« AnteriorContinuar »
Collected stood within our thoughts amus’d,
586. -deep throated engines] the air 8c. The cannon I thiok So Shakespeare in Othello, act cannot themselves be properly iii.
said to be imbowelled with noise, And oh, you mortal engines, whose though they might imbowel with rude throats
noise the air. I would therefore Tho immortal Jove's dread clamours endeavour to justify this by other counterfeit.
similar passages. It is usual 586. -whose roar
with the poets to put the proImbowelld with outrageous noise perty of a thing for the thing the air,
itself: and as in that verse, ii. And all her entrails tore,] 654. (where see the note,) The construction seems to be,
A cry of hell hounds never ceasing The roar of which (engines) im
bark'd, bowelled with outrageous noise tore we have a cry of hell hounds for the air and all her entrails. So the hell hounds themselves, so in ver. 740, 741.
here we have the roar of the That from thy just obedience could cannon for the cannon themrevolt,
selves; and the roar of cannon Whom to obey &c.
may as properly be said to imThy for of thee ; and to this sense
bowel the air with outrageous the word whom refers. This noise, as a cry of hell hounds to is common in Milton's poem.
586. But to imbowel is not to The most natural and obvious fill, but to eviscerate, to deprire of construction is, whose rour im- the entrails; as in Shakespeare, bowelled or filled the air with out. K. Heory IV. part v. act i. sc. 9. rageous noise; but to this it is Imbowell'd will I see thee by and objected, that it is as much as
bye, &c. to say that the roar filled the air The sense of the passage therewith
Neither do I see fore seems to be, the roar of the how the matter is much mended cannon in consequence of the by saying, that the roar of the outrageous noise imbowelled the cannon inbowelled with roar tore air, &c. E.
Of iron globes ; which on the victor host
O friends, why come not on these victors proud ?
599. -serried files.] The Italian word serrato, close, compact. Thyer.
We should compel them to a quick result.
To whom thus Belial in like gamesome mood. Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight, Of hard contents, and full of force urg'd home, Such as we might perceive amus'd them all, And stumbled many; who receives them right, Had need from head to foot well understand; 625 Not understood, this gift they have besides, They show us when our foes walk not upright.
So they among themselves in pleasant vein Stood scoffing, highten'd in their thoughts beyond All doubt of victory ; eternal might
630 To match with their inventions they presum'd So easy', and of his thunder made a scorn, And all his host derided, while they stood A while in trouble: but they stood not long; Rage prompted them at length, and found them arms Against such hellish mischief fit to oppose. 636 Forthwith (behold the excellence, the power, Which God hath in his mighty angels plac'd) Their arms away they threw, and to the hills (For earth hath this variety from heaven
640 Of pleasure situate in hill and dale) Light as the lightning glimpse they ran, they flew; From their foundations loos’ning to and fro
620. To whom thus Belial] ner, rather than Beelzebub, or Whoever remembers the charac- Moloch, or any of the evil an. ter of Belial in the first and gels. second books, and Mr. Addison's 635. Rage-found them arms] remarks upon it, will easily see Furor arma ministrat. the propriety of making Belial
Virg. Æn. i. 150. reply to Satan upon this occa- 643. From their foundations sion and in this sportive man- &c.] There is nothing in the
They pluck'd the seated hills with all their load,
first and last day's engagement upon this very tradition of a which does not appear natural, fight between the good and the and agreeable enough to the bad angels. It may perhaps be ideas most readers would con- worth while to consider, with ceive of a fight between two what judgment Milton in this armies of angels. The second narration has avoided every thing day's engagement is apt that is mean and trivial in the startle an imagination which has descriptions of the Latin and not been raised and qualified for Greek poets; and at the same such a description, by the read- time improved every great hint ing of the ancient poets, and of which he met with in their Homer in particular. It was works upon this subject. Homer certainly a very bold thought in in that passage, which Longinus our author, to ascribe the first has celebrated for its sublime. use of artillery to the rebel an- ness, and which Virgil and Ovid gels. But as such a pernicious have copied after him, tells ue, invention
be well supposed that the giants threw Ossa upon to have proceeded from such Olympus, and Pelion upon Ossa. authors, so it entered very pro- He adds an epithet to Pelion perly into the thoughts of that (uvort Quador) which very much
(εινοσιφυλλων) being, who is all along described swells the idea, by bringing up as aspiring to the majesty of his to the reader's imagination all Maker. Such engines were the the woods that grew upon it. only instruments he could have There is further a great beauty made use of to imitate those in singling out by name these thunders, that in all poetry, three remarkable mountains, so both sacred and profane, are re- well known to the Greeks. This presented as the arms of the last is such a beauty, as the scene Almighty. The tearing up the of Milton's war could not poshills was not altogether so daring sibly furnish him with. Claua thought as the former. We dian, in his fragment upon the are in some measure prepared giants' war, has given full scope for such an incident by the to that wildness of imagination description of the giants' war, which was natural to him. He which we meet with among the tells us that the giants tore up ancient poets. What still made whole islands by the roots, and the circumstance the more pro- threw them at the gods. He per for the poet's use is the describes one of them in particuopinion of many learned men, lar taking up Lemnos in his that the fable of the giants' war, arms, and whirling it to the which makes so great a noise in skies, with all Vulcan's shop in antiquity, and gave birth to the the midst of it. Another tears sublimest description in Hesiod's up mount Ida, with the river works, was an allegory founded Enipeus, which ran down the
Up-lifting bore them in their hands : Amaze,
550 They saw them whelm’d, and all their confidence sides of it; but the poet, not it would have been impossible content to describe him with to have given them a place this mountain upon his shoulders, within the bounds of this paper. tells us that the river flowed Besides that I find it in a great down his back, as he held it up measure done to my hand at the in that posture. It is visible to end of my Lord Roscommon's every judicious reader, that such Essay on translated poetry. I ideas savour more of burlesque, shall refer my reader thither for than of the sublime. They pro- some of the master-strokes in ceed from a wantonness of ima- the sixth book of Paradise Lost, gination, and rather divert the though at the same time there mind than astonish it. Milton
are many others, which that has taken every thing that is noble author has not taken nosublime in these several pas- tice of. Addison. sages, and composes out of them 643. See the extract from the following great image; Roscommon's Essay given in the From their foundations loos'ning to
note on l. 909. E. and fro
648. When coming towards They pluck'd the seated hills with them so dread they saw] Does all their load,
not this verse express the very Rocks, waters, woods, and by the
motion of the mountains, and is shaggy tops Up-lifting bore them in their hands: not there the same kind of
beauty in the numbers, that the We have the full majesty of poet recommends in his excellent Homer in this short description, Essay on Criticism? improved by the imagination of Claudian, without its puerilities.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast
weight to throw, I need not point out the descrip- The line too labours, and the words tion of the fallen angels seeing move slow. the promontories hanging over 648. There is a similar beauty their heads in such a dreadful in the following lines, manner, with the other number
They saw them whelm'd, and all less beauties in this book, which their confidence are so conspicuous, that they Under the weight of mountains cannot escape the notice of the
buried deep; most ordinary reader. There are The pause at whelmed, and the indeed so many wonderful strokes close of the next line with the of poetry in this book, and such monosyllable deep, admirably asa variety of sublime ideas, that sist the sense by the sound. E.