Sivut kuvina

Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.

The fun was funk, and after him the star Of Hesperus, whose office is to bring Twilight upon the earth, short arbiter


'Twixt 50. foort arbiter

find an abridgement of the whole Twixt day and night,] This ex- story as collected out of the ancient pression was probably borrow'd from historians, and as it was received the beginning of Sir Philip Sidney's among the Romans, in Dionysius Arcadia, where speaking of the fun Halicarnasseus. Since none of the about the time of the equinox, he critics have consider'd Virgil's fable, calls him an indifferent arbiter be- with relation to this history of Æneas'; tween the night and the day. it may not perhaps be amiss to exa

53. When Satan who late fled &c.] min it in this light, so far as regards If we look into the three great my present purpose. Whoever looks heroic poems which have appeared into the abridgement above menin the world, we may observe that tion'd, will find that the character they are built upon very slight foun- of Æneas is filled with piety to the dations. Homer lived near 300 years Gods, and a superstitious observation after the Trojan war; and, as the of prodigies, oracles and predictions, writing of history was not then in Virgil has not only preserved this use among the Greeks, we may very character in the person of Æneas, well fuppofe, that the tradition of but has given a place in his poem to Achilles and Ulysses had brought those particular prophecies, which down but very few particulars to his he found recorded of him in history knowledge; tho' there is no question and tradition. The poet took the but he has wrought into his two matters of fact as they came down poems such of their remarkable ad- to him, and circumitanced them ventures,

as were still talked of after his own manner, to make them among his contemporaries. The story appear the more natural, agreeable of Æneas, on which Virgil founded or surprising. I believe very many his poem, was likewise very bare of readers have been shocked at that circumstances, and by that means ludicrous prophecy which one of the afforded him an opportunity of em- Harpyies pronounces to the Trojans bellishing it with fi&tion, and giving in the third book, namely, that bea full range to his own invention. fore they had built their intended We find however that he has inter- city, they should be reduced by hunwoven in the course of his fable ger to eat their very tables. But the principal particulars which were when they hear that this was one generally believed among the Row of the circumstances that had been mans of Æneas's voyage and settle- transmitted to the Romans in the ment in Italy. The reader may history of Aneas, they will think


'Twixt day and night, and now from end to end
Night's hemisphere had veil'd th' horizon round:
When Satan who late fled before the threats
OF Gabriel out of Eden, now improv'd

In the poet did very well in taking whole Æneid, and has given offense notice of it. The historian above to several critics, may be accounted mention'd acquaints us, a prophetefs for the same way. Virgil himself, had foretold Æneas, that he thould before he begins that relation, pretake his voyage westward, till his mises, that what he was going to companions should cat their tables; tell appeared incredible, but that it and that accordingly, upon his land. was justified by tradition. What ing in Italy, as they were eating farther confirms me that this change their flesh upon cakes of bread, for of the fleet was a celebrated circumwant of other conveniencies, they stance in the history of Æneas is, afterwards fed on the cakes them that Ovid has given a place to the selves; upon which one of the com- fame metamorphosis in his account pany said merrily, We are eating our of the Heathen mythology. None tables. They immediately took the of the critics I have met with hint, says the historian, and concluded having considered the fable of the the prophecy to be fulfill'd. As Æneid in this light, and taken noVirgil did not think it proper to tice how the tradition, on which it omit so material a particular in the was founded, authorizes those parts history of Æneas, it may be worth in it which appear most exceptionawhile to confider with how much ble; I hope the length of this rejudgment he has qualified it, and flection will not make it unacceptable takes off every thing that might to the curious part of my readers. have appeared improper for a pas- The history, which was the bafis of fage in an heroic poem. The pro- Milton's poem, is still shorter than phetess who foretells it is an hungry either that of the Iliad or Æneid. Harpy, as the person who discovers The poet has likewise taken care to it is young Ascanius :

insert every circumstance of it in Heus etiam menfas consumimus, in the body of his fable. The ninth

book, which we are here to consider, quit lülus.

is raised upon that brief account in Such an observation, which is beau. Scripture, wherein we are told that tiful in the mouth of a boy, would the Serpent was more fubtle than have been ridiculous from any other any beast of the field, that he tempted of the company. I am apt to think the woman to eat of the forbidden that the changing of the Trojan fruit, that she was overcome by this fleet into water-nymphs, which is temptation, and that Adam followed zhe most violent machine in the her example. From these few par

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In meditated fraud and malice, bent

55 On Man's destruction, maugre what might hap Of heavier on himself, fearless return'd. By night he fled, and at midnight return'd From compassing the earth, cautious of day, Since Uriel regent of the sun descry'd

60 His entrance, and forewarn’d the Cherubim That kept their watch; thence full of anguish driven, The space of fev’n continued nights he rode With darkness, thrice the equinoctial line

He ticulars, Milton has formed one of nature of every creature, and found the most entertaining fables that in- out one which was the most proper vention ever produced. He has dif- for his purpose, he again returns to posed of these several circumstances Paradise ; and to avoid discovery, among so many beautiful and natu- finks by night with a river that ran ral fičtions of his own, that his under the garden, and rises up again whole story looks only like a com- through a fountain that issued from ment upon facred Writ, or rather it by the tree of life. The poet, seems to be a full and complete re- who, as we have before taken notice, lation of what the other is only an speaks as little as poflible in his own epitome. I have infifted the longer person, and after the example of on this consideration, as I look upon Homer fills every part of his work the disposition and contrivance of with manners and characters, introthe fable to be the principal beauty duces a soliloquy of this infernal of the ninth book, which has more agent, who was thus restless in the story in it, and is fuller of incidents, destruction of Man. He is then than any other in the whole poem. described as gliding through the Satan's traversing the globe, and still garden, under the resemblance of a keeping within the thadow of the mist, in order to find out that creanight, as fearing to be discover'd by ture in which he design'd to tempt the Angel of the fun, who had be- our first parents. This description has fore detected him, is one of those something in it very poetical and beautiful imaginations, with which surprising. Addison. he introduces this his second series of 63. The space of feu'n continued adventures. Having examin’d the nights he rode

He circled, four times cross’d the car of night

65 From pole to pole, traversing each colúre ; On th' eighth return'd, and on the coast averse From entrance or Cherubic watch, by stealth Found unsuspected way. There was a place, Now not, though fin, not time, first wrought the change,

79 Where Tigris at the foot of Paradise Into a gulf shot under ground, till part Rose up a fountain by the tree of life;


With darkness, &c.] It was about each other at right angles in the noon that Satan came to the earth, poles of the world, and incompasand having been discover'd by Uriel, fing the earth from north to south, he was driven out of Paradise the and from south to north again : and fame night, as we read in book the therefore as Satan was moving from fourth. From that time he was a pole to pole, at the same time the whole week in continual darkness car of night was moving from east for fear of another discovery. Thrice to welt, if he would keep fill in the equino&ial line he circled; he tra- the shade of night as he desir’d, he veld on with the night three times could not move in a strait line, but round the equator; he was three must move obliquely, and thereby days moving round from east to west cross the two colures. We have exas the sun does, but always on the press'd ourselves as plainly as we opposit side of the globe in dark- can for the sake of those readers, ness. Four times cross'd the car of who are not acquainted with these right from pole to pole; did not move astronomical terms; and the fact in directly on with the night as before, short is that Satan was three days but crossed over from the northern to compassing the earth from east to, the southern, and from the southern west, and four days from north to to the northern pole. Traverfing eacle south, but still kept always in the colure. As the equinoctial line or fhade of night, and after a whole equator is a great circle incompasing. week’s peregrination in this manner the earth from east to west and from on the eighth night return'd by weft to east again; so the colures stealth into Paradise. are two great circles, intersecting

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75. - in

In with the river sunk, and with it rose
Satan involv'd in rising mist, then fought 75
Where to lie hid; sea he had search’d and land
From Eden over Pontus, and the pool
Mæotis, up beyond the river Ob;
Downward as far antarctic; and in length
West from Orontes to the ocean barr'd

At Darien, thence to the land where flows
Ganges and Indus: thus the orb he roam'd
With narrow search, and with inspection deep
Consider'd every creature, which of all
Most opportune might serve his wiles, and found 85
The serpent subtlest beast of all the field.



involv’d in rising mist,] north is called up and the south Hom. Iliad. I. 359.

downward; antaretic fouth the conare duconoms ár, nüt'oligam. the bear, the most conspicuous con

trary to arEtic north from apulc 77. From Eden over Pontus, &c.] stellation near the north pole ; but As we had before an astronomical, no particular place is mention'd near so here we have a geographical, ac- the south pole, there being all sea count of Satan's peregrinations. He or land unknown. And in length, fearch'd both sea and land, north- as north is up and south is down, ward from Eden over Pontus, Pontus so in length is eat or welt; west Euxinus, the Euxine Sea, now the from Orontes, a river of Syria, wettBlack Sea, above Conftantinople, ward of Eden, running into the and the pool Mæotis, Palus Mæotis Mediterranean, to the ocean barr'd above the Black Sea, up beyond the at Darien, the isthmus of Darien in river Ob, Ob or Oby a great river the West Indies, a neck of land that of Muscovy near the northern pole, joins North and South America toDownward as far antarEtic, as far gether, and hinders the ocean as it southward; the northern hemisphere were with a bar from Aowing be. being elevated on our globes, the tween them; and the metaphor of

t be

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