Page images
PDF
EPUB

To labour calls us now with sweat impos’d,
Though after sleepless night; for see the morn,
All unconcern'd with our unrest, begins
Her rosy progress smiling ; let us forth,

175
I never from thy side henceforth to stray
Where'er our day's work lies, though now injoin'd
Laborious, till day droop ; while here we dwell,
What can be toilsome in these pleasant walks ?
Here let us live, though in fall’n state, content.

So spake, so wish'd much-humbled Eve, but fate Subscrib'd not; Nature first gave signs, impress'd

180

175. Her rosy progress smil- of Paradise. There is a double ing ;] This may serve to con- beauty in this incident, not only firm what we observed before, as it presents great and just that Leucothea is the most early omens, which are always agreemorning, that ushers in the able in poetry, but as it exAurora; she was pale and white presses that enmity which was before, now she is rosy red, with now produced in the animal the nearer approach of the sun- creation. The poet, to shew beams, agreeably to the quota- the like changes in nature, as tion that we made from Lu- well as to grace his fable with cretius,

a noble prodigy, represents the -roseam Matuta per oras

sun in an eclipse. This parEtheris Auroram defert,

ticular incident has likewise a And the expression of the morn's of the reader, in regard to what

fine effect upon the imagination beginning her progress seems to follows; for at the same time be copied from Shakespeare, that the sun is under an eclipse, 1 Henry IV. act ii.

a bright cloud descends in the -the heav'nly-harness'd team western quarter of the heavens, Begins his golden progress in the filled with an host of angels,

and more luminous than the 181. So spake, &c.) The con- sun itself. The whole theatre ference of Adam and Eve is full of nature is darkened, that this of moving sentiments. Upon glorious machine may appear in their going abroad after the all its lustre and magnificence. melancholy night which they Addison. had passed together, they dis- 182. Subscrib'd not ;] That cover the lion and the eagle is, assented not, reed not to pursuing each of them their it. Subscribere, to underwrite, prey, towards the eastern gate thence to agree to. So the

east.

185

On bird, beast, air, air suddenly eclips'd
After short blush of morn ; nigh in her sight
The bird of Jove, stoop'd from his aery tour,
Two birds of gayest plume before him drove ;
Down from a hill the beast that reigns in woods,
First hunter then, pursu'd a gentle brace,

word is sometimes used in Twelve swans behold in beauteous Latin; and Milton often uses

order move,

And stoop with closing pinions from words according to the Latin

above; idiom. So Ovid, Trist. lib. i.

Whom lato the bird of Jore had el. ii.

driv'n along,

And through the clouds pursued the Dii maris et cæli (quid enim nisi

scatt'ring throng. Dryden. vota supersunt ?) Solvere quassatæ parcite membra And Æn. xii. 247. ratis :

Namque volans rubrå fulvus Jovis Neve precor magni subscribite Cæsaris iræ.

ales in æthra

Littoreas agitabat aves, turbamque And Phædrus, Fab. iii. x. 57.

sonantem

Agminis aligeri. Aut gratiæ subscribit, aut odio suo.

For sudden in the fiery tracts above, And so Shakespeare in Measure

Appears in pomp th' imperial bird for Measure, act ii.

of Jove :

A plump of fowls he spies, that Admit no other way to save his life,

swim the lakes, As I subscribe not that.

And o'er their heads his sounding

pinions shakes. 184. -nigh in her sight] Dr.

Then stooping on the fairest of the Bentley says, Milton gave it, train, &c.

Dryden. nigh in their sight, not in Eve's only, but in the sight of both. But these omens have a sinBut it should rather be in her gular beauty here, as they show sight here, because it is said the change that is produced afterwards Adam observed &c.

among animals, as well as the 185. The bird of Jove, stoop'd change that is going to be made from his aery tour, &c.] The

in the condition of Adam and bird of Jove, Jovis ales, the eagle. Eve; and nothing could be inStooped is a participle here, and vented more apposite and proa term of falconry. Such omens

per for this purpose. An eagle are not unusual in the poets, pursuing two beautiful birds, Virg. Æn. i. 393.

hart

and hind; and both to the eastAspice bis senos lætantes agmine ern gate of Paradise; as Adam cycnos,

and Eve were to be driven out Æthereà quos lapsa plagâ Jovis ales aperto

by the angel at the eastern gate Turbabat coelo.

of Paradise.

200

Goodliest of all the forest, hart and hind;
Direct to th’ eastern gate was bent their flight. 190
Adam observ'd, and with his eye the chase
Pursuing, not unmov'd to Eve thus spake.

O Eve, some further change awaits us nigh, Which Heav'n by these mute signs in nature shows, Forerunners of his purpose, or to warn

195
Us haply too secure of our discharge
From penalty, because from death releas'd
Some days; how long, and what till then our life,
Who knows, or more than this, that we are dust,
And thither must return and be no more?
Why else this double object in our sight
Of flight pursu'd in th' air, and o'er the ground,
One way the self-same hour? why in the east
Darkness ere day's mid-course, and morning light
More orient in yon western cloud, that draws
O'er the blue firmament a radiant white,
And slow descends, with something heav'nly fraught?

He err'd not, for by this the heav'nly bands,
Down from a sky of jasper lighted now
In Paradise, and on a hill made halt,
A glorious apparition, had not doubt
And carnal fear that day dimm’d Adam's eye.

205

210

204. Darkness ere day's mid- I would refer the curious reader course,]

to Marino's description of the Et noctis faciem nebulas fecisse descent of the three goddesses volucres

upon mount Ida, c. ii. st. 67. Sub nitido mirata die.

which is a scene of the same Oo. Met. i. 602.

sort with this, and painted, I Humie.

think, even in livelier colours 204. -and morning light &c.] than this of Milton's. Thyer.

215

Not that more glorious, when the Angels met
Jacob in Mahanaim, where he saw
The field pavilion'd with his guardians bright;
Nor that which on the flaming mount appear'd
In Dothan, cover'd with a camp of fire,
Against the Syrian king, who to surprise
One man, assassin like, had levied war,
War unproclaim'd. The princely Hierarch
In their bright stand there left his pow’rs to seize
Possession of the garden ; he alone,
To find where Adam shelter'd, took his way,
Not unperceiv'd of Adam, who to Eve,
While the great visitant approach'd, thus spake.

220

225

213. Not that more glorious, the servant of the man of God was &c.] That was not a more glo- risen early, and gone forth, behold rious apparition of angels, which an host compassed the city, both appeared to Jacob in Mahanaim. with horses and chariots: and his Gen. xxxii. 1, 2. And Jacob went servant said unto him, Alas, my on his way, and the angels of master, how shall we do? And he God met him: and when Jacob answered, Fear not: for they that saw them, he said, This is God's be with us are more than they that host; and he called the name of be with them. And Elisha prayed that place Mahanaim. Nor that and said, Lord, I pray thee, open which appeared on the flaming his eyes that he may see. And mount in Dothan against the the Lord opened the eyes of the king of Syria, when he levied young man, and he saw: and bewar against a single man not hold, the mountain was full of like a generous enemy, but like horses and chariots of fire round a base assassin endeavoured to about Elisha. take him by surprise, namely 220. War unproclaim'd.] The Elisha, for having disclosed the severe censure on this makes designs of the king of Syria to me fancy that Milton hinted at the king of Israel, 2 Kings vi. the war with Holland, which 13, &c. And it was told him, broke out in 1664, when we sursaying, Behold he is in Dothan. prised and took the Dutch BourTherefore sent he thither horses, deaux fleet, before war was and chariots, and a great host : proclaimed, which the Whigs and they came by night, and com- much exclaimed against. Warpassed the city about. And when burtun.

230

Eve, now expect great tidings, which perhaps
Of us will soon determine, or impose
New laws to be observ'd; for I descry
From yonder blazing cloud that veils the hill
One of the heav'nly host, and by his gait
None of the meanest, some great potentate
Or of the thrones above, such majesty
Invests him coming ; yet not terrible,
That I should fear, nor sociably mild,
As Raphael, that I should much confide,
But solemn and sublime, whom not to offend,
With reverence I must meet, and thou retire.

He ended ; and th’ archangel soon drew nigh,

235

230. by his gait

rank: the supremacy of majestic None of the meanest,]

grace was attributed to Juno; The deities of the heathen my- Athenæus has the phrase 'Hgacor thology had a peculiar species of Budišu, and Propertius, I. ii. el. motion ascribed to them by 2. says of his mistress, incedit vel the poets. Thus Virgil makes Jove digna soror. Æneas discover his mother by Milton in the same manner the single circumstance of her ascribes to the angels a gait progait: vera incessu patuit Dea. portioned to their rank. When Æn. i. 405. Juno likewise de- Satan, in the third book, asscribes herself, Ast ego quæ

Di- sumes the form of a stripling vûm incedo regina. n. i. 46. cherub, previous to his conferAnd, Æn. v. 647, we find

among ence with Uriel, he has decent, the distinguishing marks of di- that is graceful, steps. And so vinity, the gressus eunti:

here. -divini signa decoris

I descry Ardentesque notate oculos; qui spi

One of the heavenly bost, and by his ritus illi,

gait Qui vullus, vocisque sonus, vel gres- None of the meanest, some great sus eunti.

potentate The most ancient statues repre

Or of the thrones above, such majesty

Invests him coming; sent the Dii Majores with their

Dunster. feet even; not as walking, but as smooth-sliding without step. 238. -th' archangel soon drew P. L. vii. 302. The graceful- nigh, &c.) I need not obness of their motion was sup- serve how properly this author, posed proportionate to their who always suits his parts to the VOL. II.

U

« PreviousContinue »