Page images


Bred only and completed to the taste
Of lustful appetence, to sing, to dance,
To dress, and troll the tongue, and roll the eye.
To these that sober race of men, whose lives
Religious titled them the sons of God,
Shall yield up all their virtue, all their fame
Ignobly, to the trains and to the smiles
Of these fair atheists, and now swim in joy,
Ere long to swim at large; and laugh, for which
The world ere long a world of tears must weep.

To whom thus Adam of short joy bereft.
O pity' and shame, that they who to live well


621. To these that sober race speaks in ver. 757. But if this of men, &c.] As we read in verse be blameable on this acGen. vi. 2. The sons of God saw count, yet our poet has used the the daughters of men, that they same way of speaking in ix. 11. were fair; and they took them

That brought into this world a wives of all which they chose. It world of woe. is now generally agreed, that this passage is to be understood of this sentence should

be pointed

I think that the foregoing part of the sons of Seth, the wor

thus, shippers of the true God, making matches with the idolatrous

and now swim in joy,

Ere long to swim at large; and daughters of wicked Cain; and

laugh, for which Milton very rightly puts this

The world ere long a world of tears construction upon it here, though

must weep. elsewhere he seems to give into the old exploded conceit of the ming at large are opposed to each

For swimming in joy and swimangels becoming enamoured of other, as are likewise laughing the daughters of men. See iii.

and weeping a world of tears. 463. and the note there, and

Pearce. likewise v. 447. and Par. Reg.

As the sense is so much im. ii. 178, 8c.

proved by this pointing, we 627. The world ere long a

cannot but prefer it to Milton's world of tears must weep.) Dr.

own, which was thus: Bentley observes that this world and world is a jingle, and that

-and now swim in joy

(Ere long to swim at large) and a world of tears is a low ex

laugh; for which pression. He would therefore

The world ece long a world of tears read a flood of tears: as Milton

must weep.


Enter'd so fair, should turn aside to tread

Paths indirect, or in the mid way faint !
But still I see the tenor of Man's woe
Holds on the same, from Woman to begin.

From Man's effeminate slackness it begins,
Said th' Angel, who should better hold his place
By wisdom and superior gifts receiv'd.
But now prepare thee for another scene.

He look’d, and saw wide territory spread
Before him, towns, and rural works between,
Cities of men with lofty gates and towers,

640 Concourse in arms, fierce faces threat’ning war, Giants of mighty bone, and bold emprise ; Part wield their arms, part curb the foaming steed, Single or in array of battle rang'd Both horse and foot, nor idly must'ring stood ; 645 One way a band select from forage drives A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine From a fat meadow ground; or fleecy flock, Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain, Their booty ; scarce with life the shepherds fly, 650

638. He look'd and saw wide for enterprise. It is used in the territory spread &c.] The next Mask. vision is of a quite contrary na- Alas! good vent'rous youth, ture, and filled with the horrors I love thy courage yet, and bold of war. Adam at the sight of

cmprise. it melts into tears, and breaks 645. -nor idly must'ring out in that passionate speech, stood ;] One cannot perceive -O what are these,

the pertinence of this without Death's ministers, not men &c. supposing that it hinted at the

Addison. circumstances of the land-army 642. -emprise ;) An old word at that time. Warburton.


But call in aid, which makes a bloody fray ;
With cruel tourneament the squadrons join ;
Where cattle pastur'd late, now scatter'd lies
With carcases and arms th’ insanguin'd field
Deserted: Others to a city strong
Lay siege, incamp'd; by battery, scale and mine,
Assaulting ; others from the wall defend
With dart and javelin, stones and sulphurous fire;
On each hand slaughter and gigantic deeds.
In other part the scepter'd heralds call



651. —which makes a bloody Another field rose high with waving fray ;) So it was altered for grain ;

With bended sickles stand the reaper the better in the second edition ;

train, it was tacks a bloody fray in the Here stretch'd in ranks the leveli'd first edition, which is not so swarths are found, plain and intelligible.

Sheaves heap'd on sheaves, here 660. In other part the scepter'd

thicken up the ground. Pope. heralds call &c.] It may be And ver. 587, &c. noted here once for all, that in Εν δε νομον σκησε σιρικλυτος Αμφι. this visionary part Milton has yunus frequently had his eye upon his

Εν καλη βησση μεγαν οιων αργενναων,

Σταθμους τε, κλισιας τε, κατηρεφιας master Homer, and several of

ids onmous. the images which are repre- Next this, the eye the art of Vulcan sented to Adam are copies of leads the descriptions on the shield of Deep thro' fair forests, and a length

of meads; Achilles, Iliad. xviii.

And stalls, and folds, and scatter'd His eyes he open'd, and beheld a

cotts between, field,

And fleecy flocks that whiten all the Part arable and tilth, whereon were sheaves

The vision of marriages, New reap'd, the other part sheep

They light the nuptial torch, and bid walks and folds.


Hymen, then first to marriage rites Is not this Homer's description invok'd: a little contracted? ver 550, fc. With feast and music all the tents

resound. Εν δ' ιτιθει τιμενος βαθυληλον ενθα δ Is it not a most beautiful and spido

exact copy of Homer? ver. 491, Ημων, οξιας δρετανας εν χερσιν εχον

&c. Δραγματα και αλλα μετ' ογμον επη- -Εν τη μεν ρα γαμοι σ' εσαν ειλασι

τριμα πιστον εραζε, Αλλα δ' αμαλλοδετηρες εν ελλαδανοισι Νυμφας δ' εκ θαλαμων, δαίδων υπο λαμ: drevto.



yai &

To council in the city gates : anon
Grey-headed men and grave, with warriors mix'd,


Ηγινεον ανα αστυ" πολυς δ' υμεναιος They fight, they fall, beside the ouge

silver flood, Κουροι δ' ορχηστηρες εδινεον, εν δ' αρα The waving silver seem'd to blush

with blood. Αυλοι, φορμιγγες σε βοην εχον

The representation of the city Here sacred pomp, and genial feast besieg'd here in Milton,

delight, And solemn dance, and hymeneal

-Others to a city strong rite;

Lay siege, encamp'd ; &c. Along the street the new-made brides the reader will find to be a very

are led, With torches flaming, to the nuptial great improvement upon that in bed:

Homer, ver. 509, fc. The youthful dancers in a circle Την δ' έτερης πολιν αμφι δυο στρατοι bound

sinto lawy, To the soft flute, and cittern's silver

Τευχεσι λαμσομενοι sound.

Another part (a prospect differing And in like manner the driving

far) away of the sheep and oxen Glow'd with refulgent arms, and from forage, and the battle horrid war. which thereupon ensues, may be

Two mighty hosts a leaguer'd town compared with the following

embrace, &c. passage in Homer: ver. 527, &c. As the council in the one Οι μεν τα τροιδοντες επιδραμον, ωκα δ' In other part the scepter'd heralds

call Ταμνοντ' αμφι βοων αγελας και τωρα

To council in the city gates : anon καλα

Grey-headed men and grave, with Αργεννων οιων κτεινον δ' επι μηλο.

warriors mix'd, βοτηρας.

Assemble, and harangues are heard, οι δ' ως ουν εαυθοντο σολυν κελαδος

&c. σαρα βουσιν, Ιραων προπαροιθε καθημενοι, αυτικ' εφ'

seems to be of much more im. into

portance than that in the other, Βαντες αερσιποδων μετεκιαθον· αιψα δ' ver. 503, &c.

ixorto. Στησαμενοι δ' εμαχοντο μαχην ποτα

Κηρυκες δ'

apa μοιο παρ' οχίας.


Eίατ' εσι ξεστοισι λιθους, ερω εα κυκλα In arms the glitt'ring squadron ris

Σκηπτρα δε κηρυκων εν χερσ' εχον ηεροing round,

φωνων Rush sudden; hills of slaughter heap

Τοισιν επεισ' ηισσον, αμοιβηδις δ' εδι-the ground,

καζον Whole flocks and herds lie bleeding Th' appointed heralds still the noisy on the plains,

bands, And, all amidst them, dead, the And form a ring with sceptres in shepherd swains,

their hands; The bellowing oxen the besiegers On seats of stone, within the sacred hear,

place, They rise, take horse, approach, and The rev'rend elders nodded o'er the meet the war ;

case ;


λαον ερητον

[ocr errors]


Assemble, and harangues are heard, but soon
In factious opposition, till at last
Of middle age one rising, eminent
In wise deport, spake much of right and wrong,
Of justice, of religion, truth and peace,
And judgment from above: him old and young
Exploded and had seiz'd with violent hands,
Had not a cloud descending snatch'd him thence 670
Unseen amid the throng : so violence
Proceeded, and oppression, and sword-law
Through all the plain, and refuge none was found.
Adam was all in tears, and to his guide
Lamenting turn'd full sad; O what are these,
Death's ministers, not men, who thus deal death


[ocr errors]

Alternate, each th' attesting scep- Enoch said to be of middle age, tre took,

because he was translated when And rising solemn, cach his sentence

he was but three hundred and spoke.

sixty-five years old; a middle The description of the shield of age then. Gen. v. 23. RichardAchilles is certainly one of the finest pieces of poetry in the 668. And judgment from above :) whole iliad, and our author has It appears from holy writ, that plainly shown his admiration he was not only a good man, and affection for it by borrow- and walked with God, Gen. v. ing so many scenes and images 24. but that he remonstrated from it: but I think we may likewise against the wickedness say, that they do not like other of mankind, and denounced the copies fall short of the originals, heavy judgment of God upon but generally exceed them, and them, Jude 14. Behold the Lord receive this additional beauty, cometh with ten thousands of his that they are most of them made saints to erecute judgment upon representations of real histories all &c. which the poet alludes to and matters of fact.

inore plainly afterwards, ver. 661. To council in the city 704. gates :) For there assemblies

that God would come were anciently held, and the To judge them with his saints.judges used to sit, Gen. xxxiv. 669. Exploded] From explodo, 20. Deut. xvi. 18. xxi. 19. Zech. Latin, to hiss, to drive out disviii. 16.

gracefully with some noise of 665. Of middle age one rising,) contempt. Johnson.

« PreviousContinue »