequently reFloribus :

peated, than to vary it by where Milton seems to have phrases and circumlocutions. read conserta, which is much 364. Hither as to their founmore beautiful; and his reading tain other stars] So the sun is seems to be proved by the word called by Lucretius, v. 282. the densis, which would be unneces- fountain of light, of liquid light. sary, and even bad, with the

Largus item liquidi fon's luminis, word conferta. Richardson.

æthereus sol 361. —made porous to receive Irrigat assidue cælum candore reAnd drink the liquid light, firm

centi: to retain

and by other stars are meant the Her gather'd beams,]

planets, as appears by mentionPorous yet firm. Milton seems to have taken this thought from planet Venus,

ing particularly the morning what is said of the Bologna stone, which being placed in the light

And hence the morning planet gilds

her horns; willimbibe, and for some time retain it so as to enlighten a dark In the first edition it was his place. Richardson.

horns, but the author in the 362. And drink the liquid second edition softened it into light,] Dr. Bentley finds fault her horns, which is certainly with the word light being re- properer for the planet Venus,


Repairing, in their golden urns draw light,
And hence the morning planet gilds her horns ;
By tincture or reflection they augment
Their small peculiar, though from human sight
So far remote, with diminution seen.
First in his east the glorious lamp was seen,
Regent of day, and all th'horizon round
Invested with bright rays, jocund to run


though Dr. Bentley and Mr. There are perhaps two or three Fenton have still printed it his other instances in the poem : horns.

but the jingle of the rhyme is 370. First in his east the glo- pretty well avoided by the pause rious lamp was seen,] It is in- in the verses, or by their rundeed a little inaccurate to make ning into one another. Howthis as well as the former verse

ever it would have been more conclude with the word seen ; artificial, if the structure had but this is not so bad as when been different. We know very both verses rhyme together, as

well that there are parallel inin ii. 220.

stances even in Homer and VirThis horror will grow mild, this gil; but though some may think

them beauties in Greek and darkness light; Besides what hope the never-ending Latin, we think them none in flight;

an English poem professedly

written in blank verse. In all And in vi. 34.

such cases we must say with -far worse to bear

Horace, De Arte Poet. 351. Than violence; for this was all thy

Verum ubi plura nitent in carmine,

non ego paucis And 709.

Offendar maculis, quas aut incuria By sacred unction, thy deserved

fudit, right.

Aut humana parum cavit natura. Go then thou mightiest in thy Fa.

372. jocund to run ther's might:

His longitude through heav'n's And in xi. 230.

high roda ;) One of the heav'nly host, and by his Longitude signifies the sun's gait

course from east to west in a None of the meanest, some great straight and direct line: and we potentate.

find Milton using the word after And 597.

much the same manner in ii. The bent of nature; which he thus Psalm xix. 5. where it is said of

576. This passage alludes to express'd. True opener of mine eyes, prime the sun, that he rejoiceth as a angel blest.

giant to run his course. Pearce. VOL. II.



His longitude through heav'n's high road; the gray
Dawn, and the Pleiades before him danc'd
Shedding sweet influence : less bright the moon 375
But opposite in levelld west was set
His mirror, with full face borrowing her light
From him, for other light she needed none
In that aspect, and still that distance keeps
Till night, then in the east her turn she shines,
Revolv'd on heav'n's great axle, and her reign
With thousand lesser lights dividual holds,
With thousand thousand stars, that then appear’d


the gray



the sun at his creation, intimates Dawn, and the Pleiades before very plainly that the creation him danc'd

was in the spring according to Shedding sweet influence:] the

opinion. Virg. These are beautiful images, and Georg. ii. 338, &c. very much resemble the famous

Ver illud erat; ver magnus picture of the morning by Guido, where the sun is represented in


Orbis, et hibernis parcebant fatibus his chariot, with the Aurora fly

Euri, ing before him, shedding flow- Cum primæ lucem pecudes hausere, ers, and seven beautiful nymph

&c. like figures dancing before and about his chariot, which are

And when he farther adds, shedcommonly taken for the Hours, ding sweet influence, it is in allubut possibly may be the Pleiades, sion to Job xxxviii. 31. Cansi as they are seven in number, thou bind the sweet influences of and it is not easy to assign a

Pleiades? reason why the hours should be

382. With thousand lesser lights signified by that number parti- dividual holds,] Dividuus is an cularly. The picture is on

Ovidian adjective, Amor. i. v. 10. ceiling at Rome; but there are

ii. x. 10. Art. Amator. ii. 488, copies of it in England, and an &c. and Milton has twice Anexcellent print by Jac. Frey. glicised it in Par. Lost; viz. in The Pleiades are seven stars in

this place, and again b. xii. 85. the neck of the constellation of liberty, Taurus, which rising about the time of the vernal equinox, are

- wbich always with right reason

dwells called by the Latins Vergiliæ.

Twinn'd, and from her hath no Our poet therefore in saying dividual being that the Pleiades danced before

T. Warton.



Spangling the hemisphere: then first adorn'd
With their bright luminaries that set and rose,
Glad evening and glad morn crown’d the fourth day.

And God said, Let the waters generate
Reptile with spawn abundant, living soul:
And let fowl fly above the earth, with wings
Display'd on the open firmament of heaven.
And God created the great whales, and each
Soul living, each that crept, which plenteously
The waters generated by their kinds,

every bird of wing after his kind; And saw that it was good, and bless’d them, saying, 395


387. And God said, &c.) This 20. (which follows the LXX verand eleven verses following are sion here,) creeping things are almost word for word from said to have been created on the Genesis i. 20, 21, 22. And God fifth day. Le Clerc too with said, Let the waters bring forth the generality of interpreters abundantly the moving creature renders the Hebrew word by that hath life, and fowl that may reptile. To this Dr. Bentley obfily above the earth in the open jects that creeping things were firmament of heaven. And God created on the sixth day, accreated great whales, and every cording to the account given us living creature that moveth, which by Moses and by Milton himthe waters brought forth abun- self. But by reptile or creeping dantly, after their kind, and every thing here Milton means all such winged fowl after his kind : and creatures as move in the waters, God saw that it was good. And (see Le Clerc's note on Gen, i. God blessed them, saying, Be 20.) and by creeping thing menfruitful and multiply, and fill the tioned in the sixth day's creation scaters in the seas, and let fowl he means creeping things of the multiply in the earth. This is earth; for so both in Milton's the general account of the fifth account, ver. 452. and in Gen. i. day's creation, and the poet 24. the words of the earth are to afterwards branches it out into be joined in construction to the several particulars.

creeping thing. Hence the ob388. Reptile with spawn abun- jection is answered by saying dant, living soul :] By reptile is that they were not the same meant creeping thing; and ac- creeping things which Milton cording to the marginal reading mentions in the two places. of our English version, Gen. i. Pearce.

Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas
And lakes and running streams the waters fill;
And let the fowl be multiplied on th' earth.
Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay
With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals
Of fish that with their fins and shining scales
Glide under the green wave, in sculls that oft
Bank the mid sea : part single or with mate
Graze the sea weed their pasture, and through groves


400. With fry innumerable fish, of the Saxon sceole, an asswarm, &c.] One would won- sembly. Hume. der how the poet could be so Shoals in sculls seems an odd concise in his description of the expression; would not shoals six days' works, as to compre- and sculls be better? hend them within the bounds 404. —and through groves of an episode, and at the same Of coral stray,] time so particular, as to give us Coral is a production of the sea. a lively idea of them. This is The learned Kircher supposes still more remarkable in his ac- entire forests of it to grow at the count of the fifth and sixth days, bottom of the sea, which may in which he has drawn out to justify our author's expression our view the whole animal cre- of groves of coral. The ancients ation from the reptile to the believed that it was soft under behemoth. As the lion and the the water and hardened in the leviathan are two of the noblest air. Ovid has expressed this productions in the world of liv- notion very prettily in Met. iv. ing creatures, the reader will 750. find a most exquisite spirit of

Nunc quoque curaliis eadem natura poetry in the account which our

remansit, author gives us of them. The Duritiem tacto capiant ut ab aëre ; sixth day concludes with the quodque formation of man, upon which

Vimen in æquore erat, fiat super the angel takes occasion, as he

æquora saxum. did after the battle in heaven,

The pliant sprays of coral yet deto remind Adam of his obedi

Their stiff'ning nature, when es. ence, which was the principal pos'd to air. design of this his visit. Addison. Those sprays, which did like bend402. in sculls that oft

ing osiers move,

Snatch'd from their element, obBank the mid sea :) Shoals of fish so vast, that they And shrubs beneath the waves, appear like mighty banks in the

grow stones above, midst of the sea. Sculls and

Eusden. shoals are vast multitudes of 404. Coral is in reality pro


durate prove,

« AnteriorContinuar »