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405

Of coral stray, or sporting with quick glance
Show to the sun their way'd coats dropt with gold,
Or in their pearly shells at ease, attend
Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food
In jointed armour watch: on smooth the seal,
And bended dolphins play : part huge of bulk
Wallowing unwieldy', enormous in their gait
Tempest the ocean: there leviathan,
Hugest of living creatures, on the deep

410

duced by marine insects, and is tergo delphina recurvo. Fast. ii. equally hard, in the water, and 113. and his sportive nature is when taken out of it. See par- alluded to by Virgil, Æn. v. 594. ticularly the curious account of coral-reefs, in Captain Flinders's Delphinum similes ; qui per maria Voyage to Terra Australis, or

humida nando

Carpathium Libycumque secant, luthe Quarterly Review, vol. xii.

duntque per undus. art. 1, E.

409. In jointed armour] The And how smooth is the verse reader cannot but be pleased that describes the seal and dolwith the beauty of this meta- phin sporting upon the smooth phor. The shells of lobsters, water! &c. and armour very much re

-on smooth the seal semble one another; and in the

And bended dolphins play: civil wars there was a regiment of horse so completely armed, as in the rough measures followthat they were called Sir Arthur ing one almost sees porpoises Haslerig's lobsters. Possibly and other unwieldy creatures Milton might be thinking of tumbling about in the ocean. them at this very time.

412. Tempest the ocean :] Mil409. -on smooth the seal, ton has here with very great art

And bended dolphins pluy :) and propriety adopted the Italian The seal or sea-calf and the dol- verb tempestare. Thyer. phin are observed to sport on 412. -there leviathan,] The smooth seas in calm weather. best critics and commentators The dolphin is called bended, not upon Job by the leviathan unthat he really is so more than, derstand the crocodile, and Mil. any other fish, but only appears ton in several particulars decrooked, as he forms an arch scribes the leviathan like the by leaping out of the water author of the book of Job, and and instantly dropping into it yet by others it seems as if he again with his head foremost. meant the whale. See the note Ovid therefore describes him

upon book i. 200.

415

Stretch'd like a promontory sleeps or swims
And seems a moving land, and at his gills
Draws in, and at his trunk spouts out a sea.
Mean while the tepid caves, and fens and shores
Their brood as numerous hatch, from th' egg that soon
Bursting with kindly rupture forth disclos’d
Their callow young, but feather'd soon and fledge 420
They summ'd their pens, and soaring th' air sublime
With clang despis’d the ground, under a cloud
In prospect; there the eagle and the stork
On cliffs and cedar tops their eyries build :
Part loosely wing the region, part more wise
In common, rang’d in figure wedge their way,

425

416. —and at his trunk spouts of birds seemed as when a cloud oul a sea.]

passes over it. Richardson. -Et acceptum patulis mare naribus

423. -there the eagle and the efflant. Ovid. Niet. iii. 686.

stork 421. They sumn'd their pens,]

On cliffs and cedar tops their Pens from penna

a feather. eyries build :) Summed is a term in falconry; a

These birds build their eyries, hawk is said to be full summed, that is, their nests, in such high when his feathers are grown to places. In Job xxxix. 27, 28. their full strength. So Par. Reg. it is said particularly of the eagle, i. 14.

Doth the eagle mount up at thy

command, and make her nest on With prosp'rous wing full sumn'd.

Richardson.

high? She dwelleth and abideth

on the rock, upon the crag of the 422. With clang despis'd the rock, and the strong place. And

ground, under a cloud. Pliny says of them, Nidificant In prospect ;]

in petris et arboribus. L. x. That is, the birds were sect. 4. many, that the ground, from 426. -rang'd in figure wedge whence they rose, would have their way,] Pliny has described appeared to be under a cloud, if certain birds of passage, flying one had seen it at a distance: in the form of a wedge, and in this sense we have ver. 555. spreading wider and wider. how it (the world) showed in Those behind rest upon those prospect from his throne. Pearce. before, till the leaders being

Under a cloud, the ground tired are in their turn received being shaded by the multitude into the rear. A tergo sensim

SO

430

Intelligent of seasons, and set forth
Their airy caravan high over seas
Flying, and over lands with mutual wing
Easing their flight; so steers the prudent crane
Her annual voyage, borne on winds; the air
Floats, as they pass, fann'd with unnumber'd plumes :
From branch to branch the smaller birds with song
Solac'd the woods, and spread their painted wings
Till ev’n, nor then the solemn nightingale

435

ton says,

« his post.”

dilatante se cuneo porrigitur “ column like an I, or in two agmen, largèque impellenti præ- “ lines united in a point like a betur auræ. Colla imponunt “ reversed.” And so as Milpræcedentibus: fessos duces ad terga recipiunt. Nat. Hist. 1. x. sect. 32. But as this migration

“ -rang'd in figure wedge their way, of birds is one of the most won- The duck or quail, who forms derful instincts of nature, it may “ the point, cuts the air, and be proper to add some better “ facilitates a passage to those authorities to explain and jus- “ who follow; but he is charged tify our author than Pliny. Jer. " with this commission only for vüïi. 7. takes notice of this re- a certain time, at the conclumarkable instinct; Yea the stork " sion of which he wheels into in the heaven knoweth her ap- the rear, and another takes pointed times, and the turtle, and

And thus as Mil. the crane, and the swallow, ob- ton says, serve the time of their coming,

-with mutual wing &c. So very intelligent are they

Easing their flights. of seasons. And as Milton in. stances in the crane particularly, 435. -nor then the solemn we will quote what the inge- nightingale &c.] If the reader nious author of Spectacle de la has not taken particular notice Nature says upon this occasion. of it, he will be surprised as well Dial. xi. “ As to wild ducks as pleased to see in how many “and cranes, both the one and passages and with what admi" the other at the approach of ration Milton speaks of this “ winter fly in quest of more charming songster. He com“favourable climates They all pares his own making verses " assemble at a certain day like in his blindness to the nightin“swallows and quails. They gale's singing in the dark. iii. 37. " decamp at the same time, and

Then feed on thoughts, that volun“it is very agreeable to observe

tary move “their fight. They generally Harmonious numbers; as the wake"range themselves in a long ful bird

Ceas’d warbling, but all night tun'd her soft lays:
Others on silver lakes and rivers bath'd
Their downy breast; the swan with arched neck

Sings darkling, and in shadiest co- From branch to branch the smaller vert hid

birds with song Tunes her nocturnal note.

Solac'd the woods, and spread their

painted wings In that charming description of

Till ev'n, nor then the solemn evening, iv. 598. nothing can nightingale be more charming than what is Ceas'd warbling, but all night tun'd said of the nightingale.

her soft lays. Silence accompanied; for beast and And upon Adam's and Eve's bird,

first coming together the nightinThey to their grassy couch, these to gale sung the epithalamium or

their nests Were slunk; all but the wakeful wedding song, viii. 518. nightingale;

-The amorous bird of night She all night long her amorous des. Sung spousal, and bid haste the even. cant sung:

ing star Silence was pleas'd.

On his hill top to light the bridal

lamp. In that tender speech of Eve's to Adam, iv. 639.

Other poets mention the nightinWith thee conversing I forget all gale perhaps by way of simile, time, &c.

but none of them dwells, or deAmongst other pleasing images lights to dwell, so much upon it he mentions twice

as our author.

And he ex

presses the same fondness and the silent night

admiration in other parts of his With this her solemn bird.

works. We will give an inAnd Adam and Eve are made stance out of the Il Penseroso, as to sleep lulled by nightingales, it is rather more particular than iv. 771. And when the evil Spirit

And the mute silence hist along, tempts Eve in her dream, he

'Less Philomel will deign a song, mentions this as one of the

In her sweetest, saddest plight, strongest temptations to induce Smoothing the rugged brow of night. her to walk out in the cool even

Sweet bird that shunn'st the noise of

folly, ing, v. 38.

Most musical, most melancholy ! Why slecp'st thou, Eve? now is the Thee chauntress oft the woods among pleasant time,

I woo to hear thy even-song; The cool, the silent, save where si- And missing thee, I walk unseen lence yields

On the dry smooth-shaven green, To the night warbling bird, that now To behold the wand'ring moon awake

Riding near her highest noon. Tunes sweetest his love-labour'd song. And in his sonnets, the first is And here when the poet is de- address'd To the nightingale. scribing the creation of all the 438. —the swan with arched sorts and species of fowl, of neck] The ancient poets have singing birds he particularizes not hit upon this beauty, so the nightingale alone.

lavish as they have been in

the rest.

Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
Her state with oary feet; yet oft they quit 410
The dank, and rising on stiff pennons, tower
The mid aereal sky: Others on ground
Walk'd firm ; the crested cock whose clarion sounds
The silent hours, and th' other whose

gay

train Adorns him, colour'd with the florid hue

445
Of rainbows and starry' eyes. The waters thus
With fish replenish’d, and the air with fowl,
Evening and morn solemniz'd the fifth day.

The sixth, and of creation last arose
With evening harps and matin, when God said,

450

their descriptions of the swan. Here is an affected and unHomer calls the swan long-. natural conceit, like too many necked dovas odugor, but how others, even in Milton. He much more picturesque if he had means that the swan in swimarched this length of neck! her ming forms a superb canopy wings mantling proudly, her with her neck and head, under wings are then a little detached which she floats, or which she from her sides, raised and spread rows forward with her feet. (See as a mantle, which she does with the note, Par. Lost, X. 445.] an apparent pride, as is also T. Warton. seen in her whole figure, atti- 443. —the crested cock-] So tude, and motion. Richardson. Ovid calls him cristatus ales.

Dr. Bentley wonders that he Fast. i. 455. should make the swan of the

Nocte Deæ Nocti cristatus cæditur feminine gender, contrary to ales, both Greek and Latin. I sup- Quod tepidum vigili provocat ore

diem. pose he did it because he thought it would be more agreeable to 450. —when God said, &c.] the ear.

Rows his state sounds So Gen. i. 24. And God said, Let rather too rough.

the earth bring forth the living 439. Between her white wings creature after his kind, cattle and

mantling proudly, rows creeping thing, and beast of the Her state with oary feet;] earth after his kind. We obA state signified a cunopy over served before, that when Milton a throne or chair of state. makes the divine Person speak, In this peculiar sense, and not he keeps closely to Scripture. under the general and popular Now what we render living creaidea of pomp or dignity, state ture is living soul in the Heis to be understood in this pas- brew, which Milton usually fol. sage.

lows rather than our translatior.;

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