« ZurückWeiter »
This busy power is working day and night;
For, when the outward senses rest do take,
With fluttering wings do keep her still awake.”
Next are described Memory, and the Passions of Sense, or beginnings of active Will; after which comes the supreme faculty of Wit, taking such various names as Reason, Understanding, Opinion, Judgment, Wisdom :
“The Wit, the pupil of the Soul's clear eye,
And in man's world the only shining star,
Where all the gatherings of the Senses are.
And," &c. Milton's psychology, it will be seen, is very much that of the foregoing passages, and in some points word for word. Doubtless, it was a common doctrine of the day.-Fancy, Phantasy, and Imagination were synonymous, or nearly so, in Milton's time. The differencing of Fancy from Imagination is a later habit. The word “represent” in line 105 is used in its original sense of “ making to reappear,” and not in the derivative sense of “standing for.”
110–113. “ Oft, in her (i.e. Reason's) absence, mimic Fancy wakes," &c. Compare Tennyson's beautiful expression, in Maud, of the same often observed fact in dreaming :
“And now by this my love has closed her sight,
Among the fragments of the golden day.' 117.
“ Evil into the mind of God or Man.” Here, as frequently, Milton uses the word “God" generally for "Angel" or "superhuman
118. “so unapproved": corrupted, in some late editions, into “SO unreproved.” By “so" is meant either “in this manner,” referring to
" Eve's dream, or “ if so be that it is." The former construction seems the more natural.
1374-144. “But first, from under shady arborous roof soon as they forth were come lowly they bowed, adoring." The construction becomes clearer by the omission, as here, of the intervening descriptive clauses. It is marred in the original text by a comma inadvertently placed after “roof,” the effect of which is to suggest that the adoration took place in the bower, whereas it was in the open air after they had come forth from the bower.
142. “landskip." See note, IV. 153.
144-152. “Lowly they bowed, adoring to add more sweetness." In the whole of this passage there is more than a hint of Milton's sympathy with the Puritans in their objection to Liturgies and set forms of worship. Thus “each morning duly paid in various style," and, again,
or sung unmeditated.” Nay, in lines 150—152, is there not (what would be stranger from Milton) a reflection on instrumental music in worship? Bishop Newton's note on the passage may be quoted. “As it is very well known," he says, “that our author was no friend to set forms of prayer, it is no wonder that he ascribes extemporary effusions to our first parents; but, even whilst he attributes strains unmeditated to them, he himself emulates the Psalmist.” Bishop Newton means that the splendid outburst which follows is a recollection of Psalm cxlviii. Milton, however, in his prose-discussions of the subject, takes full account of such forms. Observe, however, that he distinctly makes Adam and Eve turn to the East in praying. They face the rising sun (139–143).
150. "numerous verse": i.e. musical, rhythmical, or full of “ numbers” in the poetic sense, as in the phrase "to lisp in numbers."
160-165. “ Speak, ye who best can tell, ye Sons of Light," &c. The word “ye” is sometimes spelt in Milton as we now spell it, with one e; but sometimes thus, " yee." So with similar words. It has been supposed that he had a rule in this, according as he meant the word to be less or more emphatic. But, if so, the present passage is rather puzzling. The word “ye" occurs in it five times. In the First Edition the spelling "yee" is adopted in two of these cases (Nos. 4 and 5)to wit, in lines 163, 164, thus
yee in Heav'n, On Earth joyn all yee creatures
We can conceive that Milton intended an emphasis upon the word "ye" in both these cases; though, perhaps, hardly that he intended a greater emphasis than on the first “ye" in line 160. But, if we get over this (and it seems to improve the sense to make the word "ye" peculiarly emphatic in the two cases where it is spelt“yee"), how happens it that in the Second and Third Editions there is a variation ?
162. “ day without night." Rev. xxi. 25. (Dunster.) 165. “Him first, him last," &c. Rev. xxii. 13.
166—170.“ Fairest of Stars," &c. : i.e. the planet Venus; which, when she is to the west of the Sun, rises and sets before him, and is then called Phosphorus, Lucifer, or the Morning-star, but, when she is to the east of the Sun, rises and sets after him, and is then called Hesperus, or the Evening-star. It is as Phosphorus or the Morningstar that she is here addressed—“sure pledge of day,” &c.; but the phrase "fairest of stars" is, as Hume noted, precisely Homer's (Iliad, xxii. 318):
“Έσπερος, δς κάλλιστος εν ουρανώ ίσταται αστήρ.” Donne, in his Progress of the Soul, describing the passage of the disembodied soul through space, says :
" Venus retards her not, to enquire how she
169.“ in thy sphere”: i.e. in that one of the astronomical spheres to which the planet belonged.
171. “ Thou Sun, of this great World both eye and soul.” Hume quotes from Ovid (Met. iv. 228) the phrase "mundi oculus” for the Sun, and Newton finds him called “animus mundi ” in Pliny.
176. “ fixed in their orb that flies.” Orb means here astronomical sphere according to the old or Ptolemaic system. The orb or sphere of the fixed stars was the eighth from the Earth.
177—201. “And ye,” &c. See note, antè 160—165. But in these twenty-five lines the alternation of the spelling between "ye" and “yee” in the original edition does accord very exactly with the notion that Milton meant to indicate emphasis by the spelling “yee.” The word occurs eleven times in the passage, and in the original edition the spelling “yee" is given in four cases out of the eleven-Nos. 1, 6, 10, and 11-precisely the cases where, in reading the passage, the word has to be pronounced strongly. And the arrangement is preserved to the Third Edition.
177. “ five other wandering Fires." As the poet has already invoked Venus, the Sun, and the Moon, there remain to be invoked only “ four other" of the seven bodies known in the astronomy of Milton's time as the planets or “wandering fires”—to wit, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Hence Bentley reads "four” here for "five." It may be a slip on Milton's part; or he may have meant to re-include Venus. Adam is afterwards instructed that the Earth may be a planet (VIII. 128 ; but not yet.
not without song " : "the music of the spheres," one of Milton's most favourite ideas.
181. “ in quaternion run”: i.e. in fourfold combination, as Air, Earth, Water, and Fire.
195. “ warble as ye flow," &c. Mr. Browne refers to III. 31.
198. “ That, singing, up to Heaven-gate ascend.” Newton cites the song in Cymbeline (II. iii.), “Hark! hark! the lark at Heaven's gate sings ;" and there is nearly the same phrase in Shakespeare's Sonnet xxix.
Witness if I be silent .. by my song." We should have expected here the plural pronouns we and our, since Adam and Eve are both engaged in the adoration. Bentley, who takes any liberty he likes with Milton's text, actually makes the change. But it has been suggested that Milton had the practice of the ancient Greek choruses in view, where, though many are singing, the first pronoun singular is used. Likelier perhaps is it that he thought of Adam as the sole speaker in the act of worship, Eve listening. One even thinks of the poet himself as, by substitution, the speaker here.
214. “pampered boughs.” Richardson's Dict. thus defines the word Pamper “Fr. Pampre; Lat. Pampinus, a vine-leaf. Fr. Pamprer, to fill, furnish, or cover with vine-leaves; and hence to train or nurse into luxuriant growth.” The word in English is as old as Chaucer.
215—217. " the vine to wed her elm," &c. The twining of vines round the elm and the poplar, for support, and also, as was thought, for the bettering of the grapes, is frequently spoken of in the classic poets as the marriage of the vine : e.g. Horace, Epod. ii. 9, Ovid's Met. xiv.
661 et seq.
218, 219. “ the adopted clusters,” &c. Dunster quotes Buchanan, Maice Cal. 66:
Pampinus appositæ complexus brachia sylvæ
Vestit adoptivis robora nuda comis.' 220—223. "and to him called Raphael, the sociable Spirit, that deigned to travel with Tobias," &c. Stillingfieet perceives a recollection here of the employment of Hermes by Zeus on a similar errand and for the same reason (Il. xxiv. 334).—This is the second reference in the poem to the story of Tobit in the Apocrypha (see IV. 162—171 and note there). Mr. Keightley thinks Milton was fond of that story. -Raphael in Hebrew means “Health of God” or “ The Divine Healer."
224-228. “Raphael,' said he, thou hear'st,'" &c. Thyer saw an imitation here, and in the sequel, of Tasso, Ger. Lib. ix. 58; where God calls Michael and sends him to help the Christians :-
“ Chiama egli a se Michele, il qual nell' armi
Di lucido diamante arde e lampeggia ;
L'empia schiera d'Averno?" &c. 249.
“celestial Ardours." The word “Ardours” is but a fine translation of the Hebrew word “Seraphim,” which is from a verb meaning “to burn." 257–261.
From hence—no cloud, or star interposed, however small—he sees," &c. Owing to confused pointing in the original, there has been some difference as to the reading of this passage. Newton
and Todd construe as follows :“From hence, no cloud or star being interposed to obstruct his sight, he sees the Earth, however small at that distance, not unlike other shining globes," &c. They point the passage accordingly. But this construction seems not only unnatural, but absurd ; for the poet goes on to speak of the “Garden of God” and the “cedars ” as being cloudily visible to the Angel on the Earth's disc --whence it is clear that the “however small” has to be connected with the previous word “star," as it is by our pointing.
261, 262. “ the glass of Galileo”: the second mention of Galileo in the poem ( see I. 288, and note), and the third of the “optic glass ” or telescope (see also III. 590, and note). The telescope is again mentioned, by that name, in Par. Reg. IV. 40–42.
264–266. “Or pilot from amidst the Cyclades Delos or Samos first appearing kens, a cloudy spot.” The construction is or pilot kens Delos or Samos first appearing from amidst the Cyclades as a cloudy spot, Mr. Keightley pointed out (Life of Milton, p. 430) that Milton has here, by a slip of memory, fallen into a geographical error-Samos not being one of the Cyclades, but one of the Asiatic group at a distance from them in the same archipelago. Nor will this error be obviated by the reading which would interpret as follows :--“or pilot, coming from amidst the Cyclades, kens Delos or Samos first appearing as a cloudy spot;" for, though that might suit for Samos, it would not for Delos, which is one of the Cyclades. The only reconciliation would be by supposing that Milton used the name Cyclades generally for all the islands of the archipelago.
270. “buxom air.” See II. 842, and note.
272—274. “ A phænix, gazed by all—(i.e. gazed at by all)—as that sole (i.e. unique) bird, when,” &c. The allusion is to the ancient fable of the marvellous Arabian bird, the Phoenix, of which only one was alive at a time, and which, every 500 years, came from Arabia to Heliopolis in Egypt to bury the relics of its father, the preceding Phenix (or, according to another version, to leave its own relics), in the Temple of the Sun there (Herod. ji. 73; Ovid, Mlet. xv., &c.). Milton substitutes Thebes, the capital of Upper Egypt, for Heliopolis in Lower Egypt.
277—285. Six wings he wore,” &c. In this passage Milton remembers the description of the Seraphim in Isaiah vi. 2 : “ Each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did ily."
285. "Sky-tinctured grain." There is a long and interesting dissertation on the etymology of this word "grain," and on the use of the word by the older English poets, and especially by Milton, in Mr. George P. Marsh's “ Lectures on the English Language" (First Series : Fourth American Edition, 1861: pp. 65–75). According to Mr. Marsh, the true meaning of this word in Milton and in the older poets