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Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
Bending one way their precious influence;
Or Lucifer, that often warn'd them thence;
The sun himself withheld his wonted speed;
The new-enlighten'd world no more should need :
Sat simply chatting in a rustick row;
Was kindly come to live with them below:*
When such music sweet
i While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed ware. Another glorious line. The whole stanza breathes the essence of descriptive poetry.
j And, though the shady gloom, &c. Mr. Bowle saw with me that this stanza is a copy of one in Spenser's “ April :"
I sawe Phæbus thruste out his golden hede
Vpon her to gaze:
It did him amaze.
k That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below. That is, with the shepherds on the lawn. So, in Spenser's “May," which Milton imitates in “Lycidas:"
I muse what account both these will make,
When great Pan account of shepheards shall aske. We should recollect that Christ is styled a shepherd in the sacred writings. Mr. Bowle observes, that Dante calls bim Jupiter, “ Purgat.” c. vi. v. 118; and that this passago is literally adopted by Pulci, " Morgant. Magg.” c. ii. v. 2.--T. WARTON.
As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling:
That with long beams the shamefaced night array'd;
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
And the well-balanced world on hinges hung;
have power to touch our senses so;
1 Nature, that heard such sound. I suppose this is one of the stanzas which Warton deemed a conceit. I can hardly call it so.
m With unexpressive notes. So, in “Lycidas," v. 176:
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song, The word, which is the object of this note, was perhaps coined by Shakspeare, “As you Like it," a. iii. s. 2:
The fair, the chaste, the unexpressive she.-T. WARTON. This stanza is sublime, and in Milton's peculiar manner.
n Such musick. This stanza also is of equal excellence; and so the stanza which follows.
o And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow. Here is another idea caught by Milton from St. Paul's cathedral while he was a
And, with your ninefold harmony,”
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold;
And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould;
Yea, Truth and Justice then
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,
With radiant feet. the tissued clouds down steering;!
But wisest Fate says no,
The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy,
So both himself and us to glorify:
school-boy. Milton was not yet a puritan : afterwards, he and his friends the fanaties would not have allowed of so papistical an establishment as an organ and choir, even in heaven.-T. Wartox.
I think, to name the organ, in speaking of the music of the spheres, is rather the bathos.
p And, with your ninefold harmony. There being "nine infolded spheres," as in “ Arcades,” v. 64.–Newton.
9 And speckled Vanity, &c. Plainly taken from the "maculosum nefas" of Horace, “Od." v. 4. 28.-Jos. Wartox.
Vanity dressed in a variety of gaudy colours. Unless he means spots, the marks of disease and corruption, and the symptoms of approaching death.-T. Wartox.
And Hell itself vill pass away,
And leare her dolorous mansions to the peering day.
Cernatur, trepidentque immisso lumine Manes.-T. WARTON.
s With radiant feet. Isaiah lii. 7:—“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings——that publisheth salvation ; that saith unto Sion, Thy God reigneth?"DUNSTER.
Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep,
While the red fire and smouldering clouds out brake:
Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
But now begins; for, from this happy day,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway;
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.
u The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep. A line of great energy, elegant and sublime.-T. Warton.
Swindges the scaly horrour of his folded tail. This strong image is copied from the descriptions of serpents and dragons in the old romances and Ariosto. There is a fine picture by Guido, representing Michael the archangel treading on Satan, who has such a tail as is here described.—Jos. WARTON.
The oracles, &c. Attention is irresistibly awakened and engaged by the air of solemnity and enthusiasm that reigns in this stanza and some that follow. Such is the power of true poetry, that one is almost inclined to believe the superstitions real.-Jos. Warton.
This is a noble note of Jos. Warton, who, though he had not the detached, abstruse, and curious knowledge, and deep research of his brother, had, perhaps, more sensibility of taste. Here is just enough of that dim imagery, and those mysterious epithets, to set the imagination into that magical stir, which it is the essence of true poetry to
* The lonely mountains o'er, &c. Dr Newton observes, that this allusion to the notion of the cessation of oracles at the coming of Christ, was allowable enough in a young poet. Surely, nothing could have been more allowable in an old poet. And how poetically is it extended to the pagan divinities, and the oriental idolatries -T. Warton.
V A roice of vecping heard and loud lament. This is scriptural. Matt. ii. 18: “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation and weeping," &c.—T. WARTON.
From haunted spring and dale
The parting Genius is with sighing sent:
In consecrated earth,
The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint:
Affrights the flamens at their service quaint;
Peor and Baälim
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine ;
and mother both,
His burning idol all of blackest hue :
In dismal dance about the furnace blue :
z The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. An exquisite Alexandrine, both for the imagery and the music of the metre.
a The chill marble seems to sweat. Among the prodigia at the death of Julius Cæsar, Virgil notices, "mestem illacrymat templis ebur, æraque sudant.” Georg. i. 480.-DUNSTER,
White each peculiar Power forgoes his wonted scat.
Excessere omnes, adytis arisquo relictis,
c Heaven's queen and mother both,
d And sullen Moloch, fled, &o. This imagery, but with less effect, was afterwards transferred into the “ Par. Lost," b. i. 392; where these dreadful circumstances, of themselves sufficiently striking to the imagination, are only related : in our Ode, they are endued with life and action, they are put in motion before our eyes, and made subservient to a new purpose of the poet by the superinduction of a poetical fiction, to which they give occasion. Milton, like a true poet, in describing the Syrian superstitions, selects such as were most susceptible of poetical enlargement; and which, from the wildness of their ceremonies, were most interesting to the fancy.-T. Warton.
. In dismal dance about the furnace blue. So in “Macbeth," as Mr. Steevens has observed to me:
And round about the caldron sing.-T. WARTON.