Of maffy ir’on or sólid rock with ease - Unfastens: on a sudden open fly - With impetuous recoil and jarring found 880

Th’infernal doors, and on their hinges grate
Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook
Of Erebus. She open’d, but to shut
Excell’d her pow'r; the gates wide open stood,

That with extended wings a banner'd host 885 5. Under spread ensigns marching might pass through

With horse and chariots rank'd in loose array;
So wide they stood, and like a furnace mouth
Cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.
Before their eyes in sudden view appear



and no bad line neither : but how of Macbeth remarks that this exmuch better doth Milton's express pression is copied from the History the rolling of her serpentine train, of Don Bellianis, where, when and how well the sound agrees with one of the knights approaches the the sense!

castle of Brandezar, the gates are 881. — and on their hinges grate said to open grating harsh thunder

Harsh thunder, ] How much upon their brazen hinges. And it is stronger and more poetical is this not improbable that Milton might than Virgil's, Æn. I. 449.

take it from thence, as he was a

reader of all kinds of romances. - foribus cardo ftridebat aënis : or Æn. VI. 573.

882. -- the lowest bottom shook

Of Erebus.] The most profound
- horrisono ftridentes cardine depth of Helī.

Erebi de sedibus imis.
Pandantur porta?

Virg. Georg. IV.471. The ingenious author of the Mifcellaneous Observations on the Tragedy

894. - where


The secrets of the hoary deep, a dark
Illimitable ocean, without bound,
Without dimension, where length, breadth, and highth,
And time, and place are loft; where eldest Night
And Chaos, ancestors of nature, hold

Eternal anarchy, amidst the noise
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.
For hot, cold, moist, and dry, four champions fierce,
Strive here for mastry, and to battel bring
Their embryon atoms; they around the flag 900


894. where eldes Night O thou most ancient Grandmother

And Chaos, &c.] All the ancient of all, . naturalists, philosophers, and poets, More old than Jove, &c. hold that Chaos was the first prin

of the ciple of all things; and the poets And our author's system particularly make Night a Goddess, univerle is in Thort, that the emand represent Night or darkness and pyrean Heaven, and Chaos and Choos or confusion as exercising un

darkness were before the creation, controll'd dominion from the be

Heaven above and Chaos beneath; ginning. Thus Orpheus in the

and then upon the rebellion of the beginning of his hymn to Night

Angels firji Hell was formed out of addresses her as the mother of the

ther of the Chaos firetching far and wide beGods and Men, and origin of all me

origin of all neath; and afterwards Heaven and things,

Earth, another world, hanging o'er

the realm of Chaos, and won from Nuxla Jeny 7,99TEIEGLV Quoollow his dominion. See ver. 1002, &C. nde neu avó par,

and 978. Νυξ γενεσις σανlων.

898. For hot, cold, moist, and So also Spenser in imitation of the dry, &c.] Ovid. Met. I. 19. Ancients, Fairy Queen, B. 1. C. 5. Frigida pugnabant calidis, humenSi, 22.

tia ficcis,

Of each his faction, in their several clans,
Light-arm’d or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift or flow,
Swarm populous, un-number'd as the sands-
Of Barca or Cyrene’s torrid foil,
Levied to side with warring winds, and poise 905
Their lighter wings. To whom these most adhere,
He rules a moment; Chaos umpire sits,
And by decision more embroils the fray
By which he reigns : next him high arbiter
Chance governs all. Into this wild abyss, 910


Mollia cum duris, fine pondere 905. — and poise] Give weight habentia pondus.

or ballaft to. · Pliny speaks of cerThe reader may compare this

tain birds, who when a storm arises

poise themselves with little stones, whole description of Chaos with

L. 11. C. 10. Virgil has the same Ovid's, and he will easily see how th

thought of his bees, Georg. IV. the Roman poet has lessen'd the grandeur of his by puerile conceits

194. Richardson.

906. To whom these most adhere,] and quaint antitheses : every thing Di Rey in Milton is great and malterly.

ning Dr. Bentley reads the most adhere,

that is (says he) he of the four 902. Light-arm'd or heavy,] He rules, while he has the majority. continues the warlike metaphor; But this is not Milton's sense ; for some of them are light-arm'd or according to him no atoms adhere heavy, levis or gravis armaturæ. to moist, but such as belong to his

Hume. faction, and the same is to be said 904. Of Barca or Cyrene's torrid of hot, cold, and dry. Therefore

foil,7 A city and province of the reason why any one of thesc dry fandy Libya, Virg. Æn. IV.42. four champions rules (tho’ but for

a moment) is because the atoms Hinc deserta fiti regio, lateque of his faction adhere most to him. furentes

Firm dependence indeed (says the Barcæj.

Doctor) and worthy the superla


The womb of nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mix'd
Confus’dly, and which thus muft ever fight,
Unless th'almighty Maker them ordain

His dark materials to create more worlds;
Into this wild abyss the wary Fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd a while,
Pond'ring his voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross. Nor was his ear less peald 920
With noises loud and ruinous (to compare


tive moft, that lasts but for a mo- blunder, Milton is elsewhere guilty ment: but I should think that the of it; we may rather suppose that less firm the dependence is, the he could not but see it, and therefiner image we have of such a state fore that he thought it an allow. as that of Chaos is. Pearce. able liberty in writing: for thus in 911. The womb of nature and per. V. 368. he says,

haps her grave,] Lucretius, - what the garden choiceft bears V. 260.

To fit and taste Omniparens, eadem rerum com

where fit and taste is us'd for fit. mune fepulchrum. Thyer.

ting taste; as here food and look'd 917. Into this wild abyss the wary for standing look'd. Pearce. Fiend

Here is a remarkable transposition Stood on the brink of Hell and look'd of the words, the sense however is

awhile,] Dr. Bentley reads very clear; The wary Fiend stood Look'd from the brink of Hell and on the brink of Hell, and look'd food awhile; and he calls the com- awhile into this wild abyss, ponder. mon reading an absurd and ridi- ing his voyage. 'Tis observable culous blunder, because into this the poet himself feems to be doing wild abyss relates not to food but what he describes, for the period to look'd, which is the verb at the begins at 910, then he goes not farthest distance. But if this be a on directly, but lingers, giving an

Great things with small) than when Bellona storms,
With all her battering engins bent to rase
Some capital city'; or less than if this frame
Of Heav'n were falling, and these elements 925
In mutiny had from her axle torn
The stedfast earth. At last his fail-broad vans
He spreads for flight, and in the furging smoke
Uplifted spurns the ground; thence many a league,
As in a cloudy chair, ascending rides

930 Audacious; but that seat soon failing, meets A vast vacuity: all unawares


idea of Chaos before he enters are often applied to the other, and into it. 'Tis very artful! If his flying is compar'd to failing, and Atile is somewhat abrupt, after such failing to flying. pondering, it better paints they

Velorum pandimus alas, image he intended to give.

Richardson. fays Virgil, Æn. III. 520. And 921. — (to compare

Æn. I. 300.

D 1.9 Great things with fmall)] An expression in Virg.Ecl.I.24. parvis com- -- volat ille per aera magnum ponere magna. And what an idea Remigio alarum. doth this give us of the noises of

The same manner of speaking has Chaos, that even those of a city

prevail'd likewise among the mobesieged, and of Heaven and Earth pro ruining from each other are but

dern poets, and in Spenfer, as well small in comparison ? And tho' as

*as in the passage before us, wings both the fimilitudes are truly ex.

are likend to fails, Fairy Queen, cellent and sublime, yet how fur. B. I. Cant. Il. St, 1o. prisingly doth the latter rise above His flaggy wings when forth he the former!

did display, 927. — his fail-broad vans] As Were like two fails. the air and water are both fluids, the metaphors taken from the one And afterwards, St. 18.


« VorigeDoorgaan »