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Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain’d.
In that obscure sojourn, while in my fight 15
Through utter and through middle darkness borne
With other notes than to th’Orphéan lyre .
I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain

To that is here applied to Chaos, with. &c.] He was not only taught by cut form and void. A short but the Mufe to venture down, which noble description of Chaos, which indeed was not very hard and difis said to be infinite, as it extended ficult, but also up to reafcend, tho' underneath, as Heaven above, in- hard and rare, which is manifestly finitely. Richardson.

an allufion to Virgil, Æn. VI. 128. 16. Through utter and through

middle darkness ] Through Sed revocare gradum, faperasque Hell which is often callid utter evadere ad auras darkness, and through the great gulf Hoc opus, hic labor est; pauci, between Hell and Heaven, the quos æquus amavit middle darkness.

Jupiter, aut ardens evexit ad e. 17. With other notes than to th'Or- thera virtus,

phéan lyre &c.] Orpheus Dlis geniti potuere. made a hymn to Night, which is

But to return, and view the chear. Aill extant; he also wrote of the

ful kies, creation out of Chaos. See Apoll.

In this the tak, and mighty labor Rhodius I. 493. Orpheus was in

lies : spir'd by his mother Calliope only,

To few great Jupiter imparts this Milton by the heav'nly Muse; there. fore he boasts he sung with other


And those of shining worth and notes than Orpheus, tho' the fub

heav'nly race. . jects were the same. Richardson.

Dryden. 19. Taught by the beav'nly Muse VOL. I.

25. So

To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their orbs, 25
Or dim suffufion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or funny hill,

Smit 25. So thick a drop serene hath wrote to his friend Leonard Phie quench'd their orbs,

lara, an Athenian then at Paris, Or dim fuffufion veild.] Drop fe- for him to consult Dr. Thevenot ; rene or Gutta serena. It was for- he sent his case ('tis in the 15th of merly thought that that sort of his familiar letters): what answer blindness was an incurable ex- he had is not known; but it seems tinction or quenching of sight by by this passage that he was not a transparent, watry, cold humor certain what his disease was: or distilling upon the optic nerve, perhaps he had a mind to describe tho' making very little change in both the great causes of blindness the eye to appearance, if any; 'tis according to what was known at now known to be most commonly that time, as his whole poem is inan obftruction in the capillary vei- terspers'd with great variety of fels of that nerve, and curable in learning. Richardson. fome cases. A cataract for many ages, and till about thirty years 26. Tet not the mort ago, was thought to be a film ex Cease I to wander, 1 Dr. Bentley ternally growing over the eye, in- would read Yet not for that &c. tercepting or veiling the fight, be. there being as he says no gradation ginning with dimness, and so in- in ceasing. Dr. Pearce prefers as creasing till vision was totally ob- coming nearer to the text, Yet not Atructed: but the disease is in the therefore, our poet and Fairfax frecrystallin humor lying between the quently placing the tone on the outmost coat of the eye and the last syllable of therefore. But I pupilla. The dimness which is at cannot see the neceflity for an althe beginning is called a fufufion; teration; 1 et not the more reale i to and when the fight is lof, 'tis a wonder may be allow'd, if no: cataract; and cur'd by couching, justify'd by Et fi quid ceffare potes in which is with a needle passing Virgil, Ecl. VÍI. io. We may un through the external coat and drive derstand cease here in the sense of 'ing down the diseas'd crystallin, the forbear; Yet not the more forbear

lots of which is somewhat supply'd I to wander: I do it as much as I by the use of a large convex glass. did before I was blind. When Milcon was first blind, he .

II. 475.

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowry brooks beneath, 30
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two equal’d with me in fate,

So 29. Smit with the love of facred botch at best. The most probable fong ;) So Virgil. Georg. explanation of this passage I con

ceive to be this. Tho' he men. Dulces ante omnia Mufae. tions four, yet there are but two Quarum facra fero ingenti per

c. whom he particularly desires to recussus amore.

* semble, and those he distinguishes

both with the epithec blind to make 30. — the flowry brooks beneath,] the likeness the more striking, Kedron and Siloah. He still was Blind Thamiris and blind Moonides, pleas'd to study the beauties of the ancient poets, but his highest de. Meonides is Homer, so call'd from light was in the songs of Sion, in the name of his father Mæon: and the holy Scriptures, and in these no wonder our poet desires to he meditated day and night. This equal him in renown, whose writis the sense of the passage stript of ings he so much studied, admir'dits poetical ornaments.

and imitated. The character of 32. —- nor sometimes forget] 'Tis Thamyris is not so well known and the same as and sometimes not forget. establish'd: but Homer mentions Nec and neque in Latin are fre- him in the Iliad. II. $95; and Eua quently the same as et non. ftathius ranks him with Orpheus

Pearce. and Mufæus, the most celebrated 33. Those other two &c.] It has poets and musicians. That luftful been imagin'd that Milton dictated challenge of his to the nine Muses Those oober too, which tho' different was probably nothing more than in sense, yet is not distinguishable a fable invented to express his vioin sound, so that they might easily lent love and affection for poetry. be miftaken the one for the other. Plato mentions his hymns with In ftrictness of speech perhaps we honor in the beginning of his hould read others inftead of other, eighth book of Laws, and towards Those others too: but those other may the conclusion of the last book of be admitted as well as these other his Republic feigns, upon the prinin IV. 783. - these other wheel ciples of transn gration, that the the north : but then it must be ac- soul of Thamyris passed into a knowledged that too is a forry nightingale. He was a Thracian


So were I equal’d with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns



by birth, and invented the Doric Dr. Bentley is totally for rejecting mood or measure, according to this verse, and objects to the bad Pliny, L. 7. c. 57. Plutarch in accent of Tirefias: but as Dr. Pearce his treatise of Music says that he observes the accent may be mend. had the finest voice of any of his ed by supposing that the intertime, and wrote a poem of the lin'd copy intended this order of war of the Titans with the Gods: the words, and from Suidas we learn that he And Phineus and Tirefias prophets compos'd likewise a poem of the

old. generation of the world, which being subjects near of kin to Mil- And the verse appears to be geton's might probably occafion the nuin by Mr. Marvel's alluding to mention of him in this place. Tha- it in his verses prefix'd to the se. myris then and Homer are those other cond edition ; two whom the poet principally Tuft Heav'n Thee, like Tirefias, desires to resemble: And it seems J

eems to requite, as if he had intended at frit to Rewards 'with prophecy thy lofs mention only these two, and then

of sight. currente calamo had added the two others, Tirefias and Phineus, And as Mr. Lauder observes, they the one a Theban, the other a are all four joined together by king of Arcadia, famous blind Masenius; prophets and poets of antiquity, Vatibus antiquis numerantur for the word prophet sometimes mine cassis comprehends both characters as Tiresias, Phineus, Thamyrisque, vates doth in Latin.

et magnus Homerus. · And Tirefias and Phineus prophets oldo

37. Then feed on thoughts, ] No.


Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or fight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the chearful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works to me expung'd and ras'd,


thing could better express the muf- thor, but I find it used several ing thoughtfulness of a blind poet. times in Shakespear and the auThe phrase was perhaps borrowed thors of that age. Lear's fool says, from the following line of Spenser's A& I. So out went the candle, and Tears of the Mules,

we were left darkling. I feed on sweet contentment of 41. Seafons return, but not to me my thought. Thyer.

returns) This beautiful turn

of the words is copied from the 37.- tbat voluntary move beginning of the third act of Gua

Harmonious numbers; &c.] And rinis paštor Fido. Mirtillo ad. the reader will observe the flowing dresses the spring. of the numbers here with all the ease and harmony of the finest vo- Tu torni ben, ma teco luntary. The words seem of them. Non tornano Esc. selves to have fall'n naturally into Tu torni ben, tu torni, verse almost without the poet's Ma teco altro non torna &c. thinking of it. And this harmony Thou art return'd; but the feappears to greater advantage for licity the roughness of some of the pre- Thou brought'st me last is not re. ceding verses, which is an artifice

turnd with thee: frequently practic'd by Milton, to

Thou art return'd; but nought be careless of his numbers in some

returns with thee places, the better to set off the

Save my last joys regretful meu

S; musical flow of those which imme

mory. Fanshawe. diately follow.

49. Of nature's works &c. 1 39. — darkling,] It is said that Dr. Bentley reads All nature's map this word was coin'd by our au- &c. because (he says) a blank of




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