Imágenes de páginas


Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus self may heave his head
rom golden slumber on a bed


So also in the Mask, speaking of berton, on Leonidas, considers Circe and the Sirens,

the uncertain mixture of iambic Who as they sung, would take the and trochaic verses, of which prison'd soul,

we have here an example, as a And lap it in Elysium

blemish in our poet's versifiIt may be observed, that Milton's cation. I own, I think this mix. imagination glows with a parti- ture has a good effect in the cular brightness not only in this passage before us, and in many charming passage, but in every others. As in Il Penseroso, v. other where he has occasion to 143. describe the power of music, That at her flowery work doth sing. which shews how fond he it, and finely exemplifies Horace's Which is an iambic verse, changmaxim,

ing to trochaic in the next line, Verbaque provisam rem non invita

And the waters murmuring. sequentur.

was of

Thyer. Again,

There let the pealing organ blow The Lydian music was very soft To the full-voic'd quire below. and sweet, and according to Cas

Dr. J. Warton. siodorus, (Varior. lib. ii. ep. 40.

And again, p. 105. ed. fol. 1621. ad Boethium,) contra nimias cu

See also Shakespeare, Troil, and ras, animæque tædia reperta, re

Cres. act i. sc. 3. And he has missione reparabat et oblectatione animos corroborabat. And of features, in Rom. and Juliet.

married lineaments, for harmony so Dryden, in his excellent Ode

T. Warton. on St. Cecilia's day,

146. From golden slumber on a , Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,

bed Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures.

Of heap'd Elysian flowers, 136. Lap me in soft Lydian Compare P. L. iii. 358. Milton's airs.] An acute critic, Dr. Pem- florid style has this distinction

Of heap'd Elysian flow'rs, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half regain'd Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.



Il Penseroso *.

HENCE vain deluding joys,

The brood of folly without father bred, How little you bestead,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys?

from that of most other poets, serving, that this poem, both in that it is marked with a degree its model and principal circumof dignity. T. Warton.

stances, is taken from a song in 151. These delights if thou canst praise of melancholy in Fletcher's give,

comedy called The Nice Valor, or Mirth, with thee I mean to live.] Passionate Madman. The reader The concluding turn of this and will not be displeased to see it the following poem is borrowed here, as it is well worth tranfrom the conclusion of two beau- scribing. tiful little pieces of Shakespeare, Hence all you vain delights, entitled, The Passionate Shep- As short as are the nights herd to his Love, and the Wherein you spend your folly; Nymph's Reply to the Shep

There's nought in this life sweet, herd;

If man were wise to see't,

But only Melancholy, If these delights thy mind may move,

Oh sweetest Melancholy. Then live with me, and be my love.

Welcome folded arms, and fix'd eyes,

A sigh that piercing mortifies, These two poems are printed at A look that's fasten'd to the ground, length in the notes upon the A tongue chain'd up without a sound. third act of the Merry Wives of Fountain heads, and pathless groves, Windsor, in Mr. Warburton's Places which pale passion loves; edition.

Moon-light walks, when all the fowls • Il Penseroso is the thought

Are warmly hous'd, save bats and

owls; ful melancholy man; and Mr.

A midnight bell, a parting groan, Thyer eoncurred with me in ob- These are the sounds we feed upon; 5

Dwell in some idle brain,

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless

As the gay motes that people the sun-beams, Or likest hovering dreams

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.



Then stretch our bones in a still forth without a father. Theog. gloomy valley,

212. Nothing's so dainty sweet, as lovely Melancholy.

-σικσι δε φυλον ονειρων" 1. Hence vain deluding joys,

Ου σινι κοιμηθεισα θια σικι Νυξ ερεβεννη. . &c.] From a distich, as Mr. Mr. Thyer had made the same Bowle observes, in Sylvester, observation with me; and we the translator of Du Bartas, may be the more certain of this Workes, ed. fol. 1621. p. 1084.

allusion on account of the fol.

lowing comparison likest Hence, hence, false pleasures, momentary joyes,

hovering dreams. Mocke us no more with your illuding

7. As thick and numberless toyes !

As the gay motes that people The imagery which follows, v.

the sun-beams,] 5. and seq. is immediately from A similitude copied from Chauhis Cave of Sleep in Du Bartas,

Wife of Bath's Tale, ver.

868. p. 316. ed. fol. 1621. (See note on L'Allegro, v. 10.) He there As thik as motis in the sunné beme. mentions Morpheus, and his

7. But it was now a common fantasticke swarme of dreames " that horered"_" green, red, illustration. See Drayton, Mus. " and yellow, tawny, black, and Elys, Nymph. vi. vol. iv. p. 1494. “ blew"-and these resemble

Randolph's Poems, ed. 1640. p.

97. Caxton's Golden Legend, ed. Th' unnumbered motes which in the 1483. fol. 306. b. Sylvester cersun do play

tainly suggested the idea. T. And afterwards he calls the Warton. gawdy swarme of dreames."

10. The fickle pensioners of Hence Milton's fancies fond, Morpheus' train.] Fickle is trangaudy shapes, numberless gay sitory, perpetually shifting, as in motes in the sun-beams, and the Shakespeare's Sonnet cxxvi.hovering dreams of Morpheus.

“ Time's fickle glass."- PenT. Warton.

sioners became a common appel2. The brood of folly without lation in our poetry for train, father bred,] He assigns the same attendants, retinue, &c. As in kind of origin to these fantastic the Mids, N. Dr. act ii. s. 1. of joys, as Hesiod does to dreams, the faery queen, which he says the Night brings The cowslips tall her pensioners be.

But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy,
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O’erlaid with black, staid wisdom's hue;


This was in consequence of Qu. See note on L'Allegr. v. I. T. Elizabeth's fashionable establish. Warton. ment of a band of military cour- 12. Hail divinest Melancholy, tiers by that name. They were &c.] Milton, says Mr. Bowle, young men of the finest figure, has here some traces of Albert and of the best families and for. Durer's Melancholia. Particu. tune. Hence, says Quickly, in larly in the black visage, the looks the Merry Wires, act ii. s. 2. commercing with the skies, and the “ And yet there has been earls, stole drawn over her decent shoulnay, which is more, pensioners.ders. The painter, he adds, gave T. Warton.

her wings, which the poet has Morpheus, the minister of Som- transferred to Contemplation, v. nus, or Sleep, so called because 52. I think it is highly probable, he feigns tus progpas, the very that Milton had this personificountenances, words, manners, cation in his eye: and by makand gestures of mankind, and ing two figures out of one, and exhibits them in dreams. So by giving Melancholy a kindred Ovid Met. xi. 634.

companion, to whom wings may Excitat artificem simulatoremque

be properly attributed, and who figuræ

is distantly implied in Durer's Morphea.

idea, he has removed the vioPeck.

lence, and cleared the obscurity, 11. --sage and holy,] Melan- of the allegory, preserving at the choly is called sage, as Night was same time the whole of the oritermed by the Greeks Eupcorn; ginal conception. Mr. Steevens and for the like reason; both subjoins, “Mr. Bowle might being favourable to wisdom and “have added, that in Durer's contemplation.

“ design, a winged cherub, perUTOV EYOPONHN, playo angos

haps designed for Contemplaεύρων των ζητουμενων και σκεψιν

« tion, is the satellite of Melanηγουμενοι την ησυχίαν και το απερι

“choly. All transfer of plumσπαστον." Plutarch. ΠΕΡΙ πό. age was therefore needless. ΛΥΠΡΑΓΜ. Οpp. ii. p. 521. fol. “ The poet indeed has taken the Francof. 1599. Hurd.

wings from his goddess, and I See also Marston's Scourge of “think with judgment: for alVillanie, ut supr. lib. i. Proem.

though Contemplation is exThou nursing mother of fair wisdom's

cursive, Melancholy is attached lore,

“ to its object.” T. Warton. Ingenuous Melancholy.

16. Oerlaid with black, staid

[ocr errors]


Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The Sea-Nymphs, and their pow'rs offended:
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore
To solitary Saturn bore;

wisdom's hue.) Her countenance in revenge persuaded Neptune appears dark to the grossness of to send a prodigious whale into human vision, although in reality Ethiopia. To appease them, she of excessive lustre. The bright was directed to expose her daughvisage was therefore overlaid with ter Andromeda to the monster: black, according to its visible ap- but Perseus delivered Andropearance, by Durer in his por- meda, of whom he was enatrait of Melancholy. It is the moured, and transported Cassame general idea in Parad. L. iii. siope into heaven, where she 377.

became a constellation. Bibl. ii. -But when thou shad'st

c. iv. 8. 3. Hence she is called The full blaze of thy beams, and that starred Ethiop queen. See through a cloud

Aratus, Phænom. v. 189. seq. Drawn round about thee, &c.

But Milton seems to have been But this imagery is there ex- struck with an old Gothic print tended and enriched with new of the constellations, which I sublimity: for God even thus have seen in early editions of concealed, adds the poet, dazzles the Astronomers, where this heaven, and forces the most ex

queen is represented with a black alted seraphim to retire, and body marked with white stars. cover their eyes with both their T. Warlon. wings. T. Warton.

23. Thee bright-hair'd Vesta, 18. Prince Memnon's sister] &c.) Mr. Bowle thinks, that this Memnon, king of Ethiopia, son genealogy, but without the poof Tithonus by Aurora, repair- etry, is froin Gower's song, in ing with a great host to the re- Pericles Prince of Tyre. More lief of Priam king of Troy, was especially as the verses immethere slain by Achilles. Peck. diately follow those quoted from

19. Or that starr'd Ethiop the same song, L'Allegr. v. 25. queen &c.] Cassiope, as we learn See edit. Malone, Suppi. Sh. vol. from Apollodorus, was the wife ii. 7. of Cepheus king of Ethiopia. She boasted herself to be more

With whom the father liking took,

And her to incest did provoke, &c. beautiful than the Nereids, and challenged them to a trial; who The meaning of Milton's alleVOL. III.

E e

« AnteriorContinuar »