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260

Blind Melesigenes thence Homer callid,
Whose poem Phæbus challeng’d for his own.
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In Chorus or Iambic, teachers best
Of moral prudence with delight receiv'd

of poetry. Such wise men as thus Milton in his Preface to Dionysius the Halicarnassean, Sams. Agon. “ Tragedy, as it and Plutarch, have attempted to was anciently composed, hath shew, that poetry in all its forms, ever been held the gravest, motragedy, comedy, ode, and epi- ralest, and most profitable of all taph, are included in his works. other poems, &c.” Dunster. See the ingenious author of the 262. In Chorus or Iambic,] Inquiry into the life and writings These may be said to be the two of Homer enlarging upon this constituent parts of the ancient subject, sect. 12. Blind Melisi- tragedy, which was written either genes thence Homer called ; our in lambic verse, or in verses of author here follows Herodotus various measures, whereof the in his account of the life of Ho- Chorus usually consisted. And mer, that he was born near the the character here given of the river Meles, from whence he had ancient Greek tragedy is very the name of Melesigenes, Tiletat just and noble; and the English ονομα το παιδι Μελεσιγενεα, απο του reader cannot form a better idea ποταμου την επωνυμιαν λαβουσα, and of it in its highest beauty and because he was blind, thence he perfection than by reading our was called Homer, open óqwe, svTtuØsy author's Samson Agonistes. δε και τουνομα “Ομηρος επεκράτησε το

262. -teachers best Μελησιγενει απο της συμφορης οι yal

of moral prudence, &c.] Κυμαιοι τους τυφλους ομηρους λεγου- This description particularly ap

Whose poem Phoebus chal- plies to Euripides, who, next to lenged for his own, alluding to a Homer, was Milton's favourite Greek epigram in the first book Greek author. See Quinctilian, of the Anthologia,

1. x. c. 1. And Aulus Gellius,

1. xi. c. 4. Aristotle takes almost Hudor pesv sywv, sxagacords duos 'Ouengos, all his examples of sentences which Mr. Fenton has enlarged from Euripides. (Rhetoric. ii. c. and applied to Mr. Pope's Eng- 22.) See Bp. Hurd's note on lish Iliad.

Horace's art of Poetry, v. 219. 261. —the lofty grave trage for an admirable account of the dians,] These are the epithets reasons why the Greek Tragic usually applied to tragedy by poets introduced in their pieces the ancients, as Quintilian, 1. x. so great an abundance of moral c. 1. Claudian, De Mall. Theod. precepts, and why they Cons. 314. Ovid, Trist. 1. ii. el. with such delight received. Duni. 381. and 553. Horace, in his ster. Ode to Asinius Pollio. And

ere

265

In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, of chance, and change in human life ;
High actions, and high passions best describing :
Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democraty,
Shook th' arsenal and fulmin'd over Greece,

270

264. Of fate, and chance, and does Milton's versification in this

change in human life and the following lines concernHigh actions, and high passions ing the Socratic philosophy exbest describing :)

press what he is describing! In The most usual arguments of the first we feel as it were the the Greek tragic writers (and nervous rapid eloquence of Deindeed of their epic poets also) mosthenes, and the latter have were the accomplishment of some all the gentleness and softness of oracle, or some supposed decree the humble modest character of of fate. But the incidents which Socrates. Thyer. led to the destined event, accord- 268. Those ancient,] For Miling to their system, depended on ton was of the same opinion as chance. Fate and chance then Cicero, who preferred Pericles, furnished the subject and inci- Hyperides, Æschines, Demodents of their dramas, whilst the sthenes, and the orators of their catastrophe produced the peri- times, to Demetrius Phalereus petia, or change of fortune. The and those of the subsequent ages. history of Edipus, one of their See Cicero de claris Oratoribus. principal dramatic subjects, was And in the judgment of Quinhere perhaps in our poet's mind; tilian Demetrius Phalereus was and it affords a striking exem- the first who weakened eloplification of the preceding re- quence, and the last almost of marks. Change in human life the Athenians who can be called however might not only refer to an orator; is primus inclinasse the pathetic catastrophes of the eloquentiam dicitur-ultimus est Greek tragedy, since it sometimes fere ex_Atticis qui dici possit formed, as in the Edipus Colo- orator. De Instit. Orat. x. i. neus, the entire argument of their 270. -and fulmin'd over pieces. High actions, the radar Greece,] Alluding (as Mr. Jortin Apažus of Aristotle, refer to fate has likewise observed) to what and chance, the arguments and Aristophanes has said of Pericles incidents of tragedy; high pas- in his Acharnenses, act ii. sc. 5. sions to the peripetia, or change of fortune, which included the Εστραστιν, εβροντα, ξυνεχυκα την “Ελ.

λαδα. Fatos or affecting part. Dunster.

267. Thence to the famous ora- Since I have mentioned this pastors repair, &c.] How happily sage, I will add, that Cicero has

To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne :
To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,
From heav'n descended to the low-roof'd house

alluded to it in his Orator 9. Persian king, so Demosthenes speaking of Pericles. Qui si was the orator particularly, who tenui genere uteretur, nunquam fulmined over Greece to Macedon ab Aristophane poeta fulgere, to- against king Philip in his oranare, permiscere Græciam dictus tions, therefore denominated esset. Diodorus Siculus has Philippics. quoted it likewise lib. 12. and 273. From heav'n descended to ascribed it to Eupolis the poet, the low-roofd house the same who' is mentioned by Of Socrates ;] Horace.

Mr. Calton thinks the author al. Eupolis, atque Cratinus, Aristopha- ludes to Juv. Sat. xi. 27. nesque poetæ.

Le cælo descendit yewli OSCUTO", και πάλιν εν αλλοις Ευπολις ο ποιητής as this famous Delphic precept

Περικλεης ολυμπιος Ησαπτ, was the foundation of Socrates's εύροντα, συνεχυκα την Ελλαδα Ci

Ci- philosophy, and so much used cero had at first fallen into the by him, that it hath passed with same mistake as Diodorus, which some for his own. Or as Mr. is often the case of writers who Warburton and Mr. Thyer conquote by memory; and therefore ceive, the author here probably desires Atticus to correct the alludes to what Cicero says of copies, and for Eupolis to put Socrates, Socrates autem primus in Aristophanes. Cic. ad Att. philosophiam devocavit e cælo, xii. 6.

et in urbibus collocavit, et in 270. See Kuster's note on the domus etiam introduxit. Tusc. passage in Aristophanes for the Disp. v. 4. But he has given a various authors who have alluded very different sense to the words to it; but he has omitted Quinc- either by design or mistake, as tilian, lib. ii. c. 16. and lib. xii. Mr. Warburton observes. It is c. 10. In the eleventh Æn. properly called the low-roofed 883, Virgil makes Turnus say to house ; for I believe, said SoDrances,

crates, that if I could meet with

a good purchaser, I might easily Proinde tona cloquio ; solitum tibi.

get

for my goods and house and Cicero (Ep. ad Attic. xv. 1.) all five pounds. E-pos speaks of the fulmina Demosthe- (εφη ο Σωκρατης) ει αγαθου ανητου nis; and Longinus also (c. xxxii.) ET ITU Xorel, suçaiv av flot cur Th 0:25 says of Demosthenes, καταβροντα και τα οντα παντα πανν ραδιως πεντε και καταφεγγει του απ' αιωτος ρητο- μνας. Xenophon, Economic. five gus, *. T.A. Dunster.

minas or Attic pounds were bet271. To Macedon and Arta- ter than sixteen pounds of our xerxes' throne:) As Pericles and money, a mina, according to others fulmined over Greece to Barnard, being three pounds Artaxerxes' throne against the eight shillings and nine pence.

275

Of Socrates; see there his tenement,
Whom well inspir'd the oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men ; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams that water'd all the schools
Of academics old and new, with those

273. In the Clouds of Aristo- speaks of Philosophorum ingenia phanes, Strepoiades calls the Socratico ore defluentia. See also habitation of Socrates, oxidov, Minucius Felix, Octav. c. xiii. ædicula. Dunster.

But our author had here per275. Whom well inspir'd the haps in his mind a well known oracle pronounc'd

passage of Ælian (Var. Hist. lib. Wisest of men ;]

xiii. c. 22.) concerning Homer, The verse delivered down to us whence also Manilius says, speakupon this occasion is this, ing of him, (lib. ii. 8.) Ανδρων άπαντων Σωκρατης σοφώτατος.

.

- cujusque cx ore profusos Of all men Socrates is the wisest:

Omnis posteritas latices in carmina

duxit, See Diogenes Laertius in vita Amnemque in tenues ausa est dedu

cere rivos Socratis. Mr. Calton adds, that

Unius fecunda bonis. the Tempter designs here a compliment to himself; for he would And Ovid, 3 Amor. ix. 25. be understood to be the inspirer. Adjice Mæonidem, a quo, ceu fonte

276. ---from whose mouth issued perenni, forth &c.] Thus Quintilian calls

Vatum Pieriis ora rigantur aquis.

Dunster. Socrates fons philosophorum, i. 10. and as the ancients looked upon 278. Of Academics old and Homer as the father of poetry, new, &c.] The Academic sect so they esteemed Socrates the had its three epochs, old, middle, father of moral philosophy. The and new. Plato was the head of different sects of philosophers the old academy, Arcelisas of the were but so many different fa- middle, and Carneades of the milies, which all acknowledged new. The Peripatetics were surhim for their common parent. named from the Figitatoy or walk See Cicero, Academic. i. 4. Tusc. of the Lyceum, where Aristotle Disp. v. 4. and particularly De taught, as the Stoics from the Orat. ii. 16, 17. The quotation tou or portico where they atwould be too long to be inserted. tended the instructions of Zeno. See likewise Mr. Warburton's ac- “ The common opinion adopted count of the Socratic school, b. by Cicero and others that the iii. sect. 3. of the Divine Lega- Peripatetics were so named ex tou tion.

TILITATEv, ex deambulatione, is 276. Compare Cicero, Brutus, refuted," says Dr. Gillies, " by sect. 31. ed. Proust, and De the authors cited by Brucker, Orator. i. 42. and De Nat. Deor. vol. i. p. 787." The severity of

Paterculus (lib. i. c. 16.) the Stoics is proverbial; see Se

Surnam'd Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;

280
These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself, much more with empire join'd.

To whom our Saviour sagely thus replied, 285 Think not but that I know these things, or think I know them not; not therefore am I short Of knowing what I ought: he who receives neca de Clement. ii. 5. Cicero throughout this work thrown the Pro Murena, 35. Dunster. ornaments of poetry on the side

283. These rules will render thee of error, whether it was that he &c.] Ask what rules, and no an- thought great truths best exswer can be regularly given: pressed in a grave unaffected ask whose, and the answer is style, or intended to suggest this easy. There is no mention be- fine moral to the reader, that fore of rules; but of poets, ora- simple naked truth will always tors, philosophers, there is. We be an overmatch for falsehood should read therefore,

though recommended by the Their rules will render thee a king gayest rhetoric, and adorned with complete.

the most bewitching colours. Calton. Thyer.

288. -he who receives 283. - a king complete Within thyself,]

Light from above, from the

fountain of light, Alluding to what Jesus had said

No other doctrine needs, though before, b. ii. 446.

granted true ;] Yet he who reigns within himself, This passage, says Mr. Warton, and rules

seems to favour Mr. Peck's noPassions, desires, and fears, is more

tion, (grounded on Milton's aca king.

Dunster. quaintance with Ellwood and

Mrs. Thompson, to whom he 285. To whom our Saviour has inscribed a Sonnet,) that the sagely thus replied.] This an- poet was a Quaker. But it is swer of our Saviour is as much rather scriptural than sectical, to be admired for solid reasoning, being built on James i. 17. and the many sublime truths Every good gift and every perfect contained in it, as the preceding gift is from above, and cometh speech of Satan is for that down from the Father of lights ; fine vein of poetry which runs which refers to ver. 5. in the through it: and one may observe same chapter; If any of you lack in general, that Milton has quite wisdom, let him ask of God, that

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