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not excepted. The poetry of them is often extremely noble; and the mysterious air which prevails in them, together with its delightful impression upon the mind, caunot he hetter expressed than in that remarkable description with which they inspired the German editor Eschenhach, when he accidentally met with them at Leipsic: "Thesaurum me reperisse credidi," says he, "et profecto thesaurum reperi. Incredihile dictu quo me sacro horrore afflaverint indigitamenta ista deorum: nam ettempusadillorum lectionem eligerecogchar, quod vel solum horrorem incutcrc animo potest, noctumum; cum enim totam diem consumserim in contemplando urhis splendore, et in adeundis, quibus scatet urbs ilia, viris doctis; sola nox restahat, quam Orpheo consecrare potui. In abys- sum quondam mysteriorum venerandae antiquitatis tlescenderc videhar, quotiescunque silente mundo, solis vigilantihus astris et luna fxtXvi,^fum istos hymnos ad manus sumsi."
Vcr. 25. Chaos.'] The unformed, undigested mass of Moses and Plato: which Milton calls
"The womb of Nature."
Ih. Love, the sire of Fate.] Fate is the universal system of natural causes; the work of the Omnipotent Mind, or of Ixive; so Minucins Felix: "Quid ali ml est fatum, quam quod de unoquoque nostrum deus fatus est." So also Cicero, in the first hook on Divination: "Fatum antem id appello, quod GiTeci EIPMAPMENHN; id est, ordinem seriemque causarum, cum causa causae nexa rem ex se gignat —ex quo intelligitur, ut fatum sit non id quod superstitiose, sed id quod physice dicitur causa ttterna rcrum." To the same purpose is the doctrine of Hicrocles, in that excellent fragment concerning Providence and Destiny. As to the three Fates, or Destinies of the poets, they represented that part of the general system of natural causes which relates to man, and to other mortal beings: for so we are told in the hymn addressed to them among the Orphic Indigitamenta, whore they are called the daughters of Night, (or Love) and, contrary to the vulgar notion, are distinguished by the epithets of gentle, and tender-hearted. According to Hesiod, Theog. ver. 904, they were the daughters of Jupiter and Themis; but in the Orphic Hymn to Venus, or Love, that goddess is directly styled the mother of Necessity, and is represented, immediately after, as governing the three Destinies, and conducting the whole system of natural causes.
Ver. 26. Born of Fate was Time.] Cronos, Saturn, or Time, was, according to Apollodoms, the son of Oelum and Tollus. But the author of the hymns gives it quite undisguised by mythological language, and calls him plainly the offspring of the Earth and the starry Heaven; that is, of Fate, as explained in the preceding note.
Ver. 27. Who many sons
Devinir'rl.] The known fable of Saturn devouring his children was certainly meant to imply the dissolution of natural hodies; which are produced and destroyed hv Time.
Ver. 28 Ihc child
Of Uhea.] Jupiter, so called by Pindar.
Ver. 29 drove himfrom the upper sky.] That
Jupiter dethroned his father Saturn, is recorded by all the mythologists. Phurnutus, or Cornutus, the author of a little Greek treatise on the nature of
I'S POEMS.the gods, informs us, that by Jupiter was meant the vegetable soul of the world, which restrained and prevented those uncertain alterations which Saturn, or Time, used formerly to cause in the mundane system.
Ver. 30. Then social reign'd.] Our mythology here supposeth, that hefore estahlishment of the vital, vegetative, plastic nature, (represented by Jupiter) the four elements were in a variable and unsettled condition; but afterwards, well-disposed and at peace among themselves. Tethys was the wife of the Ocean; Ops, or Rhea, the Earth; Vesta, the eldest daughter of Saturn, Fire; and the cloud-compeller, or Zw vifs>.nys(vsnc, the Air: though he also represented the plastic principle of Nature, as may be seen in the Orphic hymn inscribed to him.
t"er. 34 the sedgy-croamed race.] The rivergods; who, acccording to Hesiod's Theogony, were the sons of Oceanus and Tethys.
Ver. 36 from them.
Are ye, O haiads.] The descent of the Naiads is less certain than most points of the Greek mythology. Homer, Odyss. xiii. nt&u Aio,. Virgil, in the eighth hook of the Ajieid, speaks as if the Nymphs, or Naiads, were the parents of the rivers: hut in this he contradicts the testimony of Hesiod, and evidently departs from the orthodox system, which representeth several nymphs as retaining to every single river. On the other hand, Calimachus, who was very learned in all the school-divinity of those times, in his hymn to Delos, maketh Penus, the great Thessalian river-god, the father of his Nymphs: and Ovid, in the fourteenth hook of his Metamorphosis, mentions the Naiads of Latium as the immediate daughters of the neighhouring rivergods. Accordingly, the Naiads of particular rivers are occasionally, hoth hy Ovid and Statins, called by a patronymic, from the name of the river to which they belong.
Ver. 40 Syrian Daphne.] The grove of
Daphne in Syria, near Antioch, was famous for its delightful fountains.
Belov'd hy Perm.] Mineral and medicinal springs. Ptcon was the physician of the gods.
Ver. 43. , the winged offspring.] The
Winds; who, according to Hesiod and Apollodorus, were the sons of Astrsous and Aurora.
Ver. 46. Hyperion.] A son of Coelum and Tellus, and father of the Sun, who is thence called, by Pindar, Hyperionides. But Hyperion is put by Homer in the same manner as here, for the Sun himself.
Ver. 49. Your sallying streams.] The state of the atmosphere with respect to rest and motion is, in several ways, affected hy rivers and running streams; and that more especially in hot seasons: first, they destroy its equilihrinm, hy cooling those parts of it with which they are in contact; and secondly, they communicate their own motion: and the air which is thus moved by them, being left heated, is of consequence more elastic than other parts of the atmosphere, and therefore fitter to preserve and to propagate that motion.
Ver. 70. Velian king.] One of the epithets of Apollo, or the Sun, in the Orphic hymn inscrihed to him.
Ver. 79. Chloris.'] The ancient Greek name fur Flora.
NOTES ON THE HYMN TO THE NAIADS.
Ver. S3. Amalthea.] The mother of the first Bacchus, whose hirth and education was written, as Diodorus Siculus informs us, in the old Pelasgic character, hy Thymoetes, grandson to Laomedon, and contemporary with Orpheus. Thymcetes had travelled over Libya to the country which horders on the western ocean; there he saw the island of Nysa, and learned from the inhahitants, that" Ammon, king of Libya, was married in former ages to Rhea,sister of Saturn and the Titans: that he afterwards fell in love with a beautiful virgin, whose name was Amalthea; had by her a son, and gave her possession of a neighhouring tract of land, wonderfully fertile; which in shape nearly resembling the horn of an ox, was thence called the Hesperian horn, and afterwards the horn of Amalthea: that, fearing the jealousy of Rhea, he concealed the young Bacchus, with his mother, in the island of Nysa;" the beauty of which, Diodorus describes with great dignity and pomp of style. This fable is one of the nohlest in all the ancient mythology, and seems to have made a particular impression on the imagination of Milton; the only modem poet (unless perhaps it be necessary to except Spenser) who, in these mysterious traditions of the poetic story, had a heart to feel, and words to express, the simple and solitary genius of antiquity. To the idea of his Paradise, he prefers it
that Nysean isle
Girt by the river Triton, where old Cham,
Ver. 94. Edonian hand.] The priestesses and other ministers of Bacchus; so called from Edonus, a mountain of Thrace, where his rights were celebrated.
Ver. I05. When Hermes.] Hermes, or Mercury, was the patron of commerce; in which benevolent character he is addressed by the author of the Inaigitamenta, in these heautiful lines:
'Ejfx&ro va,kt, xtgif'ixwom, Xwi;uurifivf,
Ver. 121. Dispense the mineral treasure.] The merchants of Sidon and Tyre made frequent voyages to the coast of Cornwall, from whence they carried home great quantities of tin.
Ver. I36. Hath he not term.] Mercury, the patron of commerce, being so greatly dependent on the good offices of the Naiads, in return ohtains for them the friendship of Minerva, the goddess of war; for military power, at least the naval part of it, hath constantly followed the establishment of trade; which exemplifies the preceding observation, that "from hounty issueth power."
Ver. I43. Calpe
Cantalirian surge.] Gihraltar and the bay of Biscay.
Ver. 150. /Egina's gloomy surge.] Near this island, the Athenians obtained the victory of Salami*, over the Persian navy.
Ver. I60 ^ Xerxes saw.] This circumstance is recorded in that passage, perhaps the most splendid among all the remains of ancient hutory, where Plutarch, in his Life of Themis
tocles, descrihes the sea-fights of Artemisinm and Salamis.
Ver. 204. Thyrsus.] A staff, or spear, wreathed round.with ivy: of constant use in the bacchanalian mysteries.
Ver. 227 Io I'tean.] An exclamation
of victory and triumph, derived from Apollo's encounter with Python. Ver. 252. Ctrrha.] One of the summits of Parnassus, and sacred to Apollo. Near it were several fountains, said to be frequented by the Muses. Nysa, the other eminence of the same mountain, was dedicated to Bacchus.
Ver. 263 charm the mind of gods.] This
whole passage, concerning the effects of sacred music among the gods, is taken from Pindar's first Pvthian ode.
Ver. 297 Phrygian pipe's.] The Phry
gian music was fantastic and turhulent, and fit to excite disorderly passions.
Ver. 502 The gates where Pallas holds
The guardian hey. ] It was the office of Minerva to he the guardian of walled cities; whence she was named noMAS and noAioTXOS, and had her statues placed in their gates, being supposed to keep the keys; and on that account styled KAHAOTXOI.
Ver. 3I0 fate
Of soher l'entheus.] Pentheus was torn in pieces by the bacchanalian priests and women, for despising their mysteries.
Ver. 3I8 the cave
Corycian. ] Of this cave Pausanias, in his tenth hook, gives the following description: "between Delphi and the eminences of Parnassus, in a road to the grotto of Corycium, which has its name from the nymph Corycia, and is by far the most remarkahle which I have seen. One may walk a great way into it without a torch. It is of a considerable height, and hath several springs within it; and yet a much greater quantity of water distills from the shell and roof, so as to be continually dropping on the ground. The people round Parnassus hold it sacred to the Corycian nymphs and to Pan."
Ver. 3I9 Delphic mount.] Delphi, the
seat and oracle of Apollo, had a mountainous and rocky situation, on the skirts of Parnassus.
Ver. 327. CyrenaiC.] Cyrene was the native country of Callimachus, whose hymns are the most remarkable example of that mythological passion which is assumed in the preceding poem, and have always afforded particular pleasure to the author of it, by reason of the mysterious solemnity with which they affect the mind. On this account he was induced to attempt somewhat in the same manner; solely by way of exercise: the manner itself heing now almost entirely ahandoned in poetry. And as the mere genealogy, or the personal adventures of heathen gods, could have heen hut little interesting to a modern reader; it was therefore thought proper to select some convenient part of the history of Nature, and to employ these ancient divinities as it is probable they were first employed; to wit, in personifying natural causes, and in representing the mutual agreement or opposition of the corporeal and moral powers of the world: which hath been accounted the very highest office of poetry.
FOR A GROTTO.
To me, whom in their lays the shepherds call
STATl'K OF CHAUCER AT WOODSTOCK.
Sl'ch was old Chaucer. Such the placid mien
Whoe'er thou art whose path, in summer, lies
With tears, with sharp remorse, and pining care.
O Youths and virgins: O declining eld:
Thou, who the verdant plain dost traverse here
AN EPISTLE TO CURIO.
AmoACN in silence. Tis no vulgar tale
Which I, the Driad of this hoary oak,
Pronounce to mortal ears. The second age
Now hasteneth to its period, since I rose
On this fair lawn. The groves of yonder vale
Are all my offspring: and each Nymph, who guards
The copses and the furrow'd fields heyond,
Oheys me. Many changes have I seen
In human things, and many awful deeds
Of Justice, when the ruling hand of Jove
Against the tyrants of the land, against
The unhallow'd sons of Luxury and Guile,
Was arm'd for retribution. Thus at length
Expert in laws divine, I know the paths
Of Wisdom, and erroneous Folly's end
Have oft presag'd: and now well-pleas'd I wait
Each evening till a noble youth, who loves
My shade, a while releas'd from puhlic cares,
Von peaceful gate shall enter, and sit down
Beneath my branches. Then his musing mind
I prompt, unseen; and place before his view
Sncerest forms of good; and move his heart
With the dread hounties of the Sire Supreme
Of gods and men, with Freedom's generous deeds,
The lofty voice of Glory, and the faith
Of sacred Friendship. Stranger, I have told
My function. If within thy hosom dwell
Aught which may challenge praise, thou wilt not
Unhonour'd my ahode, nor shall I hear [leave
A sparing henediction from thy tongue.
Yt powers unseen, to whom the bards of Greece Erected altars; ye who to the mind More lofty views unfold, and prompt the heart With more divine emotions; if erewhile Not quite unpleasing have my votive rites Of you heen deem'd, when oft this lonely seat To you I consecrated; then vouchsafe Here with your instant energy to crown My happy solitude. It is the hour When most I love to invoke you, and have felt Most frequent your glad ministry divine. The air is calm: the Sun's unveiled orh
Shines in the middle Heaven. The harvest round Stands quiet, and among the golden sheaves The reapers lie reclin'd. The neighhouring groves
Are mute; nor even a linnet's random strain Echoeth amid the silence. Let me feel Your influence, ye kind powers. Aloft in Heaven
Aliide ye? or on those transparent clouds Pass ye from hill to hill? or on the shades Which yonder elms cast o'er the lake below Do you converse retir'd? From what lov'd haunt Shall I expect you? Let me once more feel
Yoar influence, O ye kind inspiring powers!And I will guard it well, nor shall a thought Rise in my mind, nor shall a passion move
Across my hosom unohserv'd, unstor'd
By faithful memory. And then at some More active moment will I call them forth Anew; and join them in majestic forms, And give them utterance in harmonious strains;
That M' mankind shall wonder at your sway.
Me though in life's sequestet'd vale The Almighty Sire ordain'd to dwell, Remote from Glory's toilsome ways, And the great scenes of public praise; Yet let me still with grateful pride Rememher how my infant frame He temper'd with prophetic flame, And early music to my tongue supply'd.
Twas thrn my future fate he weigh'd: And, "This be thy concern," he said, "At once with Passion's keen alarms, And Beauty's pleasurahle charms, And sacred Truth's eternal light, To move the various mind of man; Till under one unblemish'd plan, His reason, fancy, and his heart unite."
AN EPISTLE TO CURIO '.
Thrier has the Spring beheld thy faded fame,
i Curio was a young Roman senator of distinguished hirth and parts, who, upon his first entrance into the forum, had been committed to the care of Cicero. Being profuse and extravagant, he soon dissipated a large and splendid fortune; to supply the want of which, he was driven to the necessity of abetting the designs of Caesar against the liberties of his country, although he had hefore been a professed enemy tohim.—Cicero exerted himself with great energy to prevent his ruin, but without effect, and he hecame one of the first victims in the civil war. This epistle was first published in the year I744, when a celebrated patriot, after a long and at last a successful opposition to an unpopular minister, had deserted the cause of his country, and become the foremost in support and defence of the same measures he had so steadily and for such a length of time contended against. It was altered hy the author into the Ode to Curio; but the original poem is too curious to he omitted. X.
Yet long reluctant I forbore thy name, T/>ng watch'd thy virtue like a dying flame, Hung o'er each glimmering spark with anxious eyes, And wish'd and hop'd the light again would rise. But since thy guilt still more entire appears, Since no art hides, no supposition clears; Since vengeful Slander now too sinks her blast, And the first rage of party-hate is past; Calm as the Judge of Truth, at length I come To weigh thy merits, and pronounce thy doom: So may my trust from all reproach be free, And Earth and Time confirm the fair decree.
There are who say they view'd without amaze Thy sad reverse of all thy former praise; That through the pageants of a patriot's name, They piere'd the foulness of thy secret aim; Or deem'd thy arm exalted but to throw The public thunder on a private foe. But I, whose soul consented to thy cause, Who felt thy genius stamp its own applause, Who saw the spirits of each glorious age Move in thy bosom, and direct thy rage; I scorn'd the ungenerous gloss of slavish minds, The owl-ey'd race, whom Virtue's lustre blinds. Spite of the learned in the ways of Vice, And all who prove that each man has his price, I still believ'd thy end was just and free; And yet, even yet believe it—spite of thee. Even though thy mouth impure has dar'd disclaim, Urg'd by the wretched impotence of shame, Whatever filial cares thy zeal had paid To laws infirm and liberty dceay'd; Has begg'd Ambition to forgive the show; Has told Corruption thou wert ne'er her foe; Has boasted in thy country's awful ear, Her gross delusion when she held thee dear; How tame she follow'd thy tempestuous call, And heard thy pompous tales, and trusted all—■ Rise from your sad abodes, ye curst of old For laws subverted, and for cities sold! Paint all the noblest trophies of your guilt, The oaths you perjur'd, and the blood you spilt j Yet must you one untemptcd vileness own, One dreadful palm reserv'd for him alone: With studied arts his country's praise to spurn, To beg the infamy he did not earn. To challenge hate when honour was his due, And plead his crimes where all his virtue knew. Do robes of state the guarded heart enclose From each fair feeling human nature knows? Can pompous titles stun the enchanted ear To all that reason, all that sense, would hear? Else could'st thou e'er desert thy sacred post, In such unthankful baseness to be lost? Else could'st thou wed the emptiness of vice, And yield thy glories at an idiot's price?
When they who, loud for liberty and laws, In doubtful times had fought their country's cause, When now of conquest and dominion sure, They sought alone to hold their fruits secure; When taught by these, Oppression hid the face To leave Corruption stronger in her place, By silent spells to work the public fate, And taint the vitals of the passive state, Till healing Wisdom should avail no more, And Freedom loath to tread the poison'd shore; Then, like some guardian god that flies to save The weary pilgrim from an instant grave, Whom, sleeping and secure, the guileful snake Steals near and nearer through the peaceful brake;
Then Curio rose to ward the public woe,
To wake the heedless, and incite the slow,
Against Corruption, Liberty to arm,
And quell the enchantress by a mightier charm.
Swift o'er the land the fair contagion flew, And with the country's hopes thy honours grew. Thee, patriot, the patrician roof confess'd: Thy powerful voice the rescued merchant bless'd; Of thee with awe the rural hearth resounds; The bowl to thee the grateful sailor crowns; Touch'd in the sighing shade with manlier fires, To trace thy steps the love-sick youth aspires j The learn'd recluse, who oft amaz'd had read Of Grecian heroes, Roman patriots dead, With new amazement hears a living name Pretend to share in such forgutten fame; And he who, scorning courts and courtly wpys. Left the tame track of these dejected days, The life of nobler ages to renew In virtues sacred from a monarch's view, Rouz'd by thy labours from the blest retreat. Where social ease and public passions meet. Again ascending treads the civil scene, To act and be a man, as thou hadst been.
Thus by degrees thy cause superior grew, And the great end appear'd at last in view: We heard the people in thy hopes rejoice; We saw the senate bending to thy voice; The friends of Freedom hail'd the approaching reign Of laws for which our fathers bled in vain; While venal Faction, struck with new dismay, Shrunk at their frown, and self-abandon'd lay. Wak'd in the shock, the public Genius rose, Abash'd and keener from his long repose; Sublime in ancient pride, he rais'd the spear Which slaves and tyrants long were wont to fear: The city felt his call: from man to man, From street to street, the glorious horrour ran; Each crowded haunt was stirr'd beneath his power,' And, murmuring, challenged the deciding hour.
Lo I the deciding hour at last appears; The hour of every freeman's hopes and fears! Thou, Genius! guardian of the Roman name, O ever prompt tyrannic rage to tame! Instruct the mighty moments as they roll, And guide each movement steady to the goal. Ye Spirits, by whose providential art Succeeding motives turn the changeful heart, Keep, keep the best in view to Curio's mind, And watch his fancy, and his passions bind! Ye Shades immortal, who, by Freedom led, Or in the field, or on the scaffold bled, Bend from your radiant seats a joyful eye, And view the crown of all your labours nigh. See Freedom mounting her eternal throne! The sword submitted, and the laws her own: See! public Power, chastis'd, beneath her stands. With eyes intent, and uncorrupted hands! See private life by wisest arts reclaim'd! See ardent youth to noblest manners frain'd! See us acquire whate'er was sought by you, If Curio, only Curio, will be true.
'Twas then—O shame! O trust how ill repaid! O Latium, oft by faithless sons betray'd!— 'Twas then—what frenzy on thy reason stole? What spells unsinew'd thy deteruiin'd soul? —Is this the man in Freedom's cause approv'd? The man so great, so honour'd, so belov'd? This patient slave by tinsel chains allur'd? This wretched suitor for a boon abjur'd?