« AnteriorContinuar »
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. 175
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. No nightly trance, or breathed spelt Inspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic cell. 180
XX. The lonely mountains o'er And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard and loud lament; was still pleased with it when he had commanded her to leave was older, and had his eye upon that temple and return to hell. it several times in the Paradise See Suidas in Augustus Cæsar. Lost.
180. Inspires the pale-ey'd 172. This image is copied, priest.] Milton was impressed says Dr. J. Warton, from the with reading Euripides's Tragedy descriptions of serpents and draof Ion, which suggested these gons in the old Romances and ideas. T. Warton. Ariosto. Compare Sylvester's Du 183. A voice of weeping heard Bartas (p. 205. 4to) w. i. D. 6. and loud lament;] Alluding to of a lion
the story of a voice proclaiming -swindging with his sinewie traine, and immediately was heard a
that the great Pan was dead, T. Warton. great groaning and lamentation.
See more to this purpose in Plu176. Apollo from his shrine tarch's treatise De oraculorum
Can no more divine, &c.] defectu. Our author builds here upon the 183. Although Milton was well common hypothesis of the oracles acquainted with all the Greek being struck dumb at the coming writers in their original lanof Christ, which is allowable guages, and might have seen the enough in a young poet: and in ground-work of this tradition of this passage he alludes particue a voice proclaiming the death of larly to the famous story of Au- the great Pan, and cessation of gustus Cæsar's consulting the oracles, in Plutarch on the DePythia or priestess of Apollo who fect of Oracles, and the fifth should reign after him, and her book of Eusebius's Præparat. answering that an Hebrew boy Evangel. yet it is most probable,
From haunted spring, and dale
The parting Genius is with sighing sent;
that the whole allusion was sug. ed. 1630. But this is a second gested to his imagination by a edition. And Sandys has much note of the old commentator on the same story. Truvels, p. 11. Spenser's Pastorals in May, who ed. 1627. Compare Par. Reg. copied Lavaterus's treatise de i. 456. If we connect the three Lemuribus, newly translated into lines (181-183.) with the geneEnglish. “ About the time that ral subject of the last stanza, « our Lord suffered his most undoubtedly Milton, in the voice « bitter passion, certaine persons of weeping and loud lament, re" sayling from Italie to Cyprus, ferred to this story, from what« and passing by certaine iles soever source it was drawn. But “ called Paxa, heard a voyce if, without such a retrospect,
calling Thamus, Thamus, the they belong only to the context “ pylot of the ship; who, giving and purport of their own stanza, “ eare to the cry, was bidden he implies the lamentations of " when he came to Palodas to the nymphs and wood.gods at
tell, that the great god Pan their leaving their haunts. “ was dead: which he doubting And surely nothing could be " to doe, yet for that when he more allowable, not only in a
to Palodas there was young poet, but in a poet of any “ such a calme of wind, that the age, than this allusion to the
ship stood still in the sea un- notion of the cessation of oracles “ moored, he was forced to cry at the coming of Christ. And “ aloud, that Pan was dead: how poetically is it extended to “ wherewithall, there was heard the pagan divinities and the “ such piteous outcries and dread- oriental idolatries? The words “ ful shrieking, as hath not been of v. 183. a voice of weeping &c. “ the like. By which Pan, are from Matt. ii. 18. In Rama
though of some be understood was there a voice heard, lamenta“ the great Sathanas, whose tion, and weeping, fc. T. War
kingdom was at that time by ion. “ Christ conquered, and the gates 187. Wilh flow'r-inwoven tresses “ of hell broken up, for at that torn.] See note on interwove in “ time all Oracles surceased, and Par. Lost, i. 261. Inwove is also “ enchanted spirits that were not uncommon in Milton. See
wont to delude the ple Par. L. iii. 352. iv. 693. Spenser “ thenceforth held their peace, gives the first instance that I can " &c." So also Hakewill in his recollect. T. Warlon. Apologie, lib. iii. sect. ii. p. 208.
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint; And the chill marble seems to sweat,
195 While each peculiar pow'r foregoes his wonted seat.
With that twice batter'd God of Palestine;
Now sits not girt with tapers holy shine;
XXIII. And sullen Moloch fled,
205 Hath left in shadows dread
191. Lars, and Lemures] House- therefore we may suppose Milton hold gods and night spirits. Fla- was so well instructed in this mens, priests.
kind of learning 199. With that twice batter'd 201. Heav'n's queen and mother God of Palestine ;] Dagon, who both,] She was called regina was twice battered by Samson, cæli and mater Deúm. See Selden. Judges xvi. and by the ark of 202. Shine is a substantive in God, 1 Sam. v. Our author is Harrington's Ariosto, c. xxxvii. larger in his account of these 15. In Jonson's Panegyre, 1603. deities in the first book of the And Drummond, Sonnets, sign. Paradise Lost, and thither we B. ed. 1616. And in other places : must refer our reader, and to the but see Observal. on Spenser's notes there. Selden had a few F. Q. ïi. 181. T. Warlon. years before published his De 205. And sullen Moloch fled, Diis Syris Syntagmata duo, and &c.] In Sandys's Travels, p. 186.
His burning idol all of blackest hue;
In dismal dance about the furnace blue;
Trampling the unshow'r'd grass with lowings loud; 215
Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud ;
ed. 1615. fol. a popular book in “ with which they were wont to Milton's time, is a description “overwhelm the shrieks of the of the sacrifices and image of “ sacrificed infants.” In BurMoloch, exactly corresponding net's treatise De statu mortuorum with this passage, and with Par. et resurgentium, there is a fine Lost, i. 392. where see the note. picture of the rites of Moloch. But the imagery is introduced Milton like a true poet, in deinto the Paradise Lost with less scribing the Syrian superstitions, effect. There the dreadful cir- selects such as were most incumstances of this idolatrous teresting to the fancy, and most worship are only related; in our susceptible of poetical enlargeOde they are endued with life ment. T. Warton. and action, they are put in mo- 212. —the dog Anubis) Virg. tion before our eyes, and made Æn. viii. 698. latrator Anubis. subservient to a new purpose of 215. —The unshow'r'd grass] the poet by the superinduction There being no rain in Egypt, of a poetical fiction, to which but the country made fruitful they give occasion." The sul- with the overflowings of the “ len spirit is fled, and has left Nile. Richardson. “ in solitude and darkness his Tibullus of the Nile, “ burning image; the priests
Te propter nullos tellus tua supplicat “ dancing with horrid gesticu
imbres, “ lations about the blue furnace Arida nec pluviosupplicat herba Jovi. “ from which his idol was fed
T. Warlon. « with fire, in vain attempt to 218. -shroud ;] Shelter, hid. “ call back their grisly king ing-place. See note
on Par. “ with the din of those cymbals Lost, x. 1068. E.
In vain with timbrell’d anthems dark
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;
XXVI. So when the sun in bed, Curtain’d with cloudy red,
227. Our Babe to show &c.] In to be of much higher antiquity. the printed copies it is
Shakespeare has made an admiOur Babe to shew his Godhead true :
rable use of this popular idea.
Haml. a. i. s. 1. where a vulgar but this pitiful jingle could not be Milton's. He undoubtedly poet would have made the ghost
tamely vanish without a cause, wrote it show. Calton.
and without that preparation to
, &c.] Our author has here beautifully the interest. T. Warton.
so applied the vulgar superstition We will cite the passage in of spirits disappearing at the Prudentius above referred to; break of day, as the groundwork of a comparison. The
Ferunt vagantes dæmonas,
Læios tenebris noctiùm false gods of every heathen re
Gallo canente exterritos ligion depart at the birth of
Sparsim timere, et cedere: Christ, as spectres and demons
Invisa nam vicinitas vanish when the morning dawns. Lucis, salutis, numinis, See L'Allegro, 114. and Par. Reg. Rupto tenebrarum situ, iv, 426—431. The moment of
Noctis fugat satellites. the evanescence of spirits was We find the superstition two supposed to be limited to the hundred years before Prudencrowing of the cock. This be- tius, in Philostratus's Life of lief is mentioned by Prudentius, Apollonius Tyanæus. There the Cathem. Hymn. i. 38. But some ghost of Achilles, that had apof his commentators, and those peared to Apollonius, vanishes not easily to be found, prove it at once in the midst of a con