« 上一頁繼續 »
Last came, and last did go,
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,
(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,)
And reft from me my sweet companion, And reft from me my love, my life,
my hart. T. Warton.
107. —my dearest pledge?] My dearest child, as children were simply called by the Latins pignora, pledges. Richardson. 109. The pilot of the Galilean lake, &c.] Milton finely raises the character of St. Peter by making him the pilot of the lake of Genesareth in Galilee. See how artfully he takes this hint from Luke v. The two keys (which he hath likewise painted poetically) Christ himself gave him. Matt. xvi. 19. But the mitre, which has so fine an effect in this picture, Milton would not have allowed him a very few years afterwards. See his treatise of Prelatical Episcopacy. Richardson. It seems somewhat extraordinary to introduce St. Peter after Apollo, Triton, &c., a Christian bishop among heathen deities; but here Milton's imagination was dazzled, his taste corrupted, and his judgment perverted by reading the Italian poets. 110. The golden opes, J Saint Peter's two keys in the Gospel, seem to have supplied modern poetry with the allegoric machinery of two keys, which are variously used. See Dante's Inferno, cant. xiii. and c. xxvii.
112. He shook his miter'd locks,) It is much that this inveterate enemy of prelaey would allow Peter to be a bishop. But the whole circumstance is taken from the Italian satirists. Besides I suppose he thought it sharpened his satire to have the prelacy condemned by one of their own order. Warburton. King was intended for the church. T. Warton. 114. Enow of such &c.] As Milton has frequently imitated his master Spenser in this poem, so in this place particularly he has had an eye to Spenser's invectives against the corruptions of the clergy in his fifth, seventh, and ninth Eclogues. 114. Thus in P. L. b. iv. 193. So clomb this first grand theif into God's fold: So since into his church lewd hire lings climb.
Where lend signifies ignorant.
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Of other care they little reck’ning make,
Even after the dissolution of the hierarchy, he held this opinion. In his sixteenth Sonnet, written 1652, he supplicates Cromwell, —To save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves, whose Gospel is their mow. During the usurpation, he published a pamphlet entitled “The “likeliest means to remove “ Hirelings out of the church,” against the revenues transferred from the old ecclesiastic establishment to the presbyterian ministers. See also his book of Reformation in England, Prose Works, vol. i. 28. T. Warton. 119. Blind mouths." that scarce themselves know how to hold A sheep-hook, &c.] See instances of the like construction in Paradise Lost, v. 711. and the note there. I will here add another from Horace, Sat. ii. ii. 39. Porrectum magno magnum spectare Catino Vellem, ait Harpyiis gula dignarapacibus. 120. A sheep-hook, In the tract on the Reformation he says, “Let him advise how he can re“ject the pastorly rod and sheep“hook of Christ.” Pr. W. vol. i.
15. Wickliffe's pamphlets are full of this pastoral allusion. T. Warton. 191. That to the faithful herdman's art belongs Il Peck would read shepherd, because a herdman does not keep sheep. But herdman (not herdsman), has a general sense in our old writers; and often occurs in Sydney's Arcadia, a book well known to Milton. In our old Pastorals, heard-groome sometimes occurs for shepherd. T. Warton. 122. See note on Comus, 404. He might here use reck as a pastoral word occurring in Spenser's Kalendar, Decemb. “What “recked I of wintry age's waste." T. Warton. 123. And when they list, their lean and flashy songs Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched strans;] No sound of words can be more expressive of the sense: and how finely has he imitated, or rather improved, that passage in Virgill Ecl. iii. 26. —non tu in triviis, indocte, solebas
Stridentimiserum stipula disperdere carmen P
I remember not to have seen the word scrannel in any other au
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoll’n with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
128. Besides nhat the grim nvolf &c.] We offered some explication of this difficult passage in the Life of Milton, J. the poet meant to accuse Archbishop Laud of privily introducing popery, and therefore in his zeal threatened him with the loss of his head; which notion was suggested to me by Dr. Pearce, the Lord Bishop of Bangor. We exhibit too Mr. Warburton's explanation of this passage in the note on v. 130. But if neither of these accounts seem satisfactory to the reader, we will lay before him another, in which we have the concurrence of Mr. Thyer and Mr. Richardson. Besides what the grim wolf &c. Besides what the popish priests privately pervert, to their religion: and Spenser, in his ninth Eclogue, describes them under the same image of wolves, and complains much in the same manner.
Yes but they gang in more secret
wise, And with sheep's clothing doen hem disguise,
They talk not widely as they were woont, For fear of raungers and the great hoont: But privily prolling to and fro, Enaunter they mought be inly know.
And nothing said, this agrees very well with the popular clamours of that age against the supposed connivance of the court at the propagation of popery. In Milton's Manuscript nothing is blotted out, and it is corrected by his own hand—and little said, which is juster and better. But that two-handed engine &c. that is, the axe of reformation, is upon the point of smiting once for all. It is an allusion to Matt. iii. 10. Luke iii. 9. And non also the are is laid unto the root of the trees. An axe is properly a two-handed engine. At the door, that is, this reformation is now ripe, and at hand; near, even at the doors, Matt. xxiv. 33. Behold the judge standeth before the door, James v. 9. And it was to be a thorough and effectual reformation, Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more, in allusion to the language of Scripture, 1 Sam. xxvi. 8. Let me smite him, I pray thee, with the spear, even to the earth at once, and I mill not smite him the second time. This explication is the more probable, as it agrees so well with Milton's sentiments and expressions in other parts of his works. His head was full of these thoughts, and he was in
Daily devours apace, and nothing said,
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
expectation of some mighty alteration in religion, as appears from the earliest of his prose works, which were published not four years after this poem. In the second book of his treatise of Reformation in England, he employs the same metaphor of the are of God's reformation, hewing at the old and hollon, trunk of papacy, and presages the time of the bishops to be but short, and compares them to a wen that is going to be cut off. Vol. i. p. 17, 18. edit. 1738. And in his Animadversions upon the Remonstrants' Defence, addressing himself to the Son of God, he says, -but thy kingdom is now at hand, and thou standing at the door. Come forth out of thy royal chambers, O Prince of all the kings of the earth, jor now the voice of thy bride calls thee, and all creatures sigh to be renewed, p. 91. The reading of these treatises of Milton will sufficiently make appear what his meaning must be, and how much about this time he thought of lopping off prelatical episcopacy. 128. It has been conjectured, that Milton in this passage has copied the sentiments of Piers, a protestant controversial shepherd, in Spenser's Eclogue, May. Of this there can be no doubt: for our author, in another of his puritanical tracts, written 1641, illustrates his arguments for purging the church of its rapacious hirelings and insidious wolves, by a quotation of almost the whole of Piers's speech; ob
serving, that Spenser puts these words into the mouth of his righteous shepherd, “not with“out some presage of these re“forming times.” Animadv. on the Remonstr. Def ubi supr. vol. i. p. 98. T. Warton. 130. But that two-handed engine at the door Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more. These are the last words of Peter predicting God's vengeance on his church by his ministry. The making him the minister is in imitation of the Italian poets, who in their satiric pieces against the church, always make Peter the minister of vengeance. The two-handed engine is the twohanded Gothic sword with which - the painters draw him. Compare P. L. vi. 251, where the sword of Michael is “with huge two“ handed sway brandished aloft.” Stands ready at the door was then a common phrase to signify any thing imminent. To smite once, and smite no more, signifies a final destruction, but alludes to Peter's single use of his sword in the case of the high priest's servant. Warburton. In these lines our author anticipates the execution of Archbishop Laud by a two-handed engine, that is, the axe; insinuating that his death would remove all grievances in religion, and complete the reformation of the church. Doctor Warburton's supposition only embarrasses the passage. Michael's sword “with * huge two-handed sway" is evi
Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past, That shrunk thy streams; return Sicilian Muse, And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells, and flowrets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
dently the old Gothic sword of chivalry. This is styled an engine, and the expression is a periphrasis for an axe, which the poet did not choose to name in plain terms. The sense therefore of the context seems to be, “But “ there will soon be an end of “all these evils: the are is at “ hand, to take off the head of “ him who has been the great “abettor of these corruptions of “ the Gospel. This will be done “ by one stroke.” In the mean time, it coincides just as well with the tenour of Milton's doctrine, to suppose, that he alludes in a more general acceptation to our Saviour's metaphorical are in the Gospel, which was to be laid to the root of the tree, and whose stroke was to be quick and decisive. It is matter of surprise, that this violent invective against the Church of England and the hierarchy, couched indeed in terms a little mysterious yet sufficiently intelligible, and covered only by a transparent veil of allegory, should have been published under the sanction and from the press of one of our Universities; or that it should afterwards have escaped the severest animadversions, at a period when the proscriptions of the Star-chamber, and the power of Laud,
were at their height. Milton, under pretence of exposing the faults or abuses of the episcopal clergy, attacks their establishment, and strikes at their existence. T. Warton. 132. Return Alpheus, &c.] As he had before distinguished the voice of Apollo, so here he far more exalts that dread one of St. Peter, that quite shrinks up the stream of Alpheus. Now this is past, return Sicilian Muse, Sicelides Musae, Virg. Ecl. iv. 1. Now comes pastoral poetry again, and calls the vales to cast their flowers on Lycidas's hearse, according to the custom of the ancients. Richard on. 136. —where the mild whispers use]. The word use is employed in the same sense by Spenser, Faery Queen, b. vi. st. 2. Guide ye my footing, and conduct me well In these strange ways, where never foot did use,
Ne none can find, but who was taught them by the Muse.
138. On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,) The snart star is the dog-star, Sirius ardens, burning and drying up things, and making them look black and swarthy. But he sparely looks on these valleys, as he approaches not Horace's fountain of Blandusia, Od. iii. xii. 9.