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flaming Ethon (one of the four heroes of the Sun, according to the enumeration in Ovid's Met. II. 153, 154) seen the sign of the Ram, and clothed its woolly back with new gold; and twice had Chloris or Flora overspread the old earth with new herbage; and twice had Auster, the South-wind, removed Flora's wealth; nor yet in this interval had it been permitted him to see Young's face, or hear him speak. Literally translated, this means that three vernal equinoxes, or 21sts of March, two summers, and two falls of the year, had passed since Milton and Young last met.
80. "ærisonam Diva perosa tubam": the goddess Eirene, or Peace.
97 100. "vates terræ Thesbitidis," etc., i.e. Elijah the Tishbite. See Kings xix. "Sidoni dira” (voc.) is Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, King of Sidon (1 Kings xvi. 31). IOI, 102. "Talis et. Paulus," etc. Acts xvi. 9-40. Gergessæ," etc. See Matt.
103, 104. viii. 28-34.
113, 114. "Ille Sionæa," etc. 2 Kings xix. 35, 36. 115-132. "Inque fugam vertit quos in Samaritidas oras," A poetic rendering, in brief, of 2 Kings vii. 3-10. 125, 126. "Nec dubites," etc. The prophecy in these concluding lines was very soon fulfilled. See sketch of Young's subsequent life, Introd.
I. "In se perpetuo Tempus revolubile gyro": possibly a recollection of a line in Buchanan's "Maia Calenda"; which is, in fact, just such a poem on the Approach of Spring as this by Milton.
6-8. 66 Ingeniumque mihi munere veris adest," etc. Milton's own information, in his later years, to his nephew Phillips, was the very reverse of this. It was "that his vein never happily flowed but from the autumnal equinox to the vernal," i.e. from Sept. 21st to March 21st (Phillips's Memoir in 1694). If this is true, the approach of Spring actually checked Milton's ingenium. But that refers to about 1663, when Milton was between fifty and sixty years of age; and we are now at 1629, when he was but twenty. 30. "perennis." So in the edition of 1673. In that of
1645 the word was "quotannis"; which was a blunder of quantity, the last syllable being long. The blunder had not escaped Salmasius; and it was pointed out in his posthumous Responsio to Milton, published in 1660.
Bootes." Mr. Keightley remarks, "This is not a proper expression for Bootes, which had nothing to do with Lycaon, whose daughter was turned into the plaustrum cæleste." But Milton had strict mythological authority. Although the northern constellation Bootes was represented by some as the stellified Icarus, by others he was represented as the stellified Arcas, the eponymic hero of the Arcadians; and this Arcas, in some mythologies, was that very son of Lycaon whose flesh was served up by his father before Zeus, and whom the disgusted God restored to life, while he destroyed the rest of the house of Lycaon. In that case, he was a brother of Callisto alias Helice, daughter of Lycaon, who was stellified as the Greater Bear, or northern wain, or Arctos. Even if Arcas is not taken as the son of Lycaon, but as the son of Callisto or Helice by Zeus (which is one form of the myth), he was still Lycaonian, as being the grandson of Lycaon; and so anyway Milton hits right in the jumble. Both Bootes (Arcas, son or grandson of Lycaon) and Arctos, the plaustrum cæleste or Northern Wain (Callisto or Helice, daughter of Lycaon and sister or mother of Aicas), were Lycaonian offshoots up in heaven; and the only question, in this passage, is whether Bootes regarded the "plaustrum cæleste " which he was following as his sister or as his mother.
61, 62. "Ecce coronatur. . . Idæam pinea turris Opim,” i.e. the lofty forehead of the Earth is crowned with wood, as that of Ops, or Cybele, the goddess of fertility, the great all-bearing mother, is crowned with a tower of pines.
74. "hinc titulos adjuvat ipsa tuos": because Phoebus was also the God of Medicine.
125. "Manalius Pan." Mænalus was a mountain in Arcadia, the principal country of Pan; and hence he is called "Mænalius Deus" (Ovid, Fast., IV. 650).
"cupit malè tecta videri": from Virgil, Ecl. III. :-"Et fugit ad salices, et se cupit ante videri."
129. 66 :
10. Festaque califugam quæ coluere Deum." Milton means simply "these December festivities of yours"; but he recollects that the Roman Saturnalia, or festivities in honour of Saturn, and of the golden days of primitive equality when this god resided on earth, were held in the middle of December,
19, 20. "Naso Corallæis," etc.: i.e. "The poet Ovid (P. Ovidius Naso) sent bad verses from the scene of his banishment, the country of the savage Coralli; and the reason was that there was no feasting there, and no vines planted." The poems written by Ovid during his exile at Tomi on the Euxine sea (A.D. 8-18) were his Tristia, his Epistolæ ex Ponto, and his Ibis, besides parts of his Fasti; and these, in the judgment of critics, were not so good, or at least not so graceful, as his previous poems, all written in Rome, or elsewhere in Italy, amid the luxuries of civilized society.
21, 22. "Quid nisi vina . . . cantavit Tëia Musa," etc. From Ovid he passes to Anacreon, a native of the Greek city of Teos or Teios on the Ægean coast of Asia Minor, and hence called by Ovid Teia Musa." By "brevibus modis" the short structure of the so-called Anacreontics is designated.
23-26. "Pindaricosque inflat numeros,” etc. Teumesius Euan is the Boeotian Bacchus, called Euan, from the cry to him by his priestesses in their revels, and Teumesius, from Teumesus, a mountain in Boeotia; and the connexion of the passage is "Pindar's lyrics also, the Theban Pindar's, are inspired by the Bacchus of his native Boeotia."
27, 28. "Quadrimoque madens Lyricen Romanus,' etc. Next in the list comes Horace, referred to by his Odes to Glycera and Chloe (1. 19 and 23).
Thracian, because Or
37. "Thressa . . . barbitos." pheus was Thracian.
39-48. "Auditurque chelys suspensa tapetia circum," etc. In the whole of this passage we have a charming picture of a room, as it might be on a winter-evening, in some English country mansion in Milton's time, well-lit,
elegantly furnished, and full of young people gracefully enjoying themselves.
55-66. "At qui bella refert,
augur iture Deos." I have already called attention (Introd. p. 93) to the peculiarly Miltonic significance of this passage, coming so powerfully after the quiet grace of the preceding context.
71. "Sic dapis exiguus, sic rivi potor Homerus." Here Milton flatly contradicts Horace, who insists on it as an axiom that no good poet was ever a water-drinker, and argues, on internal evidence, that Homer cannot have been such (Epist. 1. xix. 1-6).
79-90. "At tu si quid agam scitabere," etc. See Introd., and Introd. to Hymn on the Nativity.
"Talis in æterno juvenis Sigeius Olympo." The line, as Warton noted, is adapted from Tibullus, IV. ii. 13.—The "juvenis Sigeius" is Ganymede, son of Tros.
37, 38. Cydoniusque. venator, et ille," etc. The name Cydonius venator" (from Cydonia, a city in Crete, famous for its arrows) seems to be here indefinite, like the "Parthus eques" of the preceding line, and not to designate any particular person. The other person, "ille," is Cephalus, one of the legends about whom is that he shot his own wife Procris accidentally with an unerring arrow, the gift of Artemis.
46. "Nec tibi Phabæus porriget anguis opem." Æsculapius, the God of Medicine, son of Phoebus, came to Rome in the form of a snake, to stay a pestilence.
51, 52. "Et modò quà nostri spatiantur in urbe Quirites, et modò," etc. i.e. now the favourite walks of the citizens within London itself (Charter House Garden, the Temple Gardens, Lincoln's Inn Fields, Gray's Inn Gardens, etc.), now the more suburban places of resort (Hyde Park, Hampstead, etc.)
83, 84. "Talis et obreptum solem respexit .. Am. phiaraus." The story of the hero Amphiaraus, who went unwillingly to the war against Thebes, fought bravely in it, but was at last swallowed up in a chasm of the earth as he was careering in his chariot from the pursuing enemy, is
hinted at by Ovid in a line the last half of which Milton has adapted (Epist., ex Pont. III. i. 51, 52):—
"Notior est factus Capaneus a fulminis ictu ;
POSTSCRIPT TO ELEGIA SEPTIMA.-The more the general tenor of the Postscript is considered in connexion with the circumstances of Milton's life, the more it will appear that by Academia in line 5 he does not mean the University of Cambridge, as all the commentators have supposed, but the Platonic Philosophy. Still, if there is any doubt, Cambridge ought to have the benefit. At all events, he has made the penult of Academia short here, just as he did when he used the word indubitably for Cambridge University (see Eleg. II. 21).
IN PRODITIONEM BOMBARDICAM.-" Qualiter ille. liquit Iordanios agros." The prophet Elijah, 2 Kings
IN EANDEM. -" Quæ septemgemino Bellua monte lates?": the Papacy, resting on the seven hills of Rome, and regarded by zealous Protestants as the Beast of the Apocalypse (Rev. xiii.)—"Ille quidem sine te consortia serus adivit astra.” King James was dead several years before this Epigram was written. Would Milton in later manhood have made the same post-mortem disposition of this king?
IN EANDEM. "Purgatorem animæ derisit Iacobus ignem": i.e. King James, as a good Protestant, derided the doctrine of Purgatory. Note the unusual Tacobus, instead of Iacobus, as in the preceding Epigram. inultus," etc. Compare In Quintum Novembris, 44.
IN EANDEM. The jest is "How absurd that Rome, which had excommunicated James, and doomed him to Styx and the world below, should have changed her mind, and tried to hoist him by gunpowder the other way!"
IN INVENTOREM BOMBARDÆ. “Iapetionidem": Prome. theus.
AD LEONORAM Romæ CanenTEM.-"Angelus unicuique