« PreviousContinue »
Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed out-stretch'd,
Among Archbishop San. Coll
. MSS. Tann. 465. see pp. croft's transcripts of poetry made 235, 237. T. Warton. by him at Cambridge, now in I wonder Milton should suffer the Bodleian Library, is an these two things on Hobson to anonymous poem on the death appear in his edition of 1645. of Hobson. " It was perhaps a He, who at the age of nineteen common subject for the wits of had so just a contempt for Cambridge. I take this opportu
Those new-fangled toys, and trimnity of observing, that in the
ming slight, same bundle is a poem on Mil- Which take our new fantastics with ton's friend Lycidas, Mr. King, delight. by Mr. Booth, of Corpus Christi,
Hurd. not in the published Collection.
L'Allegro. HENCE loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born, In Stygian cave forlorn
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy,
* This and the following poem is somewhat like the beginning are exquisitely beautiful in them- of Kal. Décembres Saturnales of selves, but appear much more Statius, Sylvarum, lib. i. beautiful, when they are con- Et Phæbus pater, et severa Pallas, sidered, as they were written, in Et Musæ procul ite feriata: contrast to each other. There is Jani vos revocabimus Kalendis,
Saturnus mihi compede exoluta, a great variety of pleasing images
Et multo gravidus mero December, in each of them; and it is re
Et ridens jocus, et sales protervi markable, that the poet repre- Adsint, dum refero diem beatam sents several of the same objects Læti Cæsaris, ebriamqae partem as exciting both mirth and me- 1. Milton was too universal a lancholy, and affecting us differ- scholar to be unacquainted with ently according to the different this mythology. In his Prodispositions and affections of the lusions, or declamatory preamsoul. This is nature and expe- bles to philosophical questions rience. He derives the title of discussed in the schools at Cam. both poems from the Italian, bridge, he says, Cæterum nec which language was then princi- desunt qui Æthera et Diem iti. pally in vogue. L'Allegro is the dem Erebo noctem peperisse tracheerful merry man; and in this dunt. Prose Works, vol. ii. 585. poem he describes the course of See also his Latin ode on the inirth in the country and in the death of Felton, Bp. of Ely, v. city from morning till noon, and 31. and In quintum Novembris, from noon till night; and possi- v. 69. But as Melancholy is here bly he might have this in his the creature of Milton's imaginthoughts, when he said after- ation, he had a right to give her wards in his Areopagitica— what parentage he pleased. See “ there be delights, there be re- Observations on Spenser's F. Q. “ creations and jolly pastimes i. 73. “ that will fetch the day about Milton in this exordium had “ from sun to sun, and rock the
an eye on some elegant lines of “ tedious year as in a delightful Marston, Scourge of Villanie, b. “ dream." Vol. i. p. 154, 155. ïïis. 10. ed. 1598. edit. 1738.
Sleepe, grim Reproof! My jocund 1. Hence loathed Melancholy, muse doth sing &c.] The beginning of this poem In other keyes to nimble fingering;
Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night-raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
Dull-sprighted Melancholie, leave my Deor. iii. 17.--eorumque fratres braine,
et sorores, qui a genealogis antiTo hell, Cimmerian Night. In lively vaine
quis sic nominantur, I strive to paint: then hence all darke Labor, Invidentia, Tenebræ, intent,
Miseria, Querela, &c. quos omnes And sullen frownes. Come sporting Erebo et Nocte natos ferunt. I Merriment,
find Mr. Upton in his letter to Cheeke-dimpling Laughter, crowne
Mr. West on Spenser's Faery my verie soule With jouisance.
Queen has proposed the same See Observat. on Spenser's F. Q. conjecture. i. 60. T. Warlon.
4. 'Mongst horrid shapes, &c.] 2. Of Cerberus and blackest He has this passage of Virgil in
his Midnight born,] The poet in
eye, Æn. vi. 285–289. making Melancholy the daughter
Multaque præterea variarum mon. of Cerberus might perhaps intend stra ferarum, &c. to insinuate, that she has some
Warburton. thing of the cynic, as well as some
6. Where brooding darkness) thing monstrous and unnatural,
in Called so because darkness sets her composition : but if this the imagination on work, to poem had not undergone two
create ideal forms and beings. impressions in Milton's life-time, and one of them before he lost watch which fowl keep when
-jealous) Alluding to the his sight, I should have imagined they are sitting. Warburton, that he had wrote Erebus, instead
9. As ragged] In Titus Andron. of Cerberus, as being more agreeable to heathen mythology; of this pit." Ragged is not un
a. ii. s. 4. “The ragged entrails Érebus and Night
are often joined common in old writers, applied together, as in Hesiod, Theog. to rock. T. Warton. ver, 123.
10. In dark Cimmerian desert] Εν Χαεος δ' Ερεβος το μέλαινα σε Νυξ The Cimmerians were a people Nuxros o aut' Audne ei sai 'Huesen eśc and never saw the light of the
who lived in caves under ground, Oυς τεκε, κυσσαμενη Ερεβει φιλοτησι sun. See Homer, Odyss. xi. 14. ferry tru.
and Tibullus iv. i. 65. And several of their children, 10. Cimmerice tenebræ were anenumerated by Cicero, are much ciently proverbial. But Cimmeof the same nature and com- rian darkness and desolation were plexion as Melancholy. De Nat. a common allusion in the poetry
But come thou Goddess fair and free,
that was now written and studied. As in Syr Eglamour. We have See Fletcher's False One, act v. also free alone, ibid. See also S. 4. Titus Andronicus, act ii. s. 3. Chaucer, March. t. v. 1655. Urr. Spenser's Teares of the Muses, And Jonson, Epigram. lxxvi. and his Virgil's Gnat. But our T. Warlon. Author might have had perhaps 12. In heav'n ycleap'd Euphroan immediate allusion to the cave syne,] Cleaped is called, named; of sleep in Ovid, Met. xi. 592. or Spenser, Faery Queen, b. iii. to Homer, whom Ovid copies, cant. xii. st. 19. Odyss. xi. 14. See also Statius,
The other cleaped Cruelty by name. Theb. x. 84. And Chaucer, H.
The letter y is sometimes preFame, v. 70. p. 458. Urr. And to all or most of these authors fixed to lengthen it a syllable. Sylvester has been indebted in B. iii. cant. v. st. 8. his prolix description of the cave
And is ycleaped Florimel the fair. of sleep. Du Bart. p. 316. ed. Euphrosyne is the name of one of fol. 1621. And in that descrip- the three Graces mentioned by tion we trace Milton, both here Hesiod, Theog. 909. and in the opening of Il Pens. Mr. Bowle compares this line
Αγλαϊαν, και Ευφροσύνην, Θαλιηντ' ερα. of the text with a passage in Sydney's Arcadia, b. iii. * Let and by Spenser, Faery Queen, « Cimmerian darkness be my
b. vi. cant. x. st. 22. “ only habitation.". The execra- The first of them hight mild Euphrotion in the text is indeed a trans.
syne, lation of a passage in one of his
Next fair Aglaia, last Thalia merry. own Academic Prolusions, Dig- The poet, in saying that she was nus qui Cimmeriis occlusus tene- called Euphrosyne in heaven, and bris longam et perosam vitam Mirth by men, imitates Homer's transigat. Pr. W. vol. ii. 587. manner of speaking, where the T. Warton.
names in use among the learned 11. But come thou goddess fair are ascribed to the gods, and and free.] Compare Drayton, Ecl. those in vulgar use are attributed iv. vol. 4. p. 1401.
to men. See Paradise Lost, v. A daughter cleped Dowsabell, 761. and the note there. A maiden fair and free.
14. Whom lovely Venus at a In the metrical romances these birth &c.] The more ancient two words thus paired together opinion, as we find it in Hesiod's are a common epithet for a lady. Theogony, was that the Graces
Or whether (as some sager sing)
were the daughters of Jupiter His pretence of authority in the and Eurynome, and this Spenser parenthesis (as some suger sing) adopts in his Faery Queen, b. vi. is introduced, in my opinion, , cant, X. st. 22.
only to give a more venerable They are the daughters of sky-ruling authoritative air to his poem : Jove,
and I have often suspected, that By him begot of fair Eurynome. that
in the tenth book But Milton with great judgment of Paradise Lost, where the evil and a very allowable liberty fol. angels are described turned into lows the account of their being serpents, and as the poet adds, sprung from Bacchus and Venus,
ver. 575. because the mythology of it suited
Yearly injoin'd, some say, to undergo the nature of his subject better.
This annual humbling certain numThyer.
ber'd days, 17. Or whether, &c.] Compare is an instance of the same sort. Sophocles, ad. Tyr. 1098.
As some sager sing. It is
sages Πανος ορεσσιβασα σου
in Mr. Fenton's edition, but the προσπελασθεισ', η σε γε
old editions have sager. Both τις θυγατης, Λοξιου; κ. τ. λ. these genealogies were probably and not. ibid. Schaeferi de Eurip. of the poet's own invention, but E.
he rather favours the latter. 17. Or whether (as some sager 19. Zephyr with Aurora playsing) &c.] No mythologist either ing, ancient or modern that I can As he met her once a Maying.] meet with gives this account of The rhymes and imagery are the birth of Euphrosyne ; never- from Jonson, in the Maske at theless we must do Milton the Sir William Cornwalleis's house justice to own, that he could not at Highgate, 1604. Works, ed. possibly have invented better ala fol. 1616.
881. legorical parents for her than
See who here is come a Maying ? Zephyrus and Aurora, or the
Why left we off our playing. gentle western gales of a fine morning in the spring, which, This song is sung by Zephyrus, to use his own words in his Pa and Aurora, and Flora. T. Wara radise Lost, iv. 154.
ton, to the heart inspire
fresh-blown roses wash'd Vernal delight and joy, able to drive
with dew.) So Shakespeare, Tam, All sadness but despair.
Shr, act ii, s. 1.