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as it seems to have been by his Italian poetry that Salzilli was best known in Rome. 27, 28.
Querceta Fauni, vosque rore vinoso Colles benigni, mitis Evandri sedes." These are poetical designations for Rome and its neighbourhood. Both Faunus and Evander are important personages in the myths of primitive Latium.
33-35. Ipse inter atros emirabitur lucos Numa, ubi," Warton's note on the passage is as follows:- "Very near the city of Rome, in the middle of a gloomy grove, is a romantic cavern with a spring, where Numa is fabled to have received the Roman laws from his wife Egeria, one of Diana's nymphs . . . When Numa died, Egeria is said to have retired thither to lament his death On these grounds Milton builds the present beautiful fiction, that Numa, still living in this dark grove, in the perpetual contemplative enjoyment of his Egeria, from thence will listen with wonder to the poetry of the neighbouring bard."
38, 39. "Nec in sepulchris ibit obsessum reges," etc. Inundations of the Tiber were frequent; and Milton has here in view Horace's description of one, Ode 1. ii.
41. "Curvi... Portumni." There was a temple to Portumnus at the mouth of the Tiber.
I, 2. "Hæc quoque," etc. Because, as Warton notes, these verses of Milton were but an addition to the numerous poetical testimonies already received by Manso.
4. "Post Galli cineres, et Mecanatis Etrusci.” Caius Cornelius Gallus, who died B. C. 26, at the age of about forty, was distinguished as a general, and also as a poet and orator, and was the intimate friend of Virgil, Ovid, and all the other eminent writers of the Augustan age. Of the Etruscan Mæcenas, and his celebrity in literature, nothing needs be said. He died B.C. 8.
6. "Victrices hederas inter laurosque sedebis." See line 102 of the poem Ad Patrem.
II, 12. "Dum canit Assyrios divům prolixus amores," The reference is to Marini's poem L'Adone, which is suitably characterized.
16. "Vidimus arridentem operoso ex ære poetam": Marini's monument at Naples.
22, 23. "Emulus illius qui," etc., i.e. Herodotus, born at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, not far from Mount Mycale, and supposed to be the author of a Life of Homer still extant, but now named "Pseudo-Herodotean." "Nos etiam in nostro modulantes flumine cygnos,' 30-33. etc. "I believe it is an old tradition," says Wharton, "that, if swans sing, it is in the darkest and coldest nights of winter." The Thames has always been famous for its swans; and Ben Jonson had this in mind when he wrote of Shakespeare
"Sweet swan of Avon! what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames
34. Tityrus." By Tityrus Milton is supposed here to mean Chaucer, who had visited Italy about 1373 and seen Petrarch (Prologue to the Clerkes Tale). In Spenser's Pastorals Tityrus is a fancy-name for Chaucer.
38-48. "Nos etiam colimus Phœbum, nos munera Phabo misimus," etc. There is a reference here, as Warton pointed out, to the belief that Apollo was worshipped by the ancient Britons. Assuming this belief, Milton, in the present passage, goes farther, and ventures to claim as native British Druidesses those Hyperborean nymphs who, according to Herodotus, brought from their far country offerings to Apollo and Artemis in Delos. Herodotus gives but two of these nymphs, and names them Upis and Arge; but Milton, as Warton noted, takes as his authority Callimachus, Hymn. Del. 292 :
“ Οὖπις τε, Λοξώ τε, καὶ εὐαίων ̔Εκαέργη,
To adapt these three nymphs the better to his purpose, he characterizes each of them, making Loxo the daughter of the famous giant-killing Corineus of Cornwall, the companion of Brutus (see note, Lycidas, 156-162), Upis a famous prophetess, and Hecaerge yellow-haired. Moreover, he supposes all the three British beauties to have been stained,
after the fashion of their country, with the Caledonian woad; and, not content with this, he feigns that the tradition of their visit had been preserved in Delos, so that the Greek girls there still had songs about Upis, Hecaerge, and Loxo. Altogether, the passage is a piece of scholarship finely turned into poetry.
56-69. "At non . . . cælo fugitivus Apollo," etc. In this passage Milton recollects the Chorus in the Alcestis of Euripides, describing Apollo's music while he kept the herds of King Admetus (570 et seq.); and several of the phrases in the passage are waifs from Virgil, Ovid, and Horace. He has not, however, studied minute geographical consistency.
80-84. Siquando indigenas revocabo in carmina reges, Arturumque," etc. On the autobiographical significance of this passage, as the first announcement of Milton's intention to write a poem on the subject of Arthur and the British Legends, see Introd. to Par. Lost, II. 16. Compare also Epitaph. Dam. 162-171.—Todd quotes the phrase "sociæque ad fœdera mensæ" from Statius, Theb. VIII. 240.
85-93. Tandem, ubi," etc. A beautiful passage,
written perhaps with tears.
3. "Himerides Nymphæ," etc. The Himerides Nympha are the nymphs of the Sicilian river Himera, mentioned more than once by Theocritus. There were, in reality, two rivers of this name in Sicily, one flowing to the south coast, and the other to the north. The northern Himera, which had the city of Himera at its mouth, is supposed to be the river of Theocritus. Milton's intention, however, is simply to invoke the Sicilian muses generally, the muses of Pastoral Poetry proper.
4. Thyrsis." Milton, in lamenting Diodati under the name of Damon, represents himself as Damon's surviving fellow-shepherd Thyrsis. The name is that of the chief speaker in the first Idyll of Theocritus; and thence it descended as a standing name in subsequent Pastoral poetry. Virgil has it for one of the speakers in his Seventh Eclogue; the English Pastoralists had not forgotten it; and Milton had already used it in his Comus as the name of the Guardian
Spirit in his guise of a shepherd. In that character it had been worn by the musician Henry Lawes, the performer in the part, who indeed claimed a kind of property in it by consequence (see Lawes's Dedication of the original edition of Comus, 1. 166); but Milton now reclaims it for himself.
7. "Damona." Virgil has a Damon as one of the speakers in his Eighth Eclogue.
9-11. "Et jam bis," etc. This passage, though poetically expressed, gives the date of Diodati's death very exactly. It was in August 1638. See Introd.
12, 13. "Nec dum aderat Thyrsis," etc., i.e. Diodati's death in England had happened while Milton was at Florence, on the first of his two visits to that city.
18. "Ite domum impasti; domino jam non vacat, agni." This line is the burden, or recurring line, of the poem, beginning every paragraph after this point, and repeated in all seventeen times. The exquisite device of such a burden, or recurring line, breaking a long pastoral monologue into musical parts, is found in the Idylls of Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, and also in Virgil's Eclogues.
27. "nisi me lupus antè videbit." For this superstition compare Virgil, Ecl. IX. 54.
32. "Pales," the Roman god, or goddess, of sheepfolds; "Faunus" (see note, Ad Sals. 27), the Roman god of fields and cattle. In this whole passage (29-32) there is a recollection of Virgil, Ecl. v. 76-80.
46. "Mordaces curas." From Horace. See L'Allegro, 135, and note there.
56. "Cecropiosque sales referet, cultosque lepores?” Cecropios (from Cecrops, the mythical founder of the Athenian state) may be translated "Attic." In “ "Cecropios sales" there is a recollection of the phrase "Attic salt," as a name for genuine wit; and in the whole line there is an allusion to Diodati's sprightly humour.
69, 70. "Tityrus Ægon Amyntas." These fancy-names are all from the classic Pastoral. Milton may, or may not, have had real persons in view under these designations.
75. "Mopsus." Another name from the classic Pastorai. In Virgil's Ecl. v. Mopsus is one of the speakers.
79, 80. "Saturni grave sæpe fuit pastoribus astrum,” etc. See note, Il Pens. 43.
88, 89. Hyas, Dryopeque, et filia Baucidis Ægle," etc. These female names are from the classic mythology, and are here turned to pastoral use.
90. "Venit Idumanii Chloris vicina fluenti." If any one of the four shepherdesses mentioned was a real person of Milton's acquaintance, this Chloris might be she; for, as Warton explained, the Idumanium fluentum, from which she is said to have come, is the river Chelmer in Essex, near its influx into Blackwater Bay, called by Ptolemy Portus Idumanius.
115-117. "Ecquid erat tanti Romam vidisse sepultam," etc. A reference to Virgil's First Eclogue, where the shepherd Tityrus tells the shepherd Melibous of his visit to Rome and his first impressions of that great city. Milton all but borrows a line of the Eclogue.
126. "Pastores Thusci": the wits and literary men of Florence, among whom he had spent two months (Aug. and Sept.) in 1638, and again two months (March and April) in 1639.
127, 128. "Thuscus tu quoque Damon, antiquâ genus unde petis Lucumonis ab urbe." For Diodati's genealogy see Introd. to Elegia Prima. By "antiquâ Lucumonis urbe" is meant Lucca.
132. "Et potui Lycida certantem audire Menalcam !" An allusion, in pastoral terms, to the discussions and trials of literary skill he had heard in the Florentine academies. Though Milton had two years before appropriated Lycidas immortally to Edward King of Cambridge, he does not hesitate to re-apply the name casually here.
133, 134. Ipse etiam tentare ausus sum," etc., i.e. Milton had himself in Florence partaken in the literary discussions of the Academies, and been complimented by his Florentine friends on his poetical and other abilities. As it does not appear that any of his Florentine friends knew English, what he did produce among them must have been in Latin or Italian. Of his poetical productions during his stay in Italy, there remain to us now the three little pieces Ad Leonoram, the poem Ad Salsillum, the poem Mansus, and the five Italian Sonnets and Canzone.
136-138. Quin et nostra . . . et Datis et Francinus Lydorum sanguinis ambo." Milton here, after having referred to his Florentine friends generally as "pastores