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Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
The flocking shadows pale
Troop to th’infernal jail,

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave,
And the yellow-skirted Fayes

235 Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-lov'd maze.

XXVII.
But see the Virgin blest
Hath laid her Babe to rest,

Time is our tedious song should here have ending; Heav'n's youngest teemed star

240 Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending :

versation, with a slight flash of in his Progress of Puesy, st. ii. 1. lightning, our company hetes, as Dunster. soon as the cocks began to crow, 239. Pillows his chin upon an kat yace on xal adEXTRUOVES von wons orient wave] The words pillows NTTONTO. Philostr. Vit. Apollon. and chin throw an air of burlesque iv. 16.

and familiarity over a comparison The circumstance of ghosts most exquisitely conceived and disappearing at day-break is re- adapted. With the next three ferred to by several of the Latin lines, The flocking shadows pale, poets. Thus Claudian,

&c. Mr. Bowle compares the Dixit, et afflatus vicino sole refugit. passage, above mentioned, in the And in Propertius, l. iv. el. 7. Mids. Night's Dream. the ghosts say of themselves,

And yonder shines Aurora's har. Nocte vagæ ferimur; nox clausas

binger; liberat umbras,

At whose approach ghosts, wandering Errat et abjecta Cerberus ipse fera. bere and there, Luce jubent leges Lethæa ad stagna Troop home to church-yards; damned reverti, &c.

spirits all Shakespeare has very poetically That in cross-ways and floods have described this supposed effect of

burial, day-break, Mids. Night's Dream,

Already to their wormy beds are gone. a. iii. sc. the last. See also Cow- Fly after the night-steeds, &c. ley's Hymn to Light, st. 10. and a very poetical mode of express17. But perhaps no poet has ing the departure of the fairies more happily availed himself of at the approach of morning. this old superstition than Gray, T. Warton.

And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable,

IV.
The Passion*.

1.

EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring,
And joyous news of heav'nly Infant's birth,
My muse with angels did divide to sing ;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing,

244. Bright-harness'd] Dressed, they can often attain sublimity, armed, accoutred. Arnese in which is even a characteristic of Italian is a general name for all that species of poetry. We have kinds of habits and ornaments, the proof before us. He adds, Richardson.

“ Milton never learned the art of Harness is used for armour in “ doing little things with grace.” our translation of the Bible. If little things mean short poems, 1 Kings xx. 11. Let not him that Milton had the art of giving girdeth on his harness, boast him- them another sort of excellence, self, as he that putteth it off. T. Warton. Exod. xiii. 18. The children of * It appears from the begin. Israel went up harnessed out of ning of this poem, that it was the land of Egypt.

composed after, and probably 244. Paradise Regained was soon after, the ode on the Natranslated into French, and tivity. printed at Paris in 1730. To * It was perhaps a College which the translator added Ly- exercise at Easter, as the last at cidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Christmas. T. Warton. and this Ode on the Nativity. But 4. My muse with angels did the French have no conception divide to sing.) See Spenser, of the nature and complexion of F. Q. iii. i. 40. Milton's imagery.

And all the while sweet music did A great critic, in speaking of divide Milton's smaller poems, passes Her looser notes with Lydian har. over this Ode in silence, and ob

mony. serves, “ all that short composi- As Horace, Ode i. xv. 15. “tions can commonly attain is neatness and elegance.” But

Imbelli cithara carmina divides. Odes are short compositions, and which Vossius, with his usual

In wint’ry solstice like the shorten'd light Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living night.

II. For now to sorrow must I tune my song, And set my harp to notes of saddest woe, Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long, 10 Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so, Which he for us did freely undergo:

Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

III.
He sovereign Priest stooping his regal head,
That dropp'd with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-roofd beneath the skies;
O what a mask was there, what a disguise!

Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side.

IV. These latest scenes confine my roving verse, To this horizon is my Phæbus bound; His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings other where are found; 25 Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound;

15

refinement, explains by alternate The next line, headlong joy is singing. In Catull. p. 239. ed. ever on the wing, is elegant and 1684. Compare Seneca, Hercules, expressive. But Drayton more @t. 1080. and Spenser, F. Q. i. poetically calls joy, v. 17. Perhaps he says that, in the swallow-winged joy. " the preceding ode, “his muse

T. Warton. “ with angels did divide to sing," 22. These latest scenes] So it is because she then “joined her in the second edition of 1673; “ voice to the angel quire," as at in the former of 1645 it is These v. 27.

latter scenes,

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.

V.
Befriend me Night, best patroness of grief,
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,

30
And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,
That heav'n and earth are colourd with my woe;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:

The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters where my tears have wash'd a wapnish white.

VI. See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels, 36 That whirld the Prophet up at Chebar flood,

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26. Loud o'er the rest Cremona's 28. still] That is, gentle, trump doth sound ;] He means not loud, not noisy, as is the Marcus Hieronymus Vida, who trumpet. So i Kings xix. 12. was a native of Cremona, and "A still small voice." And in alludes particularly to his poem, First Part Henry V. a. iv. s. 1. Christiados Libri sex. And Man- The hum of either army stilly sounds, tua the birth-place of Virgil

See also Il Pens. 127. Still is being near to Cremona, Virg.

not often applied Ecl. ix. 28.

to sound.

Hence still-born of a child born Mantua væ, miseræ nimium vicina dead. T. Warton. Cremona,

30. See Par. Lost, iv. 609. Mr. Pope takes occasion from And o'cr lhe dark her silver mantle thence to pay a handsome compliment to Vida in his Essay on Where see the note. T. Warion. Criticism;

34. Conceits were now conCremona now shall ever boast thy fined not to words only. Mr. .name,

Steevens has a volume of Elegies, As next in place to Mantua, next in in all the title-pages of which fame.

the paper is black, and the letters 26. Milton seems to think that white. Every intermediate leaf Vida's Christiad was the finest is also black. What a sudden Latin poem on a religious sub- change from this childish idea to ject; but perhaps it is excelled the noble apostrophe, the sublime by Saunazarius De partu Vir- rapture and imagination of the ginis, a poem of more vigour and next stanza. T. Warton. fire than this work of Vida. 37. That whirld the prophet up J. Warlun.

at Chebar flood,] As the prophet

My spirit some transporting Cherub feels,
To bear me where the tow'rs of Salem stood,
Once glorious tow'rs, now sunk in guiltless blood; 40

There doth my soul in holy vision sit
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.

VII.
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of heav'n's richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, 45
Yet on the soften’d quarry would I score
My plaining verse as lively as before;

For sure so well instructed are my tears, That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

VIII. Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing, 50 Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring

Ezekiel saw the vision of the “ an unfainting perseverance ! four wheels and of the glory of “who then did dictate this God at the river Chebar, and was “hymne to my Redeemer, &c.” carried in the spirit to Jerusalem; Travels, p. 167. ed. 1627. The so the poet fancies himself trans- first is 1615. T. Warton. ported to the same place.

50. -hurried on viewless wing, 42. This is to be held in holy Viewless ; see Par. Lost, iii. 518. passion, as in Il Pens. 41. —mine Hurried is used here in an accepteye hath found that sad sepulchral ation less familiar than at prerock, &c. He seems here to sent. And so in other places, as have been struck with reading Par. Lost, ii. 603, 937. v. 778. Sandys's description of the Holy In all these passages it is applied Sepulchre at Jerusalem; and to preternatural motion, the to have catched sympathetically movements of imaginary beings. Sandys's sudden impulse to break T. Warton. forth into a devout song at the • 51. Take up a weeping on the awful and inspiring spectacle. mountains wild.] This expres“ It is a frozen zeal that will not sion is from Jeremiah ix. 10. “ be warmed at the sight thereof. For the mountains will I take up “ And oh, that I could retaine a weeping and wailing, &c. T. “ the effects that it wrought with Warion.

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