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Ceas'd warbling, but all night tun’d her soft lays:
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
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 dese Sung spousal, and bid haste the evencant sungi
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.
the rest. 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 slccp'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
Between her white wings mantling proudly, rows
The sixth, and of creation last arose
their descriptions of the swan, Here is an affected and unHomer calls the swan long- natural conceit, like too many necked douaixodrigor, but how others, even in Milton. He much more picturesque if he had means that the swan in swim. arched this length of neck! herming forms a superb canopy wings muntling 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 he did it because he thought
diem. pose 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 canopy 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 folsage.
lows rather than our translation;
in her kind :
Let th' earth bring forth soul living in her kind, Cattle and creeping things, and beast of th’ earth, Each in their kind. The earth obey'd, and straight Opening her fertile womb teem'd at a birth Innumerous living creatures, perfect forms,
455 Limb'd and full grown: out of the ground up rose As from his lair the wild beast where he wons In forest wild, in thicket, brake, or den ; Among the trees in pairs they rose, they walk'd : The cattle in the fields and meadows green: 460 Those rare and solitary, these in flocks and soul it should be here as in than things, because it is more ver. 318. living soul, and 392. conformable to the text of Scripsoul living. It is indeed fowl in ture. all the printed copies.
Cattle and creeping thing, and beast
of th' earth. Let th' earth bring forth forel living
455. Innumerous living crea
tures- --] Innumerous is uncombut Dr. Bentley, Dr. Pearce, He has the expression Mr. Richardson, and common sense, all condemn this reading; which Pope has adopted into
innumerous boughs, Comus, 349. it is manifestly nothing but an
his Odyssey. T. Warton. error of the press that has run
456. --Out of the ground up through all the editions ; for fowl were all created the day
As from his lair the wild beast before, and not on this day.
where he wons We have therefore restored the
In forest wild,] true genuine reading.
Lair, or layer, an old Saxon Let th' earth bring forth soul living word signifying a bed. The use
of this word is still kept up We are very cautious in admit- among us, as when we call the ting any alterations into the text different strata or beds of earth, of Milton ; but in correcting some of clay, some of chalk, such mistakes as this we con- some of stone, &c. lairs. Wons ceive we do no more than Mil- is an old Saxon word signifying ton himself would have us do; to dwell or inhabit. Dr. Bentwho, after the table of errata in ley reads In forest wide, instead the first edition, says, Other of wild, wild beast going before ; literal faults the reader of himself but Milton does not dislike such may correct. And for the same a repetition of the same word. reason we agree with Dr. Bent- 461. Those rare and solitary, ley, that in the next verse it these in flocks] Those, that is, should be creeping thing rather the wild beasts mentioned in
in her kind.
Pasturing at once, and in broad herds upsprung,
clods now calv'd, now half appear'd
ver. 457, these the tame, the of the beasts rising out of the cattle ; and it is a very signal earth, though Dr. Bentley conact of Providence that there are demns it as an insertion of the so few of the former sort, and editor's, is certainly not only so many of the latter, for the worthy of the genius of Milton, use and service of man.
but may be esteemed a shining 462. –broad herds] This will part of the poem. sound a little strange to the ear the beasts to rise out of the of an English reader, who must earth, in perfect forms, limbed therefore be told that he follows and full grown, as Raphael had Homer literally. Iliad. xi. 678. painted this subject before in -asrohun shari' argws.
the Vatican; and he describes Virgil hath a long herd, Æn. i. and attitudes, and in numbers
their manner of rising in figures 186.
too, suited to their various na-et longum per valies pascitur tures. agmen. Richardson.
467. The libbard,] The same
as the leopard ; a word used by 463. The grassy clods now Spenser and the old poets, Faery calv’d,} Dr. Bentley quarrels Queen, b. i. cant. vi. st. 25. with this expression, and says, 470. -scarce from his mould that calred is a metaphor very Behemoth biggest born of earth heroical, especially for wild
upheard beasts. But, as Dr. Pearce His vastness :) justly observes, to calve (from The numbers are excellent, and the Belgic word Kalven) signi- admirably express the heaviness fies to bring forth: it is a ge- and unwieldiness of the elephant, neral word, and does not relate for it is plainly the elephant to cows only; for hinds are said that Milton means. Behemoth to calve in Job xxxix. 1. and and leviathan are two creatures, Psalm xxix. 9. Mr. Addison par- described in the book of Job, ticularly commends this meta- and formerly the generality of phor: and the whole description interpreters understood by them
Behemoth biggest born of earth upheav'd
the elephant and the whale: but It is the same style of sound, and the learned Bochart and other the verse labours as much with later critics have endeavoured to broad bare backs and behemoth shew, that behemoth is the river biggest born as with metuens, horse, and leviathan the crocodile. molem, montes. And the labour It seems as if Milton was of the of these lines appears greater in former opinion, by mentioning contrast with the ease of the leviathan among the fishes, and following measures, which dethe river horse and scaly crocodile, scribe the lesser animals springver. 474. as distinct from behe
ing up as lightly and as thick as moth and leviathan; and there plants; is surely authority sufficient to justify a poet in that opinion. -fleec'd the flocks and bleating rose, Behemoth biggest born. The al
As plants. literation, as the critics call it, is very remarkable, all the words here and not a participle—and
478. - deck'd] It is a verb beginning with b. We had another instance a little before in
decked their smallest lineaments the production of the mountains, exact in all the liveries &c.
482. Minims of nature ;] This ver. 286.
word minims is formed from the -and their broad bare backs upheave
adjective minima, and in allusion Into the clouds.
to the Vulgar Latin of Prov. It is the same kind of beauty
xxx. 24. Quatuor ista sunt minithat is admired in Virgil, Æn. i.
ma terræ. The word was in use
before for an order of friars, Hoc metuens, molemque et montes in- Minim, minimi, so called from
affected humility. Imposuit.