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cannot be defended any more than Dante, who calls God Jupiter.
« O sommo Giove Que fosti ’n terra per noi crucifisso.” Purgat. c. 6. 1. 118. Gross and absurd as this may seem to us, Pulci thought it was worth borrowing:
“ O giusto, O santo, O eterno Monarca,
O sommo Giove per noi crucifisso.” Morg. Mag. c. 2. 1. 1. The lines above cited contain a combination of several of Milton's favorite phrases. We have 6 universal nature," Lye. 60. “While the jolly hours lead on propitious May," Son. 1. 66 Eternal summer.” Com. 988.
There is, however, a difficulty in the passage. All the verbs exeept led are in the present tense. Should we not therefore in order to preserve the action unbroken and to save the concord of the sentence, read, as in sonnet i. “ Leads on," &c. XIV.“ So hand in hand they passed, the loveliest pair
That ever since in love's embraces met,
His the fairest of her daughters Eve." B. 4. l. 324. This passage has always been the crux criticorum. Addison, and Bentley, and Campbell, have successively decided that it is indefensible, and contains a contradiction in terms. It is very certain, however, that it is a form of expression, which was not unknown to the Greeks and Romans, and was in fact used by them, when they intended to make a very bold comparison. Milton is said* to have discovered the art of expressing one degree higher than the superlative, and the lines now before us show that he could also express a second comparative, or a degree more strong than the usual comparative, yet lower than the superlative. The last, however, was not original in him. Two instances occur in Virgil:
“ Ipse ante alios pulcherrimus omnes
Infert se socium Æneas, atque agmina jungit.” 4 Æ. 141. The other is an application of the same phrase to Tur
* Prof. Adams, Lect. 24.
nus, 4. Æ. 54.
In Cicero this singular expression is still more strongly marked. 66 Hoc tu scriptore, hoc consiliario, hoc ministro, omnium non bipedum solům sed etiam quadrupedum impurissimo, rempublicam perdidisti.” Pro Domo 18. The most striking and decisive instance, however, is in the LXX version of the 2 Maccabees, 7 chap. 1. 41. Εσχατη των νιων η μητης ετελευτησε»
66 The mother died the last of her sons." In king James' translation it is rendered, “last of all, after the sons, the mother died.” There can be no doubt, after these citations, that the form of expression may be supported by sufficient authorities; but it is another question, whether the example of Milton should be suffered to acquire the force of a rule. In most instances it should, but as he stands alone in this bold imitation of antiquity, and as it is determined by general consent that he has offended against the English idi, om, it will be more safe to understand and defend, than to ad, mire or follow him.
“ All but the wakeful nightingale; She all night long, her amorous descant sung." B. 4. 1. 603. He probably remembered a passage from one of Petrarch's pieces in honor of the Colonna family.
“ E 'l rosignuol, que dolcemente all'ombra
Tutte le notti si lamenta, e piange,
XVI. “ Here Love his golden shafts employs." B. 4. 1. 763.
“ Fugat hoc, facit illud amorem;
Met. Lib. i. l. 471.
“No veil She needed, virtue-proof." B. v. 1. 384 By analogy this should mean impenetrable by virtue, for that is the power of proof, when used in composition with a substantive, as in the common phrases,“ bullet-proof,” “ fire
proof,” &c. Milton has applied it in one other ease, but there he conforms to the custom.
“ Under the shady roof
Of branching elm, star-proof." Arcad. 2d. song. It is not easy to conjecture the precise meaning of the first passage.
XVIII. “ Whatever earth, all bearing mother, yields." B. 5. I. 388.
The same epithet occurs in his fifth Elegy, where, in describing Tellus, he says:
“ Quid enim formosius illis Pandit ut omniferos luxuriosa sinus.” 1. 58. XIX. Remorse occurs six times in Paradise Lost, and in five of them it undoubtedly has the old and forgotten but exquisite meaning of sympathy, or tender regret. Thus when Raphael asks:
6. How shall I relate
-without remorse The ruin of so many, glorious once, &c.” B. 5. 1. 564. And when Michael is commanded to execute the sentence on
“ Haste thee, and from the Paradise of God,
Without remorse, drive out the sinful pair.” B. 11. 1. 105. The other instances are in B. 1. l. 605-B. 4. 1. 109—and B.5. 1. 134. Its signification is doubtful or different only in B. 10. 1. 1098. Shakspeare always uses it as Milton does. Thus Buckingham says to Gloucester in the course of the solemn farce practised on the Mayor, &c. *
“ Well we know your tenderness of heart
And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse.” Rich. 3. Act. 3. sc. 7. In Othello, act 3, sc. 3, it is made to express a generous motive for crime.
XX. “ They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet,
Quaff immortality and joy." B. 5. 1. 632.
“ Ætherios haurit latices et gaudia potat
Ore sacro." Epit: Damon. 1. 206. XXI. Abdiel, repeating the argument of Satan in order to refute it says:
“ Unjust, thou say'st,
One over all with unsucceeded power." B. 5. I. 821. Satan, as the ground of his argument, declares, that archy" has been “ assumed” over those who'were 6 ordained to govern, not to serve," and that they ought not to acknowl. edge an authority which they had not granted. If, therefore, Abdiel reports Satan fairly, we should perhaps read,
“ One over all with unconceded power." XXII. The armies of God having commenced their march against the rebellious angels proceeded long without opposi. tion until
• At last,
In battailous aspect," &c. B. 6. 1. 81.
powers of satan hasting on With furious expedition.” In fact, the two words region and powers are in strict ap. position.. Should we not, then, substitute legion?
XXIII. " And thus his own undaunted heart explores." B. 6. 1. 113.
This line is succeeded by the vehement invective of Abdi. el. It is without meaning, unless we make it synonymous with exhibit, for which we have the authority of Stephanus, Explorare antiqui pro exhibere usi sunt. XXIV. “ They shall fear we have disarm'd
The thunderer of his only dreaded bolt.” B. 6. 1. 490. He had before applied this singular idea to the inventor of bombs.
“Qui lurida creditur arma
" Whence Adam soon repealed
It is hard to believe that a phrase so inelegant, as “ to repeal a doubt,” should be charged to Milton. Repelled is the easiest change, and seems probable, for in the same book we have “ repelled their counsels," I. 310, and in B. 8. 1. 642, “repel temptation." XXVI.
The Thracian bard
So in his lines Ad Patrem, but somewhat quaintly from the force of 66 addidit."
“ Sylvestres decet iste choros, non Orphea cantus,
Qui tenuit fluvios et quercubus addidit aures.” 1. 53. XXVII.“ Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye powers of heaven.” B. l. 162.
A Latinism. Habitare laxè et magnificè voluit, duasque magnas et nobiles domos conjungere. Cic. pro Dom. 44. XXVIII.
« Earth in her rich attire Consummate lovely smiled.” B. 7.1. 502. As it now stands consummate is used adverbially, and qualifies lovely. If a pause be placed between them, so as to attract consummate to earth, the passage will have a more poetical meaning.
XXIX. “ Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid.” B. 8. L 167.
Solicit is here synonymous with disturb or disquiet. As in Virg. £. 7. 1. 80, we have Rex solicitus monstris, the king anxious on account of the prodigies; and in Horace Lib. 3. Od. 1. 1. 26, solicitat mare, disturbs the sea. Dryden in imitation of Milton says:
“ And anxious fears solicit my weak breast." XXX.
« Or cold Climate or years damp my intended wing.” B. 9. 1. 44. This is one of Milton's cherished prejudices. He complained of the climate of his country when he was in Italy in