« PreviousContinue »
Mark what radiant state she spreads,
Sitting like a Goddess bright,
In the centre of her light. Might she the wise Latona be, Or the tow'red Cybele, Mother of a hundred Gods; Juno dares not give her odds ;
Who had thought this clime had held A deity so unparalleld?
[As they come forward, the Genius of the wood appears, and
turning toward them, speaks. ]
18. Sitting like &c.] It was through your eyes ;] Dr. Symat first,
mons, Life of Milton, p. 98. refers Seated like a goddess bright, &c. to Shakespeare, All's well that
23. Juno dares not &c.] The ends well, Manuscript had at first,
The honour, Sir, which flames in Ceres dares not give her odds;
your fair eyes.
30. Divine Alpheus, &c.] A 23. -give her odds;] Too famous river of Arcadia, that lightly expressed for the occasion. sinking under ground passeth
through the sea without mixing 27. I see bright honour sparkle his stream with the salt waters,
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;
and riseth at last with the foun- 44. -I am the Power] It was tain Arethuse near Syracuse in at first, Sicily. Virg. Æn. iii. 694.
-I have the power. -Alpheum fama est huc Elidis am- 46. -and curl the grore] So
nem, Occultas egisse vias subter mare, qui Drayton, Polyolb. s. vi. vol. ii. nunc
p. 789. “ Banks crown'd with Ore, Arethusa, tuo Siculis confunditur ir curled groves." And so in undis.
several other places; and in a 34. --this quest] Inquiry, line which Jonson perbaps research. P. L. ii. 830.“ To search membered, ibid. s. xxxiii. vol. iii. with wandering quest.” And so p. 1111. also P. L. ix. 414. Ode F. Inf. Where Sherwood her curl'd front into 18. Comus, 321. T. Warton.
the cold doth shove. 41. What shallow-searching Jonson also and Browne apply Fame &c.] At first the verse run the same epithet frequently to thus,
the woods or the tops of trees. Those virtues which dell Fame hath Compare note on P. R. ii. 289. left untold.
T. Warton. 144. -by lot) Allotment, Com. 47. With ringlets quaint,] It 20. Took in by lot. T. Warton. was at first, In ringlets quaint.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
47, Quaint is here in the sense And from the leaves brush off &c. of Shakespeare, Mids. N. Dr. a.
54. I fetch my round,] So in ii. s. 1.
Cymbeline, a. i. s. 2. “ I'll fetch And the quaint mazes in the wanton
“ a turn, &c." And in the Acts green, For lack of tread are undistinguish. Apost. xxviii, 13. “We fet a able.
« compass." But the phrase is
T. Warton. still in use. T. Warton. 48. And all my plants I save 57. -tasselld horn) Spenser, from nightly ill
Faery Queen, b. i. cant. viii. st. 3. Of noisome winds, and blasting
an horn of bugle small, vapours chill.]
Which hung adown his side in twisted This is the office of a kindred spirit in Comus, supposed to And tassels gay. dwell in rural shrine, as the Ge- 58. See L'Allegro, 56.“Through nius at Harefield in oaken bower. " the high wood echoing shrill.'' Com. 269.
T. Warton. Forbidding every bleak untimely fog 59. Number my ranks, and visit To touch the prosperous growih of
every sprout.] Tasso, Gier. Lib. this tall wood T. Warton c. xiii. 8. But there the inchanted
forest is consigned to bad demons, 49. -and blasting vapours chill:] In the Manuscript it is Prendete in guardia questa silva, e -or blasting vapours chill.
Piante, che numerate a voi conseg, 50. And from the boughs &c.] no. It was at first,
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
62. Hath lock'd up mortal sense,] mony, the three daughters of He had written at first Hath Necessity perpetually sing in chain'd mortality.
correspondent tones. In the 64. —the nine infolded spheres,] mean time, the adamantine spinAccording to the doctrine of the dle, which is placed in the lap ancients, as it is explained by or on the knees of Necessity, Cicero. Somnium Scipionis 4. and on which the fate of men Novem tibi orbibus, vel potius and gods is wound, is also reglobis, connexa sunt omnia: and volved. This music of the then he enumerates them in this spheres, proceeding from the order, heaven or the sphere of rapid motion of the heavens, is the stars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, so loud, various, and sweet, as the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the to exceed all aptitude or proporMoon, and the Earth. And in tion of the human ear, and therethe next chapter he speaks of fore is not heard by men. Morethe music of the spheres. Quid ? over, this spherical music consists hic, inquam, quis est, qui com- of eight unisonous melodies: the plet aures meas tantus et tam ninth is a concentration of all the dulcis sonus? and describes it, rest, or a diapason of all those and accounts for mankind's not eight melodies; which diapason, hearing it. Hic vero tantus est or concentus, the nine Sirens sing totius mundi incitatissima con- or address to the supreme Being. versione sonitus, ut eum aures This last circumstance, while it hominum capere non possint: justifies a doubtful reading, illussicut intueri solem adversum ne- trates or rather explains a pasquitis, ejusque radiis acies vestra sage in these lines, At a soleras sensusque vincitur. See also Ma- Music, v. 6. crobius In Somn. Scip. lib. ii.
That undisturbed song of pare corcap. 4. Ergo universi mundani corporis sphæræ novem sunt, &c. Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd
64. This is Plato's system. - throne, Fate, or Necessity, holds a spindle of adamant: and, with her three Milton, full of these Platonic daughters, Lachesis, Clotho, and ideas, has here a reference to Atropos, who handle the vital this consummate or concentual web wound about the spindle, Song of the ninth sphere, which she conducts or turns the hea. is undisturbed and pure, that is, venly bodies. Nine Muses, or unallayed and perfect. The PlaSyrens, sit on the summit of the tonism is here, however, in some spheres; which, in their revolu- degree christianized. tions produce the most ravishing These notions are to be found musical harmony. To this har- in the tenth book of Plato's Re
o Him that sits thereon.
And sing to those that hold the vital sheers, 65
70 And the low world in measur'd motion draw After the heav'nly tune, which none can hear
public, in his Timæus, and other Music of the Spheres, having exparts of his works; but they plained Plato's theory, assigns a cannot be well understood or similar reason. “ Quod autem digested without the assistance “ nos hanc minime audiamus harof Proclus, who yet has partly “ moniam, sane in causa videtur clouded the system with new “esse, furacis Promethei audarefinements. Hence we are to “ cia, quæ tot mala hominibus interpret Spenser in the Platonic “ invexit, et simul hanc felicitaHymne in Honour of Beautie. “ tem nobis abstulit, qua nec
For Love is a celestiall harmonie “ unquam frui licebit, dum sceOf likewise hearts, composed of starres “ leribus cooperti belluinis, cuconcent.
“ piditatibus obrutescimus. At
T. Warlon. “ si pura, si nivea gestaremus 72. After the heav'nly tune, “ pectora— tum quidem suaviswhich none can hear &c.) To the “ sima illa stellarum circumsame purpose Shakespeare speak. « euntium musica personarent ing likewise of the music of the “ aures nostræ et opplerentur." spheres. Merchant of Venice, Prose Works, vol. ii. 588. See act v. sc. 1.
Observat. on Spenser's F. Q. ii. There's not the smallest orb, which 32. On the same principle, the thou behold'st,
airy music which the waking But in his motion like an angel sings, poet hears in Il Penseroso, was Still quiring to the young-ey'd che
sent only “ by some spirit to rubims; Such harmony is in immortal sounds! “mortals good." v. 153. And in But whilst this muddy vesture of
his Prose Works, he mentions decay
those “ celestial songs to others Doth grossly close us in, we cannot « inapprehensible, but not to those hear it.
“ who were not defiled with 72. After the heav'nly tune, « women, &c.” Apol. Smeclumn. which none can hear
p. 178. edit. Tol. It is the same Of human mould, with gross un
philosophy in Comus, v. 457. purged ear.] I do not recollect this reason in
And in clear thought, and solemn
vision, Plato, the Somnium Scipionis, or
Tell her of things which no gross car Macrobius. But our author, in
can hear, an academic Prolusion on the