Upon the rapid current, which through veins
Of porous earth with kindly thirst up drawn,
Rose a fresh fountain, and with many a rill
Water'd the garden; thence united fell
Down the steep glade, and met the nether flood,
Which from his darksome paffage now appears,
And now divided into four main streams,
Runs diverse, wand'ring many a famous realm
And country, whereof here needs no account; 235
But rather to tell how, if Art could tell,


233. And now divided into four poet expresses it as if the river

main Areams, 1 This is ground. had been parted into four other ed upon the words of Moses, Gen. rivers below the garden ; but there II. io. And a river went out of is no being certain of these partiEden to water the garden, and from culars, and Milton, senfible of the thence it was paried, and became in- great uncertainty of them, wisely to four heads. Now the moft pro- avoids giving any farther descripbable account that is given of these tion of the countries thro' which four rivers we conceive to be this. the rivers flow'd, and says in the The river that water'd the garden general that no account necds to of Eden was, as we think, the be given of them here. river formed by the junction of : 238. Rolling on orient pearl and Euphrates and Tigris; and this fands of gold,] Pactolus, Herriver was parted into four other mus, and other rivers are described main streams or rivers ; two above by the poets as having golden the garden, namely Euphrates and Sands ; but the description is made Tigris before they are join'd, and richer here, and the water rolls on two below the garden, namely Eu- 'the choiceft pearls as well as sands phrates and Tigris after they are of gold. So in III. 507. we have parted again; for Euphrates and orient gems; see the note there. We Tigris they were still called by the have likewise orient pearl in ShakeGreeks and Romans, though in spear, Richard III. A& IV. and in the time of Moses they were Beaumont and Fletcher, The faithnamed Pison and Gihon. Our ful Shepherdess, Act III. And in


How from that saphir fount the crisped brooks,
Rolling on orient pearl and sands of gold,
With mazy error under pendent shades .
Ran nectar, visiting each plant, and fed 240
Flow'rs, worthy' of Paradise, which not nice Art
In beds and curious knots, but Nature boon
Pour'd forth profuse on hill and dale and plain,
Both where the morning sun first warmly smote
The open field, and where the unpierç'd shade 245
Imbrown'd the noontide bow'rs: Thus was this place



the Fox Mosca alks Corvino, who of to describe any thing shaded. had brought a rich pearl as a pre- Thus Boiardo describing a fleet of sent to old Volpone; Is your pearl ships going to put to sea. Ori. Inam. orient, Sir? A& I.

Cant. 29. 244. Both where the morning sun De le sue vele e tanto spessa l'omfirst warmly smote

bra The open field,] This is a man

Che sotto a quelle il mar e fatto ner of expression unusual in our language, and plainly borrow'd from the Italian poets, with whom So also Ariosto I remember upon a it is very common. Ariosto Orl. Fur, like occasion, Cant. 8. St, 20,

sotto le vele il mar s'imbruni. Percote il sole ardente il vicin colle. To these instances may be added Cant. 10. St. 35.

from Tasso Gier. Lib. Cant. 14. Percote il sol nel colle, « fa ri. Do torno. Thyer.

Quinci ella in cima à una mon246. Imbrownd the noontide

tagna ascende

Dilhabitata, e d'ombre Oscura, i bow'rs:) A person muft bet

a be bruna. acquainted with the Italian language to discern the force and In like manner to express the apexact propriety of this term. It is a proach of the evening they say ju word which their poets make use l'imbrunir, or if they would say it


A happy rural seat of various view;
Groves whose rich trees wept odorous gums and balm,
Others whose fruit burnish'd with golden rind
Hung amiable, Hesperian fables true, 250
If true, here only', and of delicious taste :
Betwixt them lawns, or level downs, and flocks
Grazing the tender herb, were interpos’d,


grows dusky or gloomy - Il tempo The first and most proper sense of comincia ad imbrunirsi. Thyer. the word fabula, as all the dictio

248. Groves while rich trees &c.] naries inform us, is something There were groves bearing aroma- commonly talked of, whether true tics, and there were others bear- or false : and if Milton usd the ing fruit for suítenance. The for- word fable fo here, che sense is mer are called rich trees, as oda- clear of the objection. But the rous gums and balm carry usually a Doctor would rather throw out higher price than fruit; and they the words Hesperian apples (or fables) are said to waip gums and balm by true, If true, bere only, because a beautiful metaphor not unusual in (says he) the Hesperian atples are poetry: as Ovid says of the myrrh- represented by the poets as of folid tree, Met. X. 500.

gold, far from being of delicious

taste. This objection is answer'd Flet tamen, et tepidæ manant ex by reading, as I think we ought to arbore gutiæ,

do, the whole passage thus, Eft honor et lacrymis.

Others, whose fruit burnilh'd with 250.-Hifperian fables true, &c ] golden rind Dr. Bertley prefers apples to fables, Hung amiable, (Hesperian fables and asks how fables can be true any where? If they cannot, I

true, wonder how the Doctor in his edi. If true, here only) and of delition of Phædrus, fuffer'd the fol- cious taste. Pearce. lowing paffage to stand without any censure,

19 Fables, stories as XI. 11. What is

said of the Hesperian gardens is Hanc emendare, fi tamen possum, true here only; if all is not pure volo

invention, this garden was meant : Vera fabella,

and moreover these fruits have a


Or palmy hilloc; or the flow'ry lap
Of some irriguous valley spread her store, 255
Flow'rs of all hue, and without thorn the rose;
Another fide, umbrageous grots and caves
Of cool recess, o'er which the mantling vine
Lays forth her purple grape, and gently creeps
Luxuriant; mean while murm’ring waters fall 260


delicious taste, those there had thorns and thistles, Gen. III. 18. none. Richardson.

and from hence the general opi255. — irriguous valley] Well. nion has prevailed that there were water'd, full of springs and rills : no thorns before; which is enough it is the epithet of a garden in Ho. to justify a poet in saying the rose race, Sat. II. IV. 16.

was without thorns or prickles. Irriguo nihil est elutius horto.

Hume. 257. Another fide, umbrageous grots

and caves] Another side of 256. Flow'rs of all bue, and with the garden was umbrageous grots

out thorn tbe rose:] Dr. Bent- and caves &c. Or on another side ley rejects this verse, because he were fhady grots and caves, &c. thinks it a jejune identity in the poet the præposition being omitted as is to say The flow'ry lap - spread not unusual with our author. See flow'rs: but, as Dr.Pearce observes, I. 282 and 723. On one fide were tho' the expression be not very groves of aromatics, others of fruit, exact, it is not so bad as Dr. Bent- and betwixt them lawns or downs. ley represents it; for the construc. On another side were fhady grotto's tion and sense is, The flow'ry lap of and caves of cool recess. Our aufome valley Spread her fore, which thor indeed has not mention'd one store was what? why flow'rs of fide before, but without that he often every color of hue. Dr. Bentley makes use of the expression, on objects too to the latter part of the thother side, as you may fee in II. verfe, and without thorn the rose, 108, 706. IV. 985. IX. 888. as and calls it a puerile fancy. But Virgil frequently says in parte alia, it should be remember'd, that it in another part, though he has not was part of the curse denounced said exprelly in one part before, Æn. upon the earth for Adam's trans. I. 474. VIII. 682. IX. 521. greffion, that it should bring forth

261. - dispersid,

Down the Nope hills, dispers’d, or in a lake,
That to the fringed bank with myrtle crown’d
Her crystal mirror holds, unite their streams.
The birds their quire apply; airs, vernal airs,
Breathing the smell of field and grove, attune 265
The trembling leaves, while universal Pan


261. difpers'd, or in a lake,] Orbis, et hibernis parcebant la The waters fall dispersed, or unite tibus Euri, their streams in a lake, that pre Cum primum lucem pecudes haufents her clear looking-glass, holds sere &c. her crystal mirror to the fringed bank crown'd with myrtle. He

Ov. Met. I. 107. makes the lake we may observe a Ver erat æternum, placidique te person, and a critic like Dr. Bent

It pentibus auris jey may find fault with it; but it Muicebant Zephyri natos fine reis usual with the poets to personify

mine flores. lakes and rivers, as Homer does the river Scamander and Virgil That the Graces were taken for the the Tiber; and Milton himself beautiful seasons in which all things makes a person of the river of seem to dance and smile in an unibliss, and a female person too, III. versal joy is plain from Horace, 359. as he does here of the lake. Od. IV. VII. 1. This language is certainly more

Diffugere nives, redeunt jam grapoetical; and I suppose he thought

mina campis Her crystal mirror sounded smoother

Gratia cum nymphis geminifque and better than Its cryftal mirror, fororibus audet or even His crystal mirror.

Ducere nuda choros. 266. -- while universal Pan &c.] And Homer joins both the Graces While universal Nature link'd with and Hours hand in hand with Harthe graceful seasons danc'd a per. mi

1. mony, Youth, and Venus in his petual round, and throughout the Hu

Hymn to Apollo.

Hume. earth yet unpolluted led eternal Ti

The Ancients personiz'd every spring. All the poets favor the hi

ething. Pan is nature, the Graces opinion of the world's creation in are the beautiful seasons, and the the spring. Virg. Georg. II. 338.

Hours are the time requisite for the Ver illud erat, ver magnus age. production and perfection of things. bat

Milton only says in a moft poetical


« VorigeDoorgaan »