Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

215

220

225

So under fiery cope together rush'd
Both battles main, with ruinous assault
And inextinguishable rage ; all heaven
Resounded, and had earth been then, all earth
Had to her centre shook. What wonder? when
Millions of fierce encountring angels fought
On either side, the least of whom could wield
These elements, and arm him with the force
Of all their regions : how much more of power
Army' against army numberless to raise
Dreadful combustion warring, and disturb,
Though not destroy, their happy native seat ;
Had not th' eternal King omnipotent
From his strong hold of heav’n high over-ruld
And limited their might; though number'd such
As each divided legion might have seem'd
A numerous host, in strength each armed hand
A legion, led in fight yet leader seem'd
Each warrior single as in chief, expert
When to advance, or stand, or turn the sway
Of battle, open when, and when to close
The ridges of grim war: no thought of flight,

230

235

-κατα δ' εσκιασαν βελιεσσι

was as expert as a commander Τιτηνας, ,

in chief. So that the angels are but Milton has improved the celebrated first for their number, horror of the description, and a then for their strength, and lastly shade of darts is not near so for their expertness in war. great and dreadful an image as 236. The ridges of grim war:] a fiery cope or vault of flaming A metaphor taken from darts.

ploughed field; the men answer 229. ---though number'd such

to the ridges, between whom, &c.] Each legion was in num the intervals of the ranks, the ber like an army, each single furrows are. The ridges of grim, warrior was in strength like a fierce frightful looking, war ; legion, and though led in fight that is, the ranks of the army,

a

None of retreat, no unbecoming deed
That argued fear; each on himself relied,
As only in his arm the moment lay
Of victory : deeds of eternal fame
Were done, but infinite ; for wide was spread
That war and various, sometimes on firm ground

240

[ocr errors]

the files are implied. The ranks So stood the war, till Hector's matchare the rows of soldiers from

less might flank to flank, from side to side,

With fates prevailing turn'd the scale of fight.

Pope. from the left to the right; the files are from front to rear.

And in several particulars he Richardson.

has had his eye upon Homer, 236. —no thought of flight,] and commonly exceeds his masSo Homer, Iliad. xi. 71.

ter. Homer says that the Greeks Ουδ' έτεροι μνωοντολοοιο φοβοιο.

and Trojans fought like burning None stoop'd a thought to base in. fire: glorious flight. Pope. Ως οι μεν μαρναντο, δεμας πυρος αιθο

Iliad. xiii. 673. And Iliad. xxiv. 216.

But how much stronger is it in -ουτε φοβου μεμνημενον, ουτ' αλε

Milton, that the war ewens. 239. As only in his arm the mo

Tormented all the air; all air seem'd

then ment lay

Conflicting fire ! Of victory :) As if upon his single arm had It would be entering into too depended the whole weight of minute a detail of criticism to the victory. The moment, the mention every little circumstance weight that turns the balance, that is copied from Homer; and as the word signifies in Latin, where he does not directly copy Ter. Andr. i. V. 31. Dum in from Homer, his style and dubio est animus, paulo momento colouring is still very much in huc vel illuc impellitur: and as

Homer's manner; and one may he has employed here the me

see plainly that he has read him, taphor of the weight, so of the

even where he does not imitate scale a little afterwards—long

him. Wonderful as his genius time in even scale the battle hung was, he could hardly have drawn --using as a metaphor what the battles of the angels so well Homer makes a simile of, Iliad. without first reading those in xii. 433.

the Iliad ; and Homer taught

him to excel Homer. Αλλ' ' Xor, ώστε σαλαντα γυνή

242. That war and various, “Ως μεν των εσι ισα μαχη τιτατο στο: λεμος τι.

sometimes on firm ground As wben two scales are charg'd with

A standing fight, then soaring doubtful loads

&c.]

245

A standing fight, then soaring on main wing
Tormented all the air ; all air seem'd then
Conflicting fire: long time in even scale
The battle hung ; till Satan, who that day
Prodigious pow'r had shown, and met in arms
No equal, ranging through the dire attack
Of fighting seraphim confus'd, at length
Saw where the sword of Michael smote, and felld 250
Squadrons at once ; with huge two-handed sway
Brandish'd aloft the horrid edge came down
Wide wasting ; such destruction to withstand
He hasted, and oppos’d the rocky orb
Of tenfold adamant, his ample shield,

255

suppose the

The syntax and sense is; The by Abdiel in the beginning of war was sometimes a standing the action : but I fight on the ground, and some- poet did not consider Abdiel as times the war soaring on main equal to Satan, though he gained wing tormented all the air. that accidental advantage over Pearce.

him. Satan no doubt would 244. Tormented all the air ;] have proved an overmatch for Here Milton takes the same Abdiel, only for the general enliberty of applying the word gagement which ensued, and torment, which the Latin poets broke off the combat between did before him in using the term them. verare. So Marino describing 251. -with huge two-handed Neptune raising a storm, Adon. sway &c.] It shows how entirely cant. i. st. 123.

the ideas of chivalry and romance - d'Aquiloni

had possessed him, to make MiCol fulmine deniato (emulo a Gioue) chael fight with a two-handed Tormentando la terra, il mar com. sword. The same idea occa

sioned his expressing himself Thyer.

very obscurely in the following So Spenser in the Morning Muse lives of his Lycidas, v. 130. of Thestylis, speaking of Æolus,

But that two-handed engine at the Who letting loose the winds

door Tost and tormented th' air.

Stands ready to smite once, , and

smite no more. 247. -and met in arms

Warburton. No equal,] The poet seems almost to have 255. Of tenfold adamant,] In forgotten how Satan was foiled other poets the angels are armed

moue.

A vast circumference: At his approach
The great archangel from his warlike toil
Surceas’d, and glad as hoping here to end
Intestine war in heav'n, th’arch-foe subdued
Or captive dragg’d in chains, with hostile frown 260
And visage all inflam'd first thus began.

Author of ev'il, unknown till thy revolt,
Unnam'd in heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
These acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
Though heaviest by just measure on thyself 265
And thy adherents : how hast thou disturb'd
Heav'n's blessed peace, and into nature brought
Misery, uncreated till the crime
Of thy rebellion ? how hast thou instill’d
Thy malice into thousands, once upright

270 And faithful, now prov'd false? But think not here To trouble holy rest; heav'n casts thee out From all her confines. Heav'n the seat of bliss Brooks not the works of violence and war, Hence then, and evil go with thee along,

275

in adamant, and in Tasso there and more engages the reader's is particular mention of an ada attention. mantine shield, cant. vii. st. 82. 275. Hence then, and evil go Scudo di lucidissimo diam ite.

with thee along, 262. Author of evil, &c.] Thy offspring, to the place of These speeches give breath as it eril, hell, were to the reader after the Thou and thy wicked crew ; hurry of the general battle ; and there mingle broils,] prepare his mind, and raise his Imitated from Tasso, where Miexpectation the more for the chael in like manner rebukes ensuing combat between Min the infernal spirits who fought chael and Satan. It is the prac- against the Christians, cant. ix. tice likewise of Homer and st. 64. Virgil, to make their heroes

Itene maledetti al vostro regno, discourse before they fight; it

Regno di pene, e di perpetua morte : renciers the action more solemn,

E sinno in quegli a voi dovuti chiostri

280

285

Thy offspring, to the place of evil, hell,
Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broils,
Ere this avenging sword begin thy doom,
Or some more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
Precipitate thee with augmented pain.

So spake the prince of angels ; to whom thus
The Adversary. Nor think thou with wind
Of aery threats to awe whom yet with deeds
Thou canst not. Hast thou turn'd the least of these
To flight, or if to fall, but that they rise
Unvanquish’d, easier to transact with me
That thou should'st hope, imperious, and with threats
To chase me hence ? err not that so shall end
The strife which thou call'st evil, but we style
The strife of glory ; which we mean to win, 290
Or turn this heav'n itself into the hell
Thou fablest, here however to dwell free,
If not to reign : mean while thy utmost force,
And join him nam’d Almighty to thy aid,
I fly not, but have sought thee far and nigh. 295

They ended parle, and both address'd for fight

Le vostre guerre, et i trionsi vostri. 282. —Nor think thou &c.] Go hence you curst to your appointed Hom. Il. xx. 200.

lands, The realms of death, of torments, Πηλείδη, μηδη μ' εσιισσι γε, νησυτιον ώς, and of woes,

Ελπιο δειδιξεσθαι. And in the deeps of that infernal lake

296. They ended parle) Thus Your battles fight, and there your in Par. Reg. iv. 529. By parle &c. triumphs make.

Fairfax. And Shakespeare, Hamlet, a. i. 282. The Adversary.] Not as s. 1. any enemy in fight may

So frown'd he once, when in an called, but in a sense peculiar to

angry parl him, Satan being his name, and

He smote the sledded Polacks on Satan in Hebrew signifying the the ice. adversary.

Dunster. VOL. I.

CC

be

« AnteriorContinua »