« PreviousContinue »
THE Disciples of Jesus, uneasy at his long absence, reason amongst themselves concerning it. Mary also gives vent to her maternal anxiety: in the expression of which she recapitulates many circumstances respecting the birth and early life of her Son. Satan again meets his Infernal Council, reports the bad success of his first temptation of our blessed Lord, and calls upon them for counsel and assistance. Belial proposes one mode of tempting Jesus. Satan rebukes Belial for his dissoluteness, charging on him all the profligacy of that ķiņd ascribed by the poets to the heathen gods, and rejects his proposal as in no respect likely to succeed. Satan then suggests other modes of temptation, particularly proposing to avail himself of the circumstance of our Lord's hungering; and, taking a band of chosen spirits with him, returns to resume his enterprise. Jesus hungers in the desert. Night comes on; the manner in which our Saviour passes the night is described. Morning advances. Satan again appears to Jesus, and, after expressing wonder that he should be so entirely neglected in the wilderness, where others had been miraculously fed, tempts him with a sumptuous banquet of the most luxurious kind. This he rejects, and the banquet vanishes. Satan, finding our Lord not to be assailed on the ground of appetite, tempts him again by offering him riches, as the means of acquiring power: this Jesus also rejects, producing many instances of great actions performed by persons under virtuous poverty, and specifying the danger of riches, and the cares and pains inseparable from power and greatness. Dunster.
MEAN while the new-baptiz'd, who yet remain'd
1. Mean while the new-baptiz’d, with the Virgin's reflections on &c.] The greatest and indeed the same occasion, and the counjustest objection to this poem is cil of the Devils how best to atthe narrowness of its plan, which tack their enemy, are instances being confined to that single of this sort, and both very hapscene of our Saviour's life on pily executed in their respective earth, his temptation in the de. ways. The language of the sert, has too much sameness in former is not glaring and imit, too much of the reasoning, passioned, but cool and unafand too little of the descriptive fected, corresponding most ex. part, a defect most certainly in actly to the humble pious chaan epic poem, which ought to racter of the speakers. That of consist of a proper and happy the latter is full of energy and mixture of the instructive and majesty, and not a whit inferior the delightful. Milton was him to their most spirited speeches in self, no doubt, sensible of this the Paradise Lost. This may be imperfection, and has therefore given as one proof out of many very judiciously contrived and others, that, if the Paradise Re. introduced all the little digres- gained is inferior, as indeed i sions that could with any sort of think it must be allowed to be, propriety connect with his sub- to the Paradise Lost, it cannot ject, in order to relieve and re- justly be imputed, as some would fresh the reader's attention. The have it, to any decay of Milton's following conversation betwixt genius, but to his being cramped Andrew and Simon upon the down by a more barren and conmissing our Saviour so long, tracted subject. Thyer.
Jesus Messiah Son of God declar'd,
4. Jesus Messiah Son of God find 'a like instance or two in declar'd,] This is a great mis- Harrington's translation of the take in the poet. All that the Orlando Furioso, cant. xxxi. st. people could collect from the de- 46. clarations of John the Baptist and the voice from heaven was,
And calling still upon that noble
name, that he was a great Prophet; That often had the Pagans overcome, and this was all they did in fact (I mean Renaldo's house of Montalcollect; they were uncertain whe
bane.) ther he was their promised Mes. And again, st. 55. siah. Warburton. John the Baptist had however Further she did to Brandimart re
count, expressly called him the Lamb of
How she had seen the bridge the God which taketh away the sin of
Pagan made, the world, referring, probably, to (I mean the cruel Pagan Rodoinount.) Isaiah liji. 7. And, the day fol.
13. Sometimes they thought he lowing, John's giving him the same title is the ground of An
might be only shown,] Virg. Æn.
vi. 870. drew's conversion, who thereupon followed Jesus, and having Ostendent terris hunc tantum fata passed some time with him, de
Esse sinent. clared to his brother Simon, We have found the Messias. See John 14,
as once i. 1942. on which chapter the Moses was in the mount, and particulars here related are missing long ;] founded. Dunster.
Exod. xxxii. I. And when the peo6. I mean
ple saw that Moses delayed to Andrew and Simon.]
come down out of the mount, fc. This sounds very prosaic; but I Dunster.
And the great Thisbite, who on fiery wheels
16. And the great Thisbite.] Pearce and Beza interpret our Or Tishbite, as he is called in Saviour's words, (Matt. xvii. 11.) Scripture, 1 Kings xvii. 1. Elijah, with reference to the prophecy a native of Thisbe or Tishbe, a already fulfilled when our Sacity of the country of Gilead be. viour uttered them. Mr. Warton yond Jordan. Yet once again to and Mr. Dunster notice Milton's come. For it hath been the frequent allusions to Elijah and opinion of the Church, that there his ascension, El. iv. 97. In obitum. would be an Elias before Christ's Præs. Eliensis, 49. Epigr. i. 5. and second coming as well as before in the Passion, st. vi. and Mr. his first: and this opinion the Dunster even imagines that the learned Mr. Mede supports from undaunted spirit of this eminent the prophecy of Malachi, iv. 5. propbet, and the part assigned Behold I will send you Elijah the him of resisting the tyranny of prophet, before the coming of the wicked kings, and denouncing great and dreadful day of the God's judgments against them, Lord, &c.: and from what our might contribute to make him a Saviour says, Matt. xvii. 11. Elias favourite with our author. E. truly shall first come, and restore 18. Therefore as those young all things. These words our Sa
prophets then with care viour spake when John Baptist Sought lost Elijah, &c.] was beheaded, and yet speaks as 2 Kings ii. 17. They sent fifty men, of a thing future, aromaTATION and they sought three days, but TAYTU, and shall restore all things. found him not. So in each place But as it was not Elias in person, these nigh to Bethabara: such el. but only in spirit, who appeared lipses, as Mr. Sympson observes, before our Saviour's first coming, are frequent, and especially in so will it also be before his se- our author. In Jericho the city cond. The reader may see the of pulms, so it is called, Deut. arguments at large in Mr. Mede's xxxiv. 3. and Josephus, Strabo, Discourse xxv. which no doubt Pliny, and all writers, describe it Milton had read, not only on ac- as abounding with those trees, count of the fame and excellence Ænon, mentioned John iii. 23. of the writer, but as he was also as is likewise Salim or Salem. his fellow-collegian.
And John also was baptizing in 17. —yet once again to come.] Enon near to Salim. But there Milton's words however may re- appears to be no particular reafer to the coming of Elijah in son for our author's calling it
may with equal propriety under- be the same with the Shalem stand, who was, or, who is, yet mentioned Gen. xxxiji. 18. or once again to come. So likewise confounds it with the Salem (as Mr. Dunster observes) Bp. where Melchizedeck was king.
Sought lost Elijah, so in each place these
Machærus, a castle in the moun- 26. Where winds with reeds and tainous part of Peræa or the osiers whisp'ring play,] Reland in country beyond Jordan, which his Palæstina, speaking of the river is well known to run river Jordan, says, Salices, tathrough the lake of Genezareth, marisci, agnus castus, et cannæ or the sea of Tiberias, or the ingentes, quæ usum hastarum sea of Galilee, as it is otherwise præbent, crescunt ad ripam ejus, called. So that they searched uti referunt AUTOTTA.. Illa arunin each place on this side Jordan, dineta ripam Jordanis ita obor in Peræa, Tigay logdavov, be- sident, ut per ea aqua fluminis yond it.
vix conspici possit. To this pur21. --Salem old,) Milton had pose he cites Joannes Phocas, good authority for terming Sa- and De la Valle. And the delem, Salem old. Adrichomius, scriptions of Adrichomius and speaking of Salem or Salim, Dr. Maundrell agree with theirs. says, Ex veteribus Hebræorum -whispering play. Milton is par. Rabbinis docet Hieronymus, non ticularly fond of this image, and videri hanc esse Hierusalem, has introduced it in many beauquod nomen ipsum demonstrat tiful passages of the Par. Lost. ex Græco Hebraicoque com- He also applies whispering to positum, sed oppidum juxta the flowing of a stream; to the Scythopolim, quod usque hodie air that plays upon the water, or appellatur Salem; ubi osten- by the side of it; and to the ditur palatium Melchizedec, ex combined sounds of the breeze magnitudine ruinarum veteris and the current: as in the Latin operis ostendens magnificentiam poem in adventum Veris, 89. and de quo in posteriore parte Ge- in Lycidas, 136. Dunster. neseos scriptum est: Venit Jacob 2 7. Plain fishermen, no greater in Soccoth, et transivit in Salem men them call,] Imitated from civitatem regionis Sichem. See the beginning of Spenser's ShepHieronym. Epist. ad Evag. The herd's Calendar. Septuagint, Gen. xxxiii. 18, A shepherd's boy, no better do him writes it ss Exampe. Dunster.