Page images
PDF
EPUB

In knowledge, as the Gods who all things know;
Though others envy what they cannot give; 805
For had the gift been theirs, it had not here
Thus grown. Experience, next to thee I owe,
Best guide; not following thee I had remain'd
In ignorance; thou open’st wisdom's way,
And giv'st access, though secret she retire.

810
And I perhaps am secret ; heav'n is high,
High, and remote to see from thence distinct
Each thing on earth ; and other care perhaps
May have diverted from continual watch
Our great forbidder, safe with all his spies

815 About him. But to Adam in what sort Shall I appear ? shall I to him make known As yet my change, and give him to partake

805. Though others envy what of Jacob regard it, Psal. xciv. they cannot give ;] She resolves 7. to eat of the tree till she equals 815. Our great forbidder, safe the Gods in knowledge, though with all his spies others envy; she means the Gods,

About him.] though for decency's sake she Dr. Bentley declares safe to be names them not. She had said pure nonsense here, and therebefore, ver. 770. that the beast fore alters the verse thus, which first hath tasted envies not

Our great forbidder's cyc, with all &c. but others envy. She is now

his spies &c. arrived to that pitch of impiety, that she attributes envy to the But safe signifies here as in the Gods, as Satan had taught her, vulgar phrases, I have him safe, ver. 729. and questions whether

or he is sofe asleep : where not this tree was their gift, as Satan the safety of the person secured had likewise suggested, ver. 718. or asleep is meant, but the safety &c. such impression had his doc- of others with respect to any trines made upon her.

danger from him. This is in811. And I perhaps am secret ;) deed a sense of the word not She questions even God's omni- usual in poetry; but common science, and flatters herself that speech will justify it so far, as she is still in secret, like other to make the Doctor's emendation sinners, who say, The Lord shall unnecessary. Pearce. noi sce, neither shall the God 818. -and gire him to parlake

820

Full happiness with me, or rather not,
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power
Without copartner? so to add what wants
In female sex, the more to draw his love,
And render me more equal, and perhaps,
A thing not undesirable, sometime
Superior ; for inferior who is free?
This
may

be well : but what if God have seen, And death ensue? then I shall be no more, And Adam wedded to another Eve,

[ocr errors]

&c.] An ingenious person and his favourite Milton, in this place great admirer of Milton says, and in i. 736. that to give to do a thing is in his

and gave to rule, opinion one of the most beauti

Each in his hierarchy, the orders ful expressions in all the poetical bright. language, as in Hom. Iliad. i.

823. and perhaps, 18.

A thing not undesirable, someΥμιν μεν θεοι δοιιν, ολυμπια δωματ'

time XOSTIS,

Superior; for inferior who is Εκτιρσαι Πριαμοιο πολιν, ευδ' οίκαδ ixiglas.

free?]

There is a very humourous tale Virgil was so sensible of this in Chaucer, which is also versicharming, expression, that he has fied by Dryden, wherein the used it in the three following question is proposed, what it is passages, and I believe in one or

that women most affect and two others in the very first desire? Some say wealth, some Æneid, ver. 65.

beauty, some fattery, some in -tibi Divum pater atque homi- short one thing, and some an

other ; but the true answer is Et mulcere dedit Auctus et tollere sovereignty. And the thought

of attaining the superiority over ver. 79.

her husband is very artfully

made one of the first that Eve tu das epulis accumbere Divům.

entertains after her eating of the ver. 522.

forbidden fruit : but still her O regina, novam, cui condere Jupi. love of Adam and jealousy of ter urbem,

another Eve prevail even over Justitiaque dedit gentes frænare su

that; so just is the observation perbas.

of Solomon, Cant. viii. 6. Love I wonder he did not farther take is strong as death, jealousy is notice of the same expression in cruel as the grave.

num rex

vento.

830

835

Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct ;
A death to think. Confirm’d then I resolve,
Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe:
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
I could indure, without him live no life.

So saying, from the tree her step she turn’d,
But first low reverence done, as to the Power
That dwelt within, whose presence had infus'd
Into the plant sciential sap, deriv’d
From nectar, drink of Gods. Adam the while
Waiting desirous her return, had wove
Of choicest flow'rs a garland to adorn
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown,
As
reapers

oft are wont their harvest queen.
Great joy he promis’d to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delay'd ;
Yet oft his heart, divine of something ill,
Misgave him; he the falt’ring measure felt ;

840

8 45

832. So dear I love him, that ing for the return of Hector, not

with him all deaths knowing that he was already I could endure, without him slain by Achilles. Hom. Iliad. lire no life.]

xxii. 440. Ana'ng' osoy üpaine. &c. How much stronger and more 845. divine of something ill,] pathetic is this than that of Foreboding something ill; Horace, Od. iii. ix. 24.

Latin phrase, as in Hor. od.

iii. xxvii. 10. Tecum vivere amem, tecum obcam libens !

Imbriurn divina avis imminentum : 835. But first low reverence and again, De Arte Poet. 218. done, as to the Power

Utiliumque sagax rerum, et divina That dwelt within]

futuri Eve falling into idolatry upon

Sortilegis non discrepuit sententia the taste of the forbidden tree,

Delphis. as the first fruit of disobedience, 846. —he the fult'ring measure is finely imagined. Richardson. felt;] He found his heart kept

838. Ada the while &c.] not true time, he felt the fals Andromache is thus described and intermitting measure; the as amusing herself, and prepare natural description of our minds

850

And forth to meet her went, the way she took
That morn when first they parted ; by the tree
Of knowledge he must pass, there he her met,
Scarce from the tree returning ; in her hand
A bough of fairest fruit, that downy smild,
New gather'd, and ambrosial smell diffus’d.
To him she hasted ; in her face excuse
Came prologue, and apology too prompt,
Which with bland words at will she thus address'd. 855

Hast thou not wonder'd, Adam, at my stay?
Thee I have miss’d, and thought it long, depriv'd
Thy presence, agony of love till now
Not felt, nor shall be twice, for never more
Mean I to try, what rash untried I sought,

860
The pain of absence from thy sight. But strange
Hath been the cause, and wonderful to hear :
This tree is not as we are told, a tree
Of danger tasted, nor to' evil unknown
Opening the way, but of divine effect
To open eyes, and make them Gods who taste;
And hath been tasted such ; the Serpent wise,
Or not restrain’d as we, or not obeying,

865

rem.

foreboding ill, by the unequal Et liquidum ambrosiæ diffudit odobeatings of the heart and pulse.

Georg. iv. 415. Hume.

Hume. 851. A bough of fairest fruit, 854. - apology too prompt] that downy smild,

We have here followed Dr. New gather'd, and ambrosial Bentley's and Mr. Fenton's edismell diffus'd.]

tions as representing we con. Thut downy smiled, that covered ceive the true and genuine readwith soft down looked sweetly.

ing. In the former editions it Ipse ego cana legam tenerà lanu.

was apology to prompt, which gine mala. Virg. Ecl. ii. 51.

we presume to have been an and ambrosial smell diffused, Vir- error of the press. gil's very words,

Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become,
Not dead, as we are threaten’d, but thenceforth

870
Indued with human voice and human sense,
Reasoning to admiration, and with me
Persuasively hath so prevail'd, that I
Have also tasted, and have also found
Th’ effects to correspond, opener mine eyes, 875
Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,
And growing up to Godhead; which for thee
Chiefly I sought, without thee can despise.
For bliss, as thou hast part, to me is bliss,
Tedious, unshar'd with thee, and odious soon.
Thou therefore also taste, that equal lot
May join us, equal joy, as equal love;
Lest thou not tasting, different degree
Disjoin us, and I then too late renounce
Deity for thee, when fate will not permit.

Thus Eve with count'nance blithe her story told ; But in her cheek distemper flushing glow'd. On th’ other side, Adam, soon as he heard The fatal trespass done by Eve, amaz’d, Astonied stood and blank, while horror chill 890

880

885

890. Astonied stood and blank,

while horror chill Ran through his veins, and all

his joints relard ;]

875. -opener mine eyes, Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler

heart,
And growing up to Godhead ;]
Milton in the manner of expres-
sion here seems pretty plainly
to allude to what Thyrsis in
Tasso's Aminta says of himself
upon his seeing Phæbus and the
Muses. Act i. sc. 2.

Sentii mè far di mé stesso maggiore,
Pien di noua virtu, pieno di noua
Deitade.

Thyer.

Obstupuere animi, gelidusque per

ima cucurrit Ossa tremor. Virg. Æn. ii. 120. Illi solvuntur frigore membra.

Æn. xii. 951.

Hume.

890.] See note on Psalm vi. 21. E.

« PreviousContinue »