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Crested aloft, and carbuncle his eyes ;
have the description of such a and with the greater propriety, sort of serpent in Ovid, Met. iii. as he was himself now trans32.
formed into a serpent. And in
this view it is said that none -cristis præsignis et auro; Igne micant oculi
were lovelier, not those that in Ille volubilibus squamosos nexibus Illyria changed Hermione and orbes
Cadmus. Cadmus and his wife Torquet, et immensos saltu sinuatur
Harmonia or Hermione, for she in arcus: Ac media plus parte leves erectus in
is called by either name, and I auras,
presume Milton thought Here Despicit omne nemus &c.
mione and Cadmits more musical Fire broke in Aashes when he glanced in verse as it certainly is than his eyes ;
Harmonia and Cadmus. This His tow'ring crest was glorious to Cadmus together with his wife behold,
leaving Thebes in Baotia, which His shoulders and his sides were
he had founded, and for divers scal'd with gold.Spire above spire uprear'd in air he
misfortunes quitted, and coming stood,
into Illyria, they were both And gazing round him overlook'd turned into serpents for having the wood.
Addison. slain one sacred to Mars, as we The reader may observe some
read in the fourth book of Ovid's
But the touches very like Grotius's de. Metamorphosis. scription of the same serpent in pression, those that changed Herhis tragedy of Adamus. Exul. mione and Cadmus, has occa
sioned some difficulty. activ.
Did those serpents, says Dr. Bent-oculi ardent duo: Adrecta cervix surgit, ei maculis ley, change Hermione and Cadnitet
mus? or were not these, who Pectus superbis ; cærulis picti notis
man and woman once, Sinuantur orbes : tortiles spiræ mi- changed into serpents ? And Dr.
Pearce replies, We may excuse Auri colore &c.
this as a poetical liberty of ex504. never since of serpent pression; it is much the same kind &c.]
Satan is not here as the critics have observed in compared and preferred to the Ovid's Metam. i. 1. where formas finest and most memorable ser mutalas in nova corpora stands pents of antiquity, the Python for corpora mutata in noras forand the rest ; but only to the most mas. In both places the changmemorable of those serpents into ing is attributed, not to the perwhich others were transformed ; sons changed, but to the forms VOL. II.
Lovelier, not those that in Illyria chang'd
or shapes into which they were Play'd round her neck in many a changed. Which changed Her
And lick'd that bosom which, a man, mione and Cadmus, that is, into
he kist. which Hermione and Cadmus were changed. So Horace says,
And after the wife was changed sat. ii. vii. 49.
too, it is said, ver. 602.
Nunc quoque nec fugiunt hominem, Quod Methymnæam vitio mutaserat nec vulnere lædunt: uvam,
Quidque prius fuerint, placidi memi.
nere dracones, for in quod vitio mutata est uva Methymnæa. If this may not Fearless see men, by men are fear. be allowed to pass, yet I see no
Still mild and conscious what they reason (says Dr. Pearce) why
once have been. Eusden. the construction may not be this, not those that in Illyria (were) They were therefore still Herchanged, viz. Hermione and Cad- mione and Cadmus, though mus, &c. Or perhaps this ; not changed ; as the devil was still those that Hermione and Cadmus the devil, though inclosed in changed, where changed stands for serpent. And thus it may be changed to, as in x. 540. we have said with the greatest propriety, the same way of speaking,
that none of serpent kind were
lovelier, not those that in Illyria -for what they saw, They felt themselves now changing.
changed Hermione and Cadmus,
or the God in Epiduurus, that is, But after all these very, inge- Æsculapius the God of physic, nious conjectures, I conceive the the son of Apollo, who was wormeaning to be as it is expressed, shipped at Epidaurus, a city of and the expression to be the Peloponnesus, and being sent most proper and apposite that for to Rome in the time of a could be. The serpents changed plague, assumed the form of a Hermione and Cadmus, the
serpent and accompanied the form of serpents was superin- ambassadors, as the story was duced, but they still retained the related in the eleventh book of same sense and
still be read in this Ovid says expressly. When
the fifteenth book of Ovid's MeCadmus was first changed, iv. tamorphosis: but though he was 595.
thus changed in appearance, he -Ille suæ lambebat conjugis ora ; was still Æsculapius, In serpente Inque sinus caros, veluti cognosce- Deus, as Ovid calls him xv. 670.
ret, ibat; Et dabat amplexus, assuetaque colla
the deity in a serpent, and under
that form continued to be worpetebat,
shipped at Rome. Nor were The husband-serpent show'd he still had thought,
those serpents lovelier, to which With wonted fondness an embrace transformed Ammonian Jove or he sought;
Capitoline was seen, Jupiter Am
In Epidaurus ; nor to which transform’d
mon and Jupiter Capitolinus, the The principal is one in four one the Lybian Jupiter, the books, the first of the creation, other the Roman, called Capito- the second of the happy state of line, from the Capitol, his temple man, the third of the fall of man, at Rome: He with Olympias, the the fourth of the redemption of first the pretended father of man by Jesus Christ: and this Alexander the Great, conversing poem was recommended to me with his mother Olympias in the as a performance to which Milform of a serpent; this with her ton had been much obliged and who bore Scipio the highth of indebted: but upon perusing it Rome, the latter fabled in like I do not well see how two aumanner to have been the father thors could write so much upon of Scipio Africanus, who raised the sanie subjects, and write his country and himself to the more differently. There are few highest pitch of glory. Dr. or no traces to be discovered of Bentley objects to this expres- any similitude or resemblance sion the highth of Rome. But, between them, but in the simile as Dr. Pearce observes in answer, before us, and the following one this expression is much of the of the Scotch poet, and these same nature with Ovid's Summa are so different, and applied so ducum Atrides, Amor. 1. i. el. 9. v. differently, that they may both 37. and with Cicero's expression be originals, or at least not the Apex senectutis est auctoritas, copy the one of the other. Milde Senect.: the Italians, whose ton's is applied to the oblique expressions Milton often imitates, motion of the serpent, this of use altezza in the same sense, if Ramsay to the Devil tempting I remember aright.
our Saviour, and when 513. As when a ship &c.] temptation would not avail, tryThere are some Latin poems of ing another: Andrew Ramsay, a Scotchman
-Ut vento portum qui fortè rein the time of Charles the First,
flante under this title, Poemata sacra Non potis est capere, is malos et Andreæ Rumsæi Pastoris Edin
lintea vela burgeni.
he Edinburgi 1633.
Carbaseosque sinus obliquat, tendere
rectà book is now grown very scarce, Qua nequit, incurvo radit vada cæ. but there are few poems in it.
Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the wind
Sic gnarus versare dolos, et imagine books which he has read with
falsa Ludere Tartareus coluber, contingere partakes of the qualities of the
out his knowing it, as the stream Se non posse videns primo molimine, earth through which it passes ;
and he may sometimes make use Mutat, et ad palmam converso tra. of the thoughts of others, and mite tendit.
still believe them his own. This So that upon the whole it is to may be the case with regard be questioned whether Milton to those authors, whom he is had ever seen these poems of known to have read; and much Ramsay, or knew any thing of less can he be certainly charged them; and he might still say with stealing from authors, when with truth that he pursued
it is very uncertain whether he
has read them or not. Things unattempted yet in prose or 522. Than at Circean call the rhime,
herd disguis'd.] All beasts of And in the general it may be the field used to play and sport said, that resemblance is not before her, more obedient to plagiarism. Different authors her voice, than men turned into may possibly hit upon
beasts by the famous inchantress thought without borrowing from Circe were at her beck. Ovid. one another. An author, of great Metam. xiv. 45. reading especially, may be tinged and coloured as it were by his
adulantùm media procedit reading; his writings may have ab aula. something of the taste of the
His gentle dumb expression tur'd at length
Wonder not, sovran mistress, if perhaps
530. Organic, or impulse of ning a temptation upon a wovocul air ,] That the devil man, namely, flattery, extravamoved the serpent's tongue, gant admiration of her person, and used it as an instrument and fulsome commendations of to form that tempting speech he her merit and beauty, and by made to Eve, is the opinion of these means engaging her atten. some; that he formed a voice tion, and so deluding her to her by impression of the sounding ruin. This speech is much of air, distant from the serpent, is the same strain and spirit with that of others: of which our that which Satan had made to author has left the curious to her before in her dream, v. 37, their choice. Hume.
&c. and it had a fatal effect, for 531. His fraudulent temptation
Into the heart of Eve his words thus began.] We see by this
made way. first speech of Satan what our author thought the most pro- To cry her up as a goddess was bable, the most natural, and the the readiest way to make her a most successful way of begin- mere mortal.