Page images

But Satan smitten with amazement fell.
As when earth's son Antæus (to compare
Small things with greatest) in Irassa strove

down, and stood. His standing has imitated Virgil's “sic parvis
properly makes the discovery, componere magna solebam. Ecl.
and is the principal proof of his i. 24. See Par. Lost, ii. 921. x.
progeny that the Tempter re 306. Some such mode of qua-
quired: Now shew thy progeny. lifying common similies is neces-
His standing convinces Satan. sary to a poet writing on divine
His standing is considered as the subjects. Dunster.
display of his divinity, and the 564. — in Irassa sirove
immediate cause of Satan's fall; With Jove's Alcides,]
and the grand contrast is formed Irassa is a place in Libya, men-
between the standing of the one tioned by Herodotus, iv. 158.
and the fall of the other. εστι δε το χώρο τουτω ουνομα Ιρασα,
He said, and stood:

and from him by Stephanus By-
But Satan smitten with amazement zant, who says, 'Igara, Totos As-

βυης, εις ον μεσηγαγον Βαττον οι Λιβυες,
And afterwards, ver. 571.

as 'Hgodotos— where Berkelius

notes, Hujus urbis quoque me-

plicis (read duplici s) scribitur:
And ver. 576.

Ολοι Λιβυσσας αμ.
So struck with dread and anguish φι γυναικος εβαν
fell the Fiend.

Ιρασσαν προς πολιν Ανται-

ov, HETA raddirojos
And ver. 581.

Hraornges ayaxala rouges.
So Satan fello

Ad quem locum sic scribit Scho-
563. As when earth's son Ana liastes: 'Igaora ronds Aroun,
tæus] This simile in the person gormosy Arteios, ouxi' ó Tadaires
of the poet is amazingly fine. 'Hoexdeb, EXELVOS yap dan daroit Tous

Antæus was supposed to be darus nomen urbis genere fæm.
the son of Neptune and Tellus. protulit, quod Schol. alio loco
Thus Statius, Thebaid. vi. 893. numero multitudinis et genere

-Herculeis pressum sic fama lacertis neut. effert: E104 yae paru, OTI
Terrigenam sudasse Libyn-

και απο Ηρακλέους καταγονισθεις Αν-
And Silius Italicus, iii. 40.

ταιος, Ιρασσευς ην, απο Ιρασσων των

εν τη Τριτωνιδι λιμνη, ώς φησι Φερε-
Nec levior vinci Libycæ Telluris xvdns. From whence we may

Matre super,

observe, that in Herodotus and

Stephanus, Irąsa is the name of

a place, in Pindar and his Scho-
563. - (to compare liast, the name of a town: that

Small things with greatest)] the name is Irasa in Herodotus,
This is the third time Milton Hirasa in Stephanus, (though

[ocr errors]

With Jove's Alcides, and oft foil'd still rose,
Receiving from his mother earth new strength,
Fresh from his fall, and fiercer grapple join'd,
Throttled at length in th' air, expir'd and fell;
So after many a foil the Tempter proud,
Renewing fresh assaults, amidst his pride
Fell whence he stood to see his victor fall.

[ocr errors]

perhaps it should be Irasa, not lem colamus, scire sane velim ; 'Igaod, there,) Irassa in Pindar plures enim nobis tradunt ii, qui and his Scholiast: that the Scho interiores scrutantur et recondiliast says, Antæus dwelt at Irassa, tas literas; antiquissimum Jove not he who wrestled with Her natum. Varro says there were cules, but one later than him; forty-three Hercules. The son which, if true, makes against of Jupiter however by Alcmena Milton: that he afterwards adds, ought not to be called Alcides, that according to the opinion of the proper name of the son of some, the Anlæus whom Hercules Amphitryon, whose father was overcame was 'Igarreus, ato‘lgar. Alcæus. Yet Virgil also refers owy, which Berkelius takes to be to Alcides as the son of Jove, the genitive of ro'lgacoe, though Æn. vi. 123. and the name may it may be of ai 'lqarrat. Jortin. be derived from annen robur ; in

Antæus dwelt at the city Irassa, which sense it was also applied according to Pindar. But it was to Minerva, Liv. xlii. 51. oft not there that he wrestled with foiled, still rose. Thus in Tasso, Hercules, but at Lixos, according 1. xx. st. 100. to Pliny. Lixos vel fabulosis Poi che 'l Soldan, che spesso in lunga sime antiquis narrata. Ibi regia guerra, Antæi, certamenque cum Her Quasi novello Anteo, cadde e risorse cule. Nat. Hist. lib. v. cap. 1.

Piu fero ogn' hora, al fin calco la terra Meadowcourt.

Per giacer sempre

Now when the Soldan in these battles 564. — strove

past, With Jove's Alcides, &c.]

Who, Antheus like, oft fell, rose oft To strive is a frequent scriptural again term for any violent personal Ever more fierce, more fell, fell down

at last contest: see Gen. xxvi. 20. Exod.

To lie for ever. ii. 13. Acts vii. 26. With Jore's

Fairfar. Alcides--for there were so many Receiving from his mother earth Hercules in the Grecian Mython new strength. So Lucan, iv. 598. logy, that it was necessary to Hoc quoque tam vastas cumulavit specify when the principal Her

munere vircs cules, the son of Jove and Alc

Terra sui fætus, quod, cum tetigere

parentem, inena, was meant. Thus Cicero, Jam defuncta vigent renovato robore de Nat. Deor. iii. 16. Quan

membra. quam quem potissimum Hercu.


[ocr errors]

And as that Theban monster that propos'd
Her riddle', and him who solv'd it not, devour'd,
That once found out and solv’d, for grief and spite
Cast herself headlong from th' Ismenian steep;
So struck with dread and anguish fell the Fiend,
And to his crew, that sat consulting, brought
Joyless triumphals of his hop'd success,
Ruin, and desperation, and dismay,
Who durst so proudly tempt the Son of God.
So Satan fell; and straight a fiery globe

[ocr errors]

572. And as that Theban mon- Presumption is personified, and sler &c.] The Sphinx, whose represented, as in vain temptriddle being resolved by Edipus, ing our blessed Lord; (stanza she threw herself into the sea. xxxviii.) Statius, Theb. i. 66.

But, when she saw her speech preSi Sphingos iniquæ

vailed naught, Callidus ambages te præmonstrante Herself she tumbled headlong to the resolvi.


But him the angels on their feathers 572. Statius also refers to the

caught, falling of the Sphinx from the

And to an airy mountain nimbly bore. Ismenian steep, (Theb. xi. 490.)

Dunster. when her riddle had been solved.

581. -and straight a fiery globe -dum Cadmus arat? dum victa of angels &c.] cadit Sphynx ?

There is a peculiar softness and The Ismenian sleep may either delicacy in this description, and be the mountain Phicius, the neither circumstances nor words usual haunt of the Sphinx, at could be better selected to give no great distance from Thebes, the reader an idea of the easy or the Cadmea, i. e, the citadel and gentle descent of our Saof Thebes, according to Apollo- viour, and to take from the ima. dorus, so termed from the river gination that horror and uneasiIsmenus, which ran by Thebes. ness which it is naturally filled See Pausanias, ix. 26. and Apollo- with in contemplating the dandorus, l. iii. c. v. 8. whose ac- gerous and uneasy situation he count of the Sphinx indeed, from was left in. Thyer. the coincidence of expression in So Psyche was carried down the Mythologist and the poet, from the rock by zephyrs, and Milton seems here to have had laid lightly on agreen and flowery in his mind. Dunster.

bank, and there entertained with 581. So Satan fell; and straight invisible music. See Apuleius, &c.] Thus in G. Fletcher's lib. iv. Richardson. Christ's Triumph on Earth, where Psyche was also entertained

Of angels on full sail of wing flew nigh,
Who on their plumy vans receiv'd him soft
From his uneasy station, and upbore
As on a floating couch through the blithe air,
Then in a flow'ry valley set him down
On a green bank, and set before him spread
A table of celestial food, divine,
Ambrosial fruits, fetch'd from the tree of life,
And from the fount of life ambrosial drink,

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

with a banquet ministered by air, and the propriety of such a spirits. Psycham autem pa- metaphor wants no justification ventem ac trepidam, et in ipso or explanation. scopuli vertice deflentem, mitis 585. This description of the aura molliter spirantis zephyri, descent of our Lord on the anvibratis hinc inde laciniis et re- gels' plumy vans reminds me of flato sinu sensim levatam, suo an Assumption of the Virgin, tranquillo spiritu vehens paula- by Guido, in St. Ambrosio's tim per devexa rupis excelsæ, church at Genoa ; only the movallis subditæ florentis cespitis tion of the whole group there gremio leniter delapsam reclinat. is ascending. If it is not from And at the beginning of the fifth any famous painting, it is cer- book-Et illico vini nectarei tainly a subject for one. It is to eduliorumque variorum fercula be lamented that we find any copiosa, nullo serviente, sed tan- inaccuracy in a part of the poem tum spiritu quodam impulsa, so eminently beautiful: the word subministrantur. Nec quemquam him in v. 583, is evidently incorilla videre poterat, sed verba rect, but the intended reference tantum audiebat excidentia, et to our Saviour cannot be misunsolas voces famulas habebat. Post derstood. With the description opimas dapes quidam intro cessit, of the banquet, &c. v. 587–595. et cantavit invisus; et alius ci- compare G. Fletcher's Christ's tharam pulsavit, quæ non vide- Triumph upon earth, st. 61. batur, nec ipse. Tunc modulata multitudinis conferta vox aures

But to their Lord now musing in his

thought ejus affertur; ut quamvis homi

A heavenly volley of light angels flew, num nemo pareret, chorum ta

And from his father him a banquet men esse pateret. Dunster.

brought 585. As on a floating couch Through the fine element, for well through the blithe air,] Mr.

they knew

After his lenten fast he hungry grew; Sympson objects to the word

And, as he fed, the holy quires comblithe, but I conceive through the

bine blithe air to be much the same To sing a hymn of the celestial trine. as if he had said through the glad


That soon refresh'd him wearied, and repair'd
What hunger, if ought hunger had impair’d,
Or thirst; and as he fed, angelic quires
Sung heav'nly anthems of his victory
Over temptation, and the Tempter proud. .

True Image of the Father, whether thron'd

[ocr errors]

593. - angelic quires

596. True image of the Father Sung heav'nly anthems of his is from Heb. i. 8. Who being the victory]

brightness of his glory, and the As Milton in his Paradise Lost express image of his person, &c. had represented the angels sing- Thus also, Par. Lost, iii. 384. ing triumph upon the Messiah's Begotten Son! Divine similitude. victory over the rebel angels; throned in the bosom of bliss, is an so here again with the same pro

expression often found in the priety they are described cele

ele. Par. Lost, see iii. 238, 305. X. brating his success against tempt

225. -light of light conceiving, ation, and to be sure he could

is from the Nicene creed. -innot have possibly concluded his

shrined in fleshly tabernacle and work with greater dignity and

human form, so St. John, i. 14. solemnity, or more agreeably to

Και ο Λογος σαρξ εγενετο, και εσκηνωσει the rules of poetic decorum.

Sy spery, literally, the Word was Thyer.

made flesh, and tabernacled among 596. True Image of the Falher,

", us. St. Paul terms the body, &c.]

our earthly house of this taberCedite Romani scriptores, cedite

nacle, (2 Cor. v. 1.) Indeed onnues, Graii.

tabernacle, is frequently used by All the poems that ever were

profane writers also, to signify written, must yield, even Para

the mortal body. So Longinus, dise Lost must yield to Regained

sect. xxxii. has axlewTivov OXATOUS. in the grandeur of its close.

And Pláto,glor ornvOS: and again, Christ stands triumphant on the

as cited by Æschines the Socratic, pointed eminence. The Demon

Π το δε σκηνος τουτο προς κακα περίερfalls with amazement and terror,

MOOEY jj quois. See Parkhurst's on this full proof of his being

Lexicon in voc. CX950s, 6xzyos, that very Son of God, whose oxuyana. Thus also Milton in . thunder forced him out of heaven.

eaven. the Passion, The blessed angels receive new knowledge. They behold a sub

He sovran Priestlime truth established, which was

Poor fleshly tabernacle entered. a secret to them at the beginning

And in the poem, On the death of the temptation ; and the great Of Fellon Bp. of Ely, he speaks of discovery gives a proper opening

Animasque mole carnea reconditas. to their hymn on the victory of Seneca has the expression, Deum Christ, and the defeat of the in humano corpore hospitantem, Tempter. Calton.

epist. xxxi. But it is only a

« PreviousContinue »