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Nec dubites quandoque frui melioribus annis, 125
Atque iterum patrios posse videre lares.
Anno AEtatis 20.*
In adventum veris.
IN se perpetuo Tempus revolubile gyro
Induiturque brevem Tellus reparata juventam,
Fallor P. An arma sonant P non falli. mur, arma sonabant.
See also Buchanan's Epithalamium, Silv. iv. p. 52. edit, ut supr.
Fallimur 2 an nitidae, &c. And Comus, v. 221.
Was I deceiv'd 2 &c.
6. Ingeniumque mihi munere veris adest ?] See v. 23. There is a notion that Milton could write verses only in the spring or summer, which perhaps is countenanced by these passages. But what poetical mind does not feel an expansion or invigoration at the return of the spring, at that renovation of the face of nature with which every mind is in some degree affected In one of the Letters to Deodate he says, “ such is the impetuosity of my “temper, that no delay, no rest, “no care or thought of anything “ else can stop me, till I come to “my journey's end, and put a
“ period to my present study.”
Prose Works, ii. 567. In the Paradise Lost, he speaks of his aptitude for composition in the night, b. ix. 20.
Munere veris adest, iterumque vigescit ab illo, (Quisputet) atque aliquod jam sibi poscit opus. Castalis ante oculos, bifidumque cacumen oberrat,
Et mihi Pyrenen somnia nocte ferunt;
Concitaque arcano fervent mihi pectora motu,
If answerable skill I can obtain From my celestial patroness, who deigns Her nightly visitations, unimplor’d: And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires Easy my unpremeditated verse.
Again, to Urania, b. vii. 28.
—Not alone, while thou
Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east.
Again, he says that “he visits “ nightly the subjects of sacred “ poetry,” b. iii. 32. And adds, v. 37.
Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move Harmonious numbers.
In the sixth Elegy, he hints that he composed the Ode on the Nativity in the morning, v. 87. Dona quidem dedimus Christi natalibus illa,
Illa sub auroram lur mihi prima dedit.
That is, as above, “when morn “ purples the east.” In a Letter to Alexander Gill, he says that he translated the hundred and fourteenth Psalm into Greek heroics, “subito nescio quo impetu “ ante Lucis exortum.” Prose Works, ii. 567. See also below, v. 9. Castalis ante oculos bifidumque cacumen oberrat,
Et mihi Pyrenen somnia nocte ferunt.
9. Castalis, &c.] Buchanan, El. 1. 2. p. 31. ut supr.
Grataque Phoebeo Castalis choro.
He has “the inspired Castalian “spring.” Par. L. iv. 273. Buchanan was now in high repute as a modern Latin classic. He is thus characterised by a learned and elegant writer of Milton's early days. “Of Latin “ poets of our times, in the “judgment of Beza and the “best learned, Buchanan is “esteemed the chiefe—His con“ceipt in poesie was most rich, “ and his sweetness and facilitie “in a verse inimitably excellent, “ as appeareth by that master“peece his Psalms; as farre “beyond those of B. Rhenanus, “ as the Stanzas of Petrarch the “ Rimes of Skelton: but deserv. “ing more applause if he had “faln upon another subject: for “I say with J. C. Scaliger, Illo“ rum piget qui Davidis Psalmos “ suis calamistris inustos spera“rant efficere plausibiliores.—His “Tragedies are loftie, the style “pure; his Epigrams not to be “mended, save here and there, “ according to his genius, too “ broad and bitter.” Peacham's Compleat Gentleman, p. 91. ch. x. Of Poetry, edit. [2d.] 1634. 4to. Milton was now perhaps too young to be captivated by Buchanan's political speculations.
Delius ipse venit, video Peneide lauro
Jam mihimens liquidi raptatur in ardua coeli,
Perque vagas nubes corpore liber eo; Perque umbras, perque antra feror penetralia vatum,
Et mihi fana patent interiora Deum ; Intuiturque animus toto quid agatur Olympo,
Nec fugiunt oculos Tartara caeca meos.
Quid tam grande sonat distento spiritus ore ?
Wer mihi, quod dedit ingenium, cantabitur illo;
Jam, Philomela, tuos foliis adoperta novellis,
Instituis modulos, dum silet omne nemus: Urbe ego, tu sylva, simul incipiamus utrique,
Et simul adventum veris utergue canat. Veris io rediere vices, celebremus honores
Flectit ad Arctoas aurea lora plagas. Est breve noctis iter, brevis est mora noctis opacae, Horrida cum tenebris exulatilla suis.
Non longa sequitur fessus ut ante via;
Excubias agitant sidera rara polo:
Neve Giganteum Dii timuere scelus.
Forte aliquis scopuli recubans in vertice pastor,
Hac, ait, hac certe caruisti nocte puella,
Cynthia, luciferas ut videt alta rotas;
Officium fieri tam breve fratris ope.
Quid juvat effoeto procubuisse toro”
Te manet AEolides viridi venator in herba,
32. Flectit ad Arctoas aurea lora plagas.] Ovid, Art. Amator. i. 549. Of Bacchus.
Tigribus adjunctis aurea lora dabat.
The expression is finely transferred. 38. Excubias agitant sidera] Ode on Nativ. v. 21. And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright. 43. Hac, ait, hac certe caruisti nocte puella, Phaebe, tua, Ovid, Art. Amator. ii. 249. Saepe tua poteras, Leandre, carere puella. VO L. I.V.
46. Cynthia, luciferas ut videt alta rotas;] Ovid, Art. Amator. iii. 180. Roscida luciferos cum dea jungit equos. Again, Epist. Heroid. xi. 46. Denaque luciferos luna movebat equos. See note on El. iii. 49. 49. Desere, Phoebus ait, &c.] “Leave the bed of old Titho“nus.” Compare the whole context with Ovid, Amor. i. xiii. 37. And Epist. Heroid. iv. 93. 51. Te manet AEolides, &c.] Cephalus, with whom Aurora fell in love as she saw him U
Surge, tuos ignes altus Hymettus habet. Flava verecundo dea crimen in ore fatetur, Et matutinos ocius urget equos.
Pandit ut omniferos luxuriosa sinus, Atque Arabum spirat messes, et ab ore venusto
Ecce coronatur sacro frons ardua luco,
hunting on mount Hymettus. Ovid, Metam. vii. 701. He is called, Æolides Cephalus, ibid. vi.681. and Æolides simply, ibid. vii. 672. Hence El. iii. 67. Flebam turbatos Cephaleia pellice Somnos. 53. Flava verecundo dea crimen in ore fatetur, Ovid, Metam. i. 484. Pulchra verecundo suffunditur ora rubore. 57. —et digna est.] That is, pulchra. So above, El. i. 53. Ah! quoties dignal stupui miracula formae : Cicero, de Invent. 1. ii. i. “Ei pueros ostenderunt multos “magna praeditos dignitate.” And afterwards, from the beauty of these boys, the dignitas of their sisters is estimated. Milton, at these early years, seems to have been nicely skilled in the force of Latin words, and to
have known the full extent of the Latin tongue.
58. Pandit ut omniferos lururiosa sinus,) See Par. L. b. v. 338.
Whatever Earth all-bearing mother yields. Milton here thought of Ovid's Tellus, who makes a speech, and who lifts her “ omniferos vultus.” Metam. ii. 275. 62. The head of his personified Earth crowned with a sacred wood, resembles Ops, or Cybele, crowned with towers. But in pinea turris, he seems to have confounded her crown of towers with the pines of Ida. Tibullus calls her Idata Ops. El. i. iv. 68. 66. Taenario placuit, &c.] See Parad. Lost, b. iv. 268. “Where “Proserpine, &c.” And Ovid, Metam. b. v. 391. There are touches of the great