« 上一頁繼續 »
and again, with a difference (stanza 28) :
“ Through mirksome aire her ready way she makes :
Her twyfold teme, of which two blacke as pitch,
Did softly swim away.' It was a daring beauty in Milton to be the first (as he is believed to be) who gave these horses names. His lines may be thus trans
Typhlos the blind to lead, and with him the fierce Melanchætes,
Coupled with shaggy Phrix, whose mane flew cloudily round her.” Each name is from the Greek, and is etymologically significant, as if he had called the horses Blinding, Blackhaired, Silence of Hell, and Shuddering.
74. regum domitor": the Pope, with the polite title of “ Phlegetontius hæres" also fitted to him.
75, 76. "Ingreditur thalamos (neque enim," etc.) This insinuation is conventional, as against Popes in general, the verb producit being in the present tense; and it is not to be regarded as directed against the particular Pope who reigned in June 1605: viz. Paul V.
80–85. “ Assumptis micuerunt tempora canis,” etc. In this description of Satan as he stood at the Pope's bedside there is a touch of resemblance to the appearance given to Satan in the Temptation in the Wilderness, Par. Reg. I. 314 et seq. and 497, 498; but the special equipment in the garb of a Franciscan friar is, as Warton pointed out, from two passages in Buchanan. Thus, in Buchanan's Franciscanus, a Satire on the Franciscans :
“ Haud quoties longo sub syrmate rasum
Cernere me Paulum credo." Again in the same poet's Fratres Fraterrimi, xxxiv., entitled “Somnium," and describing the apparition of St. Francis at the poet's bedside
“Cum mihi Franciscus, nodosâ cannabe cinctus,
Astitit ante torum, stigmata nota gerens.
Palla, fenestratus calceus, hasta, liber :
Et mihi subridens, 'Hanc protinus indue,' dixit.” 86–89.
... Franciscus eremo." Warton thinks that here Milton means St. Francis d'Assisi, the founder of the Franciscan order (1182-1226), but has, by mistake, attributed to that Saint incidents which properly belong to the life of St. Francis Xavier, the Jesuit Missionary (1506—1552).
92. “Dormis, nate ?” So, as Warton notes, Iliad, II. 23, Eidels, ’Arpéos vié;
96. "pharetrati . . . Britanni." In memory, as Mr. Keightley supposes, of the ancient fame of the English bowmen.
97. “ Latius . . . Cæsar”: the Roman Cæsar, or German Emperor. The Cæsar or Emperor in 1605 was Rodolph II.
102, 103. “disjectam. classem,” etc. The shattered Spanish Armada of 1588. 104, 105. “Sanctorumque cruci tot corpora fixa probrosa,
Thermodoonteå nuper regnante puella." These are the Roman Catholics put to death in England during the reign of Elizabeth, here called “Thermodoontea puella" or “ Amazonian girl,” from Thermodon, a river falling into the Euxine sea in the country of the legendary Amazons. Ovid's adjective, as Warton noted, is Thermodontiacus ; but Todd refers for Thermodoonteus to Propertius, III. xiv. 15, 16. There, however, the form, in the edition I have at hand, is Thermodonteus :
Qualis Amazonidum nudatis bellica mammis
Thermodonteis turma vagatur agris ; and, if this reading is correct, Milton has not the warrant of this passage, either for his word, or for shortening the second syllable of it.
116. “ad consilium”: to his Parliament.
117, 118: “Patricios," members of the House of Commons; "procerum de stirpe creatos," Peers; "grandævos patres," etc., Bishops and Privy Councillors.
120. “nitrati pulveris." The accepted Latin phrase for Gunpowder was "pulvis nitratus” or “pulvis nitrosus."
126. “vel Gallus atrox, vel savus Iberus.” The French King in 1605 was Henry IV., the hero of Navarre; the Spanish King was Philip III. Milton thinks of the two peoples and their religion, and not of the particular sovereigns. 127.
“ Sæcula ... Mariana”: the times of “the Bloody Mary," Elizabeth's predecessor.
133. “ Tithonia”: Aurora or Morning, the wife of Tithonus. 135. "nigri
“nigri . . . nati”: Memnon, the dark King of Ethiopia, son of Tithonus and Aurora, for whose untimely death in the Trojan war Aurora was inconsolable. See note, Pens. 18.
138. “revolvens”: rolling back.
139-154. “Est locus,” etc. This Latin poem, juvenile production though it is, contains fine poetical passages; and the present is one of them. With various precedents in his mind, the young poet imagines a place on the earth where there is a Cave of Murder and Treason; and he describes it with much power :
“ Far there exists a place, girt round with unchangeable night-gloom,
Once the foundation vast of a building crumbled to ruins,
Coffinless bones lie about, and iron-spigoted corpses.” Round the cavern are Stratagem, Strife, Calumny, Fury, Fear, and all shapes of Death; pale Horror hovers over it; the shrieks of ghosts are heard in the silence of the spot; the very ground is blood-soaked; while far in the interior, shunning the cavern's mouth, lurk Murder and Treason themselves, restlessly looking back in continual dread.
143. “præruptaque.” So in Second Edition. In the First the word was “semifractaque"; which gave a false quantity, the first syllable of semi being long. Milton ought to have known this, if only from line 122 in his own Elegia Quinta.
155. "pugiles Rome": "champions of Rome” in the sense of hired bravoes or ruffians.
156. “antistes Babylonius”: the Babylonian priest ; Rome, in the Protestant interpretation, being the great Babylon of the Apocalypse.
158. “Gens exosa mihi." Warton refers to Juno's speech to Æolus, Æn. I. 65 et seq., for the phrase “ Gens inimica mihi,” and a certain general resemblance..
165. "paruere gemelli.” The gemelli are Murder and Treason. The first syllable of paruere being long, Milton, as Warton observed, either committed a false quantity here, or is to be absolved on the ground that he meant the u to be slurred, and the whole word to be a trisyllable. In the only other case of his use of the same verb in his Latin poetry, “ Parere Fati discite legibus” (In ob. Pro. Med., written in the same year), the law of the verse permits the initial syllable of the line to be either long or short: so that instance does not help us to a decision. It is in his favour, however, that in a preceding line in this same poem, In Quint. Nov. (26) he has the quantity right in the compound "apparent."
166—169. “Interea longo flectens curvamine cælos despicit .. Dominus,” etc. A combination of two Biblical passages,—Ps. xviii. 9 and Ps. ii. 4.
170—193. “Esse ferunt spatium," etc. In this imagination of the House or Tower of Fame, the young poet dares to come after Ovid's similar description (Met. XII. 39–63) and Chaucer's much more elaborate one (House of Fame: Book III.) He helps himself to touches from both, and uses also Virgil's description of Fame herself (Æn. IV. 173-188); yet he produces an Abode of Rumour quite his own, and suitable for his purpose.
171. “Mareotidas undas”: distinctly so in both Milton's editions; but certainly, as Mr. Keightley observes, either a mistake or a misprint for Mæotidas. For Milton cannot have meant Lake Mareotis, which is in Egypt, but the great Lake Mæotis, now “the sea of Azof," north of the Black Sea. That lake, washing the western end of the Caucasian chain, does lie close to that boundaryline between Asia and Europe where Milton places his House of Fame.
172. “ Titanidos . . . Fame." According to Virgil as above, Æn. IV. 178—180; where Fame is represented as the daughter of Terra, and sister of the Titans Cous and Enceladus.
178—180. “Qualiter instrepitant ... agmina muscarum,” etc. The original of this image, in its exact form, as Warton noted, is in the Iliad, II. 469 et seq., and XVI. 641 ; but Chaucer has a modification of it in his House of Fame, III. 430—435, describing the coming in of the petitioners to the Goddess :
“ But, whyl that I beheld this sighte,
For all the world hit semed mee. 181. “Illa," Fame; "matris," Terra or Earth, Fame's mother. See ante, 172.
182- -188. “ Auribus innumeris cinctum caput nec tot, Aristoride,
volvebas lumina." Aristorides is Argus, the hundred-eyed guardian of the cow lo, or Isis ; his father was Aristor. Compare Virgil's Fame, as above (181—183):-
“Cui, quot sunt corpore plumæ, Tot vigiles oculi subter, mirabile dictu,
Tot linguæ, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures. And Chaucer's House of Fame, III. 291-300
“For as fele eyen hadde she
As fetheres upon foules be,
The propriety of such a corporeal organism for the goddess Fame or Rumour is obvious.
207. “Dextra tubam gestat Temesæo ex ære sonoram.” Temese, on the Calabrian coast, was famous for its copper, and Warton quotes from Ovid the phrase “ Temesæa æra.”—In Chaucer, Fame does not herself carry a trumpet, but is attended by Æolus, the wind-god, carrying two trumpets,-a golden one for good report or praise, and a brass one for evil report or infamy.
208. “cedentes auras.” Compare Par. Lost, II. 842, where the phrase "the buxom air," as Todd remarked, literally translates this.
220—226. “ Attamen celebratior anno.” It seems impossible to doubt that Milton suddenly huddled up in these closing lines a poem which he intended to be longer. If he had kept proportion with the foregoing parts of the poem, the proceedings of Fame or Rumour after her arrival in England ought to have been more gradual; the indefinite horror caused by her murmurs should have been seen encircling the dark deed to which they appertained ; and the ring should have been drawn closer and closer till we reached the actual 5th of November and the capture of Guy Fawkes in the cellar. Probably Milton had to get the piece ready by the 5th of November 1626, and had to cut it short at the last moment. As it is, it is the best Gunpowder Plot poem in existence; and in the last two lines we seem to hear the cries of the boys in the streets carrying Guy Fawkes about in effigy.
IN OBITUM PRÆSULIS ELIENSIS.
4-6. “Quem nuper effudi," etc. A reference to his Elegia Tertia. For the interval between the death lamented in that piece and the death lamented in this, see Introd. I. p. 289. 7-10. “ Cum centilinguis Fama ... spargit," etc.
This is as if Milton had still in his ear lines 211, 212 of the preceding poem, In Quint. Nov. Possibly he did not write the present piece till he had finished that, though Bishop Felton had died Oct. 5.
“Neptuno satos.” See In Quint. Nov., 26, 27, and note there; also Comus, 18—29. Mr. Keightley thinks Milton was the first to call the Britons outright "sons of Neptune”; but I should doubt it.
13, 14. “insulâ quæ nomen Anguilla tenet”: i.e. the Isle of Ely, so called from its abundance of eels (anguilla Lat. for “eels "). The word Ely in old English meant Eel Island; so that “Isle of Ely” is tautological.