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what others had extracted before. *.”—The first printed encomium which this volume seems to have received was from the pen of Addison.' (Spect. No 249.)
While thus contemplating the Chameful neglect which the Poet experienced, it is impoffible to express any surprise at our having 10 few of his early blossoms. This, combined with the anarchy of the times, involving him in political and religious controversy, caused bim, in a great measure, at a period of life when the imagination is moft warm and vigorous, to relinquish the elegant exercises of his Muse. Not that his delight in, or relish for, these, was impaired (as Mr. W. would infinuate) by his zeal for innovation, and, what he calls, the deplorable polemics of Puritanism; but the real fact seems to be, that, itimulated by his patriotic attachment, by a clallic love of liberty, and by that enthusiasm natural tu a great poet, he was led to take an active part in the public commotions, and the more effectually to serve the cause he espoused, embarked on a sea of noise and boarse dispute, where he had no leisure for cherishing those thought's that move harmonious numbers, and for building the lofty rhime. It was merely the critical situation of his country, that kept him from the Heliconian Spring. In proof of this, it is sufficient to observe, that when civil commotions ceased, he returned to his much-loved occupation, and produced, in spite of Puritanism, republicanism, and blindness, that glorious work the Paradise Loft. When feafting on his poetry, we are ready to with thar, instead of his Apology for Smeltymnuus t, his Tetrachordon, and some other of his prole pieces, he had given us immortal verse; for though we would not be supposed to despise or undervalue his prose-writings, we cannot but think with Mr. W. that on the topics agitated in some of these, 'minds less refined and faculties less elegantly cultivated might have been as well employed :
coarse complections And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply * See a good Preface by Oldys (Pref. p. 20.) to a copious and judicious compilation, called the BRITISH Muse, in three volumes, by Thomas Hayward. We are surprised to find Dennis, in his Letters, published in 1721, quoting a few verses from Milton's Latin Poems, relating to his Travels. See p. 78, 79. But Dennis had them from Toland's Life of Milton.
+ Mr. Warton is mistaken in saying Milton wrote Smeetymnuus. The writers of this book were five ; viz. Stephen Marshall, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young (the Junius to whom Milton's 4th Latin elegy is addressed), Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow; the first letters of whose Christian and Surnames compose the word Smectymnuus. See Birch's Life of Milton prefixed to his prose works, 2 vols. quarto, p. 24. Of this book, Milton wroce a defence, called, An Apology for Smettymnuus.
The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool:
COMU3, V. 750. But after all, love-darting eyes must often be fixed on homely objects, and the most sublime geniuses be sometimes employed in discussing subjects which lie level to ordinary abilities. Instead, therefore, of wafting our time in absurdly wondering and fruitlessly regretting chat Miiton has not written more poetry, we muft express our obligations to him for those few juvenile poems which he found icture or inclination to present to pofterity, and proceed to consider what his present Editor has done to illuftrate them.
As to Mr. Warton's dirign and conduct in this edition, it will be best set forth in his own words:
My volume exhibits thore poenis of Milton, of which a second edit on, with some flender additions, appeared in 1673, while the Author was yet living, under the title “ Poems upon several Occafions, by Mr. John Milton. Both English and Latin, &c. Composed at several Times.” In this collection our Author did nur include his PARADISE REGAINED, and SAMSON AGONISTES, as some later editors bave, perhaps improperly *, done. Those two pieces, forming a single volume by themselves, had just before been printed together in 1671. Milton here intended only an edition of his juvenile poems; and to this plan the present edition is contined, except only that two or three Latin Epigrams, and a few petty fragments of translation, selected from the prose works, are adinitied.
• The ctief purpose of the Notes is to explain our Author's ailufions, to illustrate or to vindicate his beauties; to point out his imi. tations both of others and of himself, to elucidare his obsolete diction, and by the adduction and juxta-position of parallels universally gleaned both from his poetry and profe, to ascertain his favourite words, and to thew the peculiarities of his phraseology.'
He concludes his Pretace by further informing us, that he found it expedient to alter or enlarge Milton's own titles, which seemed to want fulness and precision, yet preserving their form and substance; that he has disposed the pieces in a new order, and more. over that he has endeavoured to render the text as uncorrupt and perspicuous as possible, not only by examining and comparing the authentic copies published under the Author's immediare infpečtion, but by regulating the punctuation, of which Milton appears to have been habitually careless.'
That attention which Mr. Warron has bestowed on the list. mentioned object entitles him to peculiar commendation; for nuiding is more meritorious in an editor than an unstosisling
* In this we do not perceive any great in propriety. Though Milion did not originally print them with his smaller poems, an Ediior, surely, might afterward be allowed to include them, for convenience, in the lame volume.
care to exhibit the text of his author with all possible purity and corre&ness. This of itself will often preclude the labour of annotation, being all that is requisite to render many passages perfe&tly intelligible. How many of the obscurities of our divine Shakespeare have been removed by the judicious use of commas, semicolons, &c.! And by availing himself of the assistance of these humble auxiliaries of criticism, we find Mr. Warton improving, and in some places elucidating, the text of Milton. However, therefore, the Poet may be disposed (should they hereafter meer in the shades) to frown, and look with eyes a/kance on his present Editor, for the very degrading mention he makes of his puritanical and republican principles, he would still be ready to acknowlege himself (for John Milton's ghost cannot be a despicable ghoft) under some obligations to him for this part of his labour; as there is reason to believe chat these bis Juvenile Poems are here offered to the Public more minutely accura!e than they came even from his own pen.
But Mr. Warton would have just ground for complaint, were we to give him no other commendation than that which he merits for the care and accuracy he has displayed in the departe ment of an Editor, To a corrected text, he bas subjoined a body of explanatory notes, and critical illustrations :-- Notes and Illustrations which are manifestly the fruit of diligent reading and patient research, serving to unfold the treasures whence Milton drew most of his beautiful imagery ;-to explain his Gothic and classical allufions ;-10 point out the source of many of his conceptions, and at the same time to demonstrate and display the ftrength and sublimity of his genius. Those notes which may be called historical, and those at the end of the larger poems in this volume, containing a kind of general critique on them, abound with valuable information, are drawn up with much judgment and taste, and will be perused with peculiar pleasure. The notes in Lycidas on the vision of the guarded mount, and the fable of Bellerus, are happy explanations of a difficule passage, and do great credit to Mr. Warton as a commentator on Milion.
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurld,
• The whole of this paffage (i.e. that in Italics) has never yet been explained or understood. That part of the coast of Cornwall called the Land's End, with its neighbourhood, is here intended, in which is the promontory of Bellersum so named from Bellerus a Cornish giant. . And we are told by Camden, that this is the only part of our island that looks directly towards Spain. So also Drayton, POLYOLB. S. xxiii. vol. iii. p. 1107.
Then Cornwall creepeth out into the westerne maine,
As, lying in her eye, the pointed still at Spaine. And Orofius, “ The second angle or point of Spain forms a cape, “ where Brigantia, a city of Galicia, rears a most lofty watch-tower, " of admirable construction, in full view of Britain." Hist. L. i. c. ii. fol. 5. a. edit. Paris. 1524. fol. But what is the meaning of " The Great Vision of the Guarded Mount?" And of the line immediately following, “ Look homeward Angel now, and melt with ruth?” Í flatter myself I have discovered Milton's original and leade
Just by the Land's End in Cornwall, is a most romantic projection of rock, called SAINT MICHAEL'S MOUNT, into a harbour called Mount's-BAY. It gradually rises from a broad basis into a very steep and narrow, but craggy elevation. Towards the sea che declivity is almost perpendicular. Ac low water it is accessible by land : and not many years ago, it was entirely joined with the present fhore, between which aad the MOUNT, there is a rock called CHAPEL-ROCK. Tradition, or rather superstition, reports, that it was anciently connected by a large tract of land, full of churches, with the illes of Scilly. On the summit of SAINT MICHAEL'S Mount a monastery was founded before the time of Edward the Confeffor, now a seat of Sir John Saint Aubyn. The church, refectory, and many of the apartments, fill remain. With this monastery was incorporated a strong fortress, regularly garrisoned : and in a patent of Henry the Fourth, dated, 1403, the monastery itself, which was ordered to be repaired, is fłyled FORTALITIUM. Rym. Foed. viji. 102. 340, 341.
A stone-lantern, in one of the angies of the Tower of the Church, is called Saint MICHAEL'S CHAIR. But this is not the original SAINT MICHAEL's Chair. We are told by Carew, in his SURVAY OF CORNWALL, “ A little without the Castle [this fortress], there is a bad [dangerous] Seat in a craggy place, called Saint Michael's Chaire, somewhat daungerous for accesse, and therefore holy for the adventure." Edit. 1602. p. 154. We learn from Caxton's GOLDEN LEGENDE, under the history of the Angel MiChaei., that “ Th’apparacyon of this angell is manyfold. The fyrst is when he appered in mount of Gargan, &c.” Edit. 1493. f. cclxxxii, a. William of Worcestre, who wrote his travels over England about 1490, says, in describing SAINT MICHAEL'S MOUNT, there was an “ Apparicio Sancti Michaelis in monte Tumba antea vocato “ Le Hore Rok in the wodd.” ITINERAR. edit. Cantab. 1778.
The Hoar Rock in the Wood is this Mount or Rock of Saint Michael, anciently covered with thick wood, as we learn from Dray. ton and Carew. There is still a tradition, that a vision of Saint Michael seated on this Crag, or Saint Michael's CHAIR, appeared to some hermits: and that this circumstance occalioned the foundation of the monastery dedicated to Saint Michael. And hence this place was long renowned for its' sanctity, and the object of frequent pilgrimages. Carew quotes some old rhymes much to our purpose, P. 154. ut fupr.
Who knows not Mighel's Mount and Chaire,
The pilgrim's holy vaunt? Nor should it be forgot, that this monastery was a cell to another on a Saint Michael's Mount in Normandy, where was also a Vision of Saint Michael.
• But to apply what has been said to Milton. This Great Vision is the famous Apparition of Saint Michael, whom he wiih much sublimity of imagination fupposes to be still throned on this lofty crag of SAINT MICHAEL's Mount in Cornwall looking towards the Spanish coast. The GUARDED MOUNT on which this Great Vision appeared, is simply the fortified Mount, implying the fortress above mentioned. And let us observe, that Mount is now the peculiar appropriated appellation of this promontory. With the tense and meaning of the line in question, is immediately connected that of the third line next following, which here I now for the first time exhibit properly pointed,
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth. Here is an apostrophe to the Angel Michael, whom we have just seen feated on the Guarded Mount. “ O Angel, look no longer seaward to Namanco's and Bayona's hold: rather turn your eyes backward from the view of this calamitous shipwreck, which the sea, over which you look, presents. Look landward, Look homeward now, and melt with pity at the melancholy spectacle to which you have been a witneis." But I will exhibit the three lines together which form the context. Lycidas was loft on the seas near the coast,
Where the great vision of the guarded mount
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth. The Great Vision and the Angel are the same thing: and the verb look in both the two laft verses has the same reference. I had almost omitted what Carew says of this situation, “ Saint Michael's Mount looketh fo aloft, as it brooketh no concurrent.” p. 154. ubi fupr.
· Thyer seems to suppose, that the meaning of the latt line is, “ You, O Lycidas, now an angel, look down from heaven, &c." But how can this be said to look homeward? And why is the shipwrecked person to melt with ruth? That meaning is cerrainly much helped by placing a full point after surmise, v. 153. But a semicolon there, as we have seen, is the point of the firit edition : and to Thew how greatly such a punctuation ascertains or illustrates our prefent interpretation, I will take the paragraph a few lines higher, with a short analysis. “Let every flower be strewed on the hearle where Lycidas lies, fö to flatter ourselves for a moment with the notion that his corpse is present; and this, (Ah me !) while the feas have washed it far away, whether beyond the Hebrides, or near the thores of Cornwall, &c.
Sleepif the fable of Bellerus old. ] No such name occurs among ghe Cornish giants. But the poet coined it from Bellerium above