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Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
976. Pindar in his second Olympic, and Homer in his fourth Odyssey, describe a happy island at the extremity of the ocean, or rather earth, where the sun has his abode, the sky is perpetually serene and bright, the west wind always blows, and the flowers are of gold. This luxuriant imagery Milton has dressed anew, from the classical gardens of antiquity, from Spenser's gardens of Adonis “fraught with pleasures mani“fold,” from the same gardens in Marino's L'Adone, Ariosto's garden of Paradise, Tasso's garden of Armida, and Spenser's Bowre of Blisse. The garden of Eden is absolutely Milton's own creation. T. Warton. ,
979. Up in the broad fields of
the sky:] And so in Virgil, AEn. vi. 888.
Aëris in campis latis.
At first he had written plain fields.
980. There I suck the liquid air.] Thus Ubaldo in Fairfax's Tasso, a good wizard, who dwells in the centre of the earth, but sometimes emerges, to breathe the purer air of mount Carmel. c. xiv. 43.
And there in liquid ayre myself
disport. T. Warfon.
982. Of Hesperus, and his daughters three) He had written at first,
Of Atlas and his nieces three.
Hesperus and Atlas were brothers. 982. The daughters of Hesperus had gardens or orchards which produced apples of gold. Spenser makes them the daughters of Atlas, F. Q. ii. vii. 54. See Ovid, Metam. iv. 636. And Apollodor. Bibl. 1. ii. s. 11. But
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Milton says in the text, the golden tree. . Many say that the apples of Atlas's garden were of gold: Ovid is the only ancient writer that says the trees were of gold. Metam. iv. 636. Arboreae frondes auro radiante nitentes - Ev auro tamos, ex auro poma tege
bant, T. Warton.
Our author's favourite tragic poet, Euripides, also celebrates the Hesperides under the title of tuyaoi, zaga. Herc. Furens, 393. Dunster. And again as aoidos, Hippol. 740. where see Professor Monk's note, who cites also Hesiod. Theog. 274. and 516. as alluding to the songs of the Hesperides, and refers to Heyně, Observat. ad Apollodorum, p. 166. seq. for a full account of the ancient fictions concerning them. E. 984. Along the crisped shades &c.] These four lines were not at first in the Manuscript, but were added afterwards, I suppose when he scratched out those lines which we quoted at the beginning. 984. Compare Il Pens. 50. “That in trim gardens takes his pleasure.” And Arcades, 46.
To curl the grove In ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
Where see the notes. I suspect we have something of L'Architecture du Jardinage here also, in the spruce spring, the cedarn alleys, the crisped shades and bonyers. T. Warton. 988. That there eternal summer dwells, So Fletcher, Faithful Shep. act iv. s. i. p. 163.
On this bower may ever dwell Spring and summer.
Again, ibid. p. 134.
All that relating to Adonis and Cupid and Psyche was added afterwards. 997. —If your ears be true.] Intimating that this Song, which follows, of Adonis, and Cupid, and Psyche, is not for the profane, but only for well purged ears. See Upton's Spenser, Notes on b. iii. c. 6. Hurd. See Note on Arcad. v. 72. So the Enchanter, above, has “neither ear nor soul to ap“prehend” sublime mysteries. His ear no less than his soul, was impure, unpurged, and unprepared. T. Warton. 999. Where young Adonis oft reposes, &c.] Here Milton has plainly copied and abridged Spenser in his description of the VOL. I. V.
gardens of Adonis. Faery Queen, b. iii. cant. 6. st. 46–50.
There wont fair Venus often to enjoy Her dear Adonis' joyous company, And reap sweet pleasure of the wanton boy; There yet some say in secret he doth lie, Lapped in flowers spicery, &c.
There now he liveth in eternal bliss,
Joying his Goddess, and of her enjoy'd ;
Ne feareth he henceforth that foe of his,
Which with his cruel tusk him deadly cloy'd: &c.
STANzA 49. There now he lives in everlasting joy, With many of the Gods in company, Which thither haunt, and with the winged boy Sporting himself in safe felicity: &c.
And his true love, fair Psyche, with him plays, Fair Psyche to him lately reconcil’d, After long troubles and unmeet upbrays, With which his mother Venus her revil’d And eke himself her cruelly exil'd: But now in stedfast love and happy State She with him lives, and hath him borne a child, Pleasure that doth both Gods and men aggrate, Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late.