Page images
PDF
EPUB

“Orphea-
Arte materna, rapidos morantem
Fluminum lapsus.'

Hor. lib. 1. Od. 12.0. 8.
I hate when vice can bolt her arguments.

V. 760. Bolting meal at the mill is, I believe, a modern invention; and bolting would not so often have been alluded to by our ancient writers, if that process had been only carried on in the mill; but, a century ago, almost every family had a bolting-hutch, the use of which was consequently familiar to the poets of those times. Modern refinement hath obscured many allusions in our old authors, by consigning spinning; weaving, dying, and other formerly domestic employments, to different trades.

She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow.

Odes. Hymn on the Nativity, v. 39. Hath not this Cowleyan conceit an impropriety in bringing snow so far south as Bethlehem, nearly in latitude thirty-one?

The winds with wonder whist
Smoothly the waters kist, ,
Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.

V. 64.
" Perque dies placidos hiberno tempore septem
Incubat Halcyone pendentibus æquore nidis.
Tum via tuta maris; ventos custodit, et arcet
Æolus egressu."

Ovid. Met: lib. 11. v. 745.
Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek,
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp,
When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King Edward Greek.

SONNET 11. v. 12.
“ In Cambridge also, in S. Jolins Colledge, in my time, I
doe know, that not so much the good statutes; as two jen-
tlemen of worthy memory, Syr John Cheke and Doctour
Redman, by their onely example of excellencie, in learning,
of godliness in lyving, of diligence in studying; of counseli
in exhorting by good order in all thing, did brede up, so

1

many learned men, in that one college of S. Johns, àt orie tyme as I beleeve, the universitie of Louaine, in many yeares was never able to affourd.” Ascham's Scholemuster, 1st booke, 1576.

1786, March.

LXXXIX. Critical Remarks on Milton.

MR. URBAN, If the following remarks on Milton are worth insertion, they are much at your service.

CTVO

Mr. Warton, in his entertaining and masterly remarks on Spenser, very properly takes occasion to censure an expression in Milton, in the following words: “ Milton, perhaps, is more blameable for a fault of this kind.

Now had they brought the work, by wondrous art
Pontifical.

10 B. P. Lost. As the ambiguous term pontifical may be so easily construed into a pun, and may be interpreted popish as well as bridge-making, besides the quaintness of the expression." To this remark of Mr. Warton let me add the following epigram from the Poems of Sannazarius:

« De Jucundo Architecto.
Jucundus geminos fecit tibi Sequana pontes,

Jure tuum hunc potes dicere pontificem." Milton's idea of Sin and Death's creeping from the mouth of Error is generally supposed to be copied from Spenser, 1 C. 1 B. 16. It might have had its origin from P. Fletcher, of whom Milton was equally a borrower.

a borrower. See P. Island, 12 Cant. 27.

“ The first that crept from his detested maw

Was Hamartia, &c. &c." There is a passage of great sublimity in Milton's Vacation exercise.

The deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at heaven's door
Look in.

Molinæus, Milton's old antagonist, has an idea somewhat similar. See his Pacis cælestis Anticipatio.

" Quo tendis anime? Tene dum carnis scapha
Vectus laboras in procelloso mari,
Penetrare cælos, et fores celsissima

Serenitatis pulsitare fas putas ?
The following, amongst Milton's many obligations to
Ariosto, seems to have been unnoticed:

As when to them who sail
Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past
Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow
Sabæan odours from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest; with such delay
Well pleas'd they stack their course, and many a league,
Cheard with the grateful smell, old Ocean smiles.

Par. Last, book it,
“ Dal mar sei miglia, o sette, a poco a poco
Si va salendo in verso il colle ameno.
Mirti, e cedri, e naranci, e lauri il loco,
E mille altri soavi arbori han pieno.
Serpillo, e persa, e rose, e gigli, e croco
Spargon dall' odorifero terreno
Tanta soavita ch' in mar sentire
La fa ogni vento, che da terra spire."

Cant. xviii. 138.
I hate when vice can bolt her arguments.

Comus, 760. Of this plain, and seemingly intelligible passage, I have heard it observed (and I believe Mr. T. Warton has sheltered the opinion under his authority) that the word bolt here is an expression taken from the boulting mill, and means, to sift, to clear. But surely this cannot be the meaning Milton intended it to convey. The word here seems simply to convey the idea of darting, and is a borrowed term from archery. It is thus ļiterally used by B. Johnson-in his “Vol

!

pone:"

" But angry Cupid bolting from his eyes
Hath shot himself into me.'

Act ii, scene 4.
In Shakspeare it is thus metaphorically used in Milton's

sense, where Imogen awakes and finds herself near the dead body of Cloten:

“ I hope I dream,
For so I thought I was a cave-keeper,
And cook to honest creatures; but 'tis not so,
'Twas but a bolt of nothing, shot at nothing,
Which the brain makes of fumes."

Cymb.
See likewise Marston's “What you will,” 1607:

“ Ignorance should shoot Her gross-knobbed bird bolt.This last passage I found in a quotation, and am unable therefore to determine whether the meaning is literal or metaphorical.

It is hoped the following passages, which are intended to illustrate my meaning still further, will not be deemed un necessary. “ Orator quoque maximus et jaculator."

Juv. Sat. vii. 193. Jaculator here must mean arguer.

" Aut curtum sermone rotato Torqueat enthymema."

Juv. SAT. vi. 449, ** Quis color, et quod sit causæ genus, atque ubi summa Quæstio, quæ veniant diversa parte sagitta.

JUV. SAT. vii. 155.
I shall take this opportunity of adding the following pas-
sage to the observations I hazarded in your Magazine for
April

“ Leaving thy heir so bare and indigent,
He cannot raise thee a poor monument,
Such as a flatterer or an usurer hath,
Thy worth in ev'ry honest breast builds one,

Making their friendly hearts thy funeral stone." Chatterton, in the second part of his “Battle of Hastings,". seems to have had in his eye the passage I before quoted from Pope:

“ Fresh-blooming Hope, gay daughter of the sky,
And Faith our early immortality.

POPE.

6 et

" Oh, Truth, immortal daughter of the skies.

CHATTERTON. Where the great vision of the guarded mount, &c. &c.

Lycidas, 161. Mr. T. Warton has most happily, and most poetically, explained this passage. It seems to have been called the mount by way of eminence. See Daniel's Panegyrick on the King's Majesty, 19 stan.

« Could'st thou but see from Dover to the mount,
From Totness to the Orcades;-"
Their lean and flashy songs.

Lycid. 123. Flashy is here used in a bad sense, as indeed it always is in English. The word vibrans in Latin is used in a good sense when applied to composition. See Cicero de Oratore, erat oratio cum incitata et vibrans tum etiam accurata et poļita,” speaking of Hortensius; With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown.

Lycid. 40. This epithet of gadding is singularly expressive. He has an expression equally happy in Comus, see 550, "flaunting honey-suckle." This Thomson has adopted, and applies to the woodbine:

nor in the bower Where woodbines flaunt,Spring, 076. Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep. Closd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas? 50. This idea, which is taken originally from Theocritus, and has been repeatedly remarked, is likewise in Spenser's Astrophel. .

“ Ah where were ye, this while, his shepherd peers,
To whom alive was nought so dear as he?
And ye, fair maids, the matches of his years,
Which in his grace did boast

you most to be?
Ah! where were ye, when he of you had need,
To stop his wound that wond'rously did bleed ?"

SPENSER. Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more, For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead.

Lycidas, 165.

« PreviousContinue »